Archives for March 2011

Legacy

I haven’t written much lately or maybe I should say, I haven’t posted much lately. I had written plenty but the friendly people over on twitter made me realize some things are better left not posted on a public blog, especially if it is about your job. So, this week I have been consumed with my thoughts ending with the same question, what’s your legacy?

Last week the anticipation of going on a plane with my toddler alone, frolicking in the sand and waves and watching him eat his first ice cream cone from Kilwin’s consumed my mind. I was racing with everything that needed to be done. All the last minute items that needed to be bought, the laundry that needed to be done and snacks that had to be packed for the plane. I was thinking of the fun to be had and the week of school left. I was glowing as I purchased a last minute ticket for my husband to join us. And then it all came to all halt on Saturday night.

“Grandpa isn’t doing very well. He stopped eating and drinking and doesn’t have much time left” says his mom as we are driving to a restaurant for our dinner date.

“Grandpa passed away tonight” says his mom as the rain hits our windows with a fierceness that scares even the strongest soul the next night.

Grandpa Fischer was my husband’s grandpa. One of his two remaining grandparents. A Chicago Policeman, WWII veteran, and a Merchant Marine. A proud man, not overly emotional, but the kind of person you knew would help family in a heartbeat and knew the meaning of earning a living. He was quirky and set in his ways as an older man something I appreciated and deeply respected. Some laughed at the things he did, I smiled because it was him. He was himself.

But, cancer it got the best of him. He fought and he won this battle in the past, but this time it beat him and that sucks. Cancer Sucks.

As we stood in our kitchen on Sunday night, listening to the pounding rain, I watched as sadness crept into my husband’s eyes. I know he was thinking about his own dad, his son, the memories, how much it hurts to lose someone you love and what this means for his family. The patriarch of his dad’s side gone. And yet, all I could think was the present. Live in the now. Soak up the small things and never take for granted one minute of any day. Make sure when you leave this earth you leave with no regrets, no missed opportunities and leave a legacy. This jolt, death, though all too common lately in my life, reminds me that life is about living. My legacy.

And that is when I realized that work, its not worth talking about. Relationships, crappy so-called friends and nasty situations, they are not worth writing about. Life is about living and creating my legacy and this jolt reminded me of that.

It’s not fair that cancer took him from us. We will live. We will celebrate him and we’ll remember what he left us: seven kids , nineteen grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. His legacy. His family. Trust me it’s what he would want us to do.

Four generation of Fischer men. They met. That’s special. That’s what life is about. The little guy below he is our legacy. He’s what I am most proud of and today, nothing else really matters. Not work, not crappy so-called friends, not people who check their values at the door, or anything else. My legacy. My son. My life. My family.

Window to Our World

He told me he found it.

He said it wouldn’t last.

He said it was a deal.

He said it had everything we wanted.

He said it was right for us.

We turned off Belmont Avenue on to a one-way street headed south. The street was foreign to me and I wouldn’t have known it was there if I was the one driving. Nestled against the train tracks it was a narrow street and cars lined the left side of it. One stop sign. Then a second stop sign. And then we turned right on another one-way street headed west. Not exactly convenient but quiet. Cars lined both sides of the street. Were we still in the city? Where was the noise? Then we heard it. The Metra train whizzing by carrying commuters home to the suburbs heading north reminding me that yes, we were still in the city.

The street was lined with beautiful houses. Most of them were new, all brick, two stories with new windows, beautiful fences, and manicured city lawns.

We pulled up. I took in a deep breath and took another deep breath out. It was damp and rainy. I shivered as I got out of the car. The sky was gray, dark charcoal gray and the wind blew and the cool wind reminded me that spring was still not here. My brain kept saying, the gray of the sky matches the gray of the siding.

Not brick, no new windows, a rickety wrought iron fence that didn’t shut, and lawn full of water from gutters neglected all winter and that refused to drain.

We walked up the steps, my stomach ever so slightly showing the bump I that had hid for 20 weeks, and he pushed open the front door. There was wood, dark, ornate wood. Crown molding thick with detail and baseboards aged so deeply that you knew it had never been replaced. There were hardwood floors and the sunlight streamed through the dirty blinds. There was dust on every surface; so thick you could see the particles floating in the light.

We approached the bathroom. It was maroon. Completely maroon. From the sink to the toilet to the tub the only color I saw was maroon. As we moved past it, he reminded me to keep an open mind and that we will renovate.

I shuffled in to the kitchen where the white ceramic tile overwhelmed the space. Grease so thick only a razor we get it off where it had settled on every maple cabinet. The appliances were old, white and looked worn out and tired from years of use and clear neglect.

Out the back window, I saw a structure. Gray peeling paint with a hint of wood underneath. Three hanging flower pots all uneven on their stands, all ready to fall to the ground and shatter underneath the two old windows that once were opened daily in the carriage house.

The tree consumed the back yard. Large, overgrown branches towered over the cable lines and hung into the neighbor’s yard on both sides of the lot.

He asks me what I think. Without hesitating I say it is not perfect but this it.

It’s our home.

Home.

Where babies were born, demolition was done and love is the constant emotion. It’s our home. Ugly to the original eye yet now beautifully understated amongst the towering homes on our street but loved and ours. Home.

I Needed Last Night…

Being a working mama is tough. I wear my working mama cape proudly. I wear it daily because there really isn’t a day,even Saturday and Sunday, as a teacher that I don’t work. People always tell me that being a teacher, I have the best of both worlds. Maybe. But it sure does not feel like it this week. I work my tail off. Work isn’t from 8-3. Work is grading papers at night, coaching softball on Saturday, facilitating fundraisers on Friday night, and having department meetings after school. It’s committees, teachers, administrators, organization and plain hard work. I am on. All day. From the minute I get in my car my brain goes in work mode. Helping kids with make up work, planning for next week lessons, writing observation reports…you name it I do it in a day. I am not asking for sympathy purely trying to show you what my days are like.

In order to be a working mama, I have to rely A LOT on my husband. Do I take it for granted? Not one day. Do I try to do anything I can to make sure the ship sails smoothly when I am working late or have to work on the weekends? Yes. Do I thank him enough? Probably not. But trust me when I say this he is a heck of a dad and I know that much so this takes a big burden off of me.

So, that gets me to this guy.


You see this summer he was OBSESSED with me since I was home with him all day. Now, not so much. And it kills me.
He doesn’t want to be held by me.
He doesn’t think I am funny.
He does not want me to sit on the couch and watch Sesame Street with him.
He really doesn’t want much to do with me.

And although I laugh when talking about it or when it happens, a little piece of my heart breaks each time. This week, probably the worse. I have not been home at night. And so, his daddy, is his #1. (I don’t blame him… I think he is pretty great too!)

So, last night I was home. We both were. And because of the MESS of a kitchen that we don’t have right now, we spend a good amount of time trying to get Brady’s bottle ready. We have no microwave currently. Glenn was downstairs “working” on the bottle which left me with Brady and the bath. The bath, no problems. Frankly, it doesn’t matter who gives it, the kid is a “fisch” so he willing hops in.
After the bath and brushing our teeth we went in to his room to play, put on lotion and get him dressed BUT something else happened. We started playing with a baseball hat. It was silly. He would put it on my head and I would tilt my head just enough that it would fall to the floor. And then he would laugh. Not just chuckle. He would laugh a deep belly laugh that was infectious and brought an honest smile to my own face and tears to my eyes. Why? Because in those two minutes we got to laugh together. I was the only thing that mattered. I was the only thing he cared about. And last night, that was enough for me to put on my working mama’s cape and go to work today.