Dear Brother

Dear Brother,

You say regrets are weakness.  I have regrets, but I am not weak.  One of my regrets is drifting away from you.  When you were a kid, relating to you, spending time with you was simple.  As you grew and life became more complicated for me, I didn’t know how to spend time with you, or even talk to you.  I guess I stopped trying.  We are no longer close and it is my fault.  I regret that.

You say smiling is weakness.  I disagree.   Although I don’t agree with or understand your reasons for enlisting, I am proud of you.  I am proud because it is what you wanted to do and you did it.  You didn’t let naysayers deter you from following the path you wanted to take.  This is why you are strong.  I hope that you find contentment and, dare I say, happiness.  I hope you find reasons to smile.  And most of all, I hope that you find that smiling is not a sign of weakness.  It is simply a sign that you have things in your life of value and you recognize them.

You say not to look back at the past, Surprise!  I disagree!  Ma was right (as she generally is) when she told you that the past makes us who we are.  It isn’t something to be forgotten or ignored.  We are who we are because of our experiences.  We can learn from it, grow from it.  The past can also teach us, and our past has taught me about the person I want to be, mistakes I never want to make, and relationships I want to have.  Don’t forget or ignore – learn.

So, we