“We’re horribly mundane, aggressively mundane individuals. We’re the ninjas of the mundane, you might say.” ~ Andy Partridge

                   

“Insanity is often the logic of an accurate mind overtasked. Good mental machinery ought to break its own wheels and levers, if anything is thrust among them suddenly which tends to stop them or reverse their motion. A weak mind does not accumulate force enough to hurt itself; stupidity often saves a man from going mad.” ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., “The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table”

Thursday, early afternoon.

The house is finally silent. So many new developments. What shall I enthrall you with first . . . Hmm, things that make you say hmm . . .

My mother was discharged from DePaul Hospital on Monday. From there, we took her to a rehab facility where she was supposed to stay for at least a week to monitor her blood clots and receive physical therapy for her leg. That lasted approximately 24 hours. I had had a feeling that it was going to be a fruitless endeavor, knowing how much she wanted to come home.

When we first arrived, my mother seemed quite pleased: She was placed in a nice-sized private room with en suite full bath—a nice change from her very claustrophobia-inducing hospital room. She was reassured that between her two healthcare carriers that everything would be covered, but there were a few odd signs here and there to which I should have paid more attention: For example, the question about who would be doing her laundry . . . the cable hookup in the room but the lack of a television.

She called me early on Tuesday and asked me to come and get her. Apparently, someone in the facility had moved her into a two-person room with a bathroom that was shared by four people. It was all just too much for her. Realizing that I was beaten, I acquiesced. She walked (was rolled) into her own house on Tuesday afternoon. Tuesday night she slept soundly without waking.

I spent Wednesday on the telephone calling various doctors and facilities to update those who needed updating, and I made an appointment with her PCP for this morning to follow-up on the b lood clots, and an appointment with her orthopaedist for next Wednesday to follow-up on her tibia fracture.

Then I showered her and gave her a pedicure. She ate dinner with a relish, watched “Cash Cab” on television, and settled in.

Post Script: I never had the time to finish this post, and quite frankly, it is a week old, so I am leaving it and moving on . . .

Music by Laura Izibor, “Mmm”

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“We have a hunger of the mind which asks for knowledge of all around us, and the more we gain, the more is our desire; the more we see, the more we are capable of seeing.” ~ Maria Mitchell

 Oliver Wendell Holmes

   

No man’s knowledge can go beyond his experience”  ~ John Locke

Well, the IB/Honors program was last night, and I was so proud to be there.

As with most things in our life, even the trip to the school was not uneventful. Corey had to work until 3, but the duty sergeant asked if he could stay a bit longer. Corey told him that he could but that he had someplace important that he had to be. Unfortunately, Corey thought the time was 7, not 6. So by 5:15, I’m freaking, as I tend to do. My mother had already left, so Brett and I ended up riding with my ex, Alexis and Eamonn . . . It was one big happy family reunion, only not so much.

No, it wasn’t bad, just weird. Then when we got there, I had to search for Brett’s cap and gown, which was being held by the IB director, only she was nowhere to be found. Found the gown, pulled it over Brett’s head, plopped the cap on. Good to go.

Mr. Martin, Brett’s favorite history teacher, was the speaker, and it was a nice, short speech. Then the people on stage turned the tables on us and declared that parents had to walk their students up to the stage to receive their IB stoles and/or honor tassels. Crap. I look like a sausage. Where is Corey? Lucky that Brett’s last name begins with an S and not a B.

All in all though, the program was very nice. Corey made it in time to walk up with Brett, Paul and me, and everything was over in under 90 minutes. My kind of school program.

“The beginning of knowledge is the discovery of something we do not understand.” ~ Frank Herbert

 I make light of it, but getting Brett to this point has been a concerted effort with many people at his school pulling for him. When Brett started to have problems a couple of years ago, Corey and I sat down with his counselor, a truly generous, wonderful woman, and all of his teachers. We came up with a plan that would allow Brett to stay in the IB program. The head of the program approved the plan, and accommodations were made for Brett’s absences because of illness.

This year, his counselor set up his schedule so that he would only go every other day. Because Brett has always been in advanced classes, he already had enough credits to graduate, but he needed to complete a few core courses for the IB diploma. The every-other-day schedule worked fairly well; he still missed some school, but not nearly as much as last year.  And this year Brett spent his lunch period in Mr. Martin’s room instead of going to the cafeteria. He didn’t eat lunch, and I think that his one-on-one time with Mr. Martin really helped him in a number of ways.

Just being able to listen to a man who knows his subject, a scholar, talk about life and politics, gaining knowledge not found in textbooks—an invaluable experience. I remember having a couple of teachers like that, and I did the same thing: leeched off their knowledge, drank it in, felt privileged for the insights. Anyone with a few years on them will tell you that real knowledge does not come from textbooks; it comes from life—what we do, what we see, what we hear. We learn from the people with whom we interact, the people with whom we disagree. The act of living, seeking, finding—that is the source of real knowledge.

It’s been tough, at times, taxing, but Brett pulled through. So to see him on stage receiving his IB stole was a moment of pure joy for all of us.

“To know that we know what we know, and that we do not know what we do not know, that is true knowledge.” ~ Henry David Thoreau 

 

And so Brett is just a few weeks away from leaving high school forever, from moving into a world he does not know, from moving into another academic realm filled with more textbooks, lectures, and tests. But I hope that this time he will be better prepared to sift through the vast information that is coming his way, to cull it like wheat, and find the heart of what matters, to take away what he needs, and then some.

In the grand scheme of things, high school is but a cobblestone path, one that we must traverse to get somewhere else. Many of us trip over its rough edges; some of us fall, and a few pass smoothly without incident. Only when we are years removed from it can we truly see this period for what it really was: a chance to grow, perhaps to make lifelong friends, to be carefree before life intrudes. Only later do we realize how very much we received from the people who were on the opposite of the room from us, how some of them went beyond what was expected and invited us in, allowed us to think, to analyze, to refine. These are the people we remember because they were our introduction to the limitless possibilities of learning, of appreciating, of moving forward into the great unknown that is life.

More later. Peace.

Music by The Great Lake Swimmers, “Stealing Tomorrow”

“A mother’s arms are made of tenderness and children sleep soundly in them.” ~ Victor Hugo

mother and child

Mother and Child

“To nourish children and raise them against odds is in any time, any place, more valuable than to fix bolts in cars or design nuclear weapons.” ~ Marilyn French

” . . . Mothers most of all . . . carry the key of our souls in their bosoms.” ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes

mother and child outlinesSince today is Mother’s Day, I thought that I might offer some insights on parenting. I am in fact qualified to do this as I have survived the teen years with one child, have survived having three children live in the same house with only one bathroom, survived the whole mindset of why skipping school is not a bad thing, survived having my car appropriated and destroyed, survived one full year of colic and being thrown up on constantly . . . I rest my case.

Those of you who are regular visitors know how much I love my offspring, even when they are trying to wear down my last nerve, and since I’ve done a bit of complaining of late, I thought that I would offer something on the lighter side.

Please bear in mind that all of the information below has been written from a Lola perspective. In other words, completely facetious and full of sarcasm.

That being said, please feel free to add to my Then and Now list, as I am anxious to see how many more parents out there have their own special opinions on the subject. (Note: The chart may take a bit longer than usual to load, or it may just be my computer . . .)

Then and Now

The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness.” ~ Honoré de Balzac

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you mother’s out there: the ones who have been at this a while, the grandmothers who are now mothers again, the single-parents who are doing the jobs of both parents, the less-experienced mothers who still feel as if they need a road map (trust me, you’ll always feel that way), and the mothers-to-be who are anticipating the birthdays of their unborn children. 

It’s the hardest job in the world, the most complicated, most daunting, most taxing, but in my opinion, it’s still the best job that you could ever have.

More later. Peace.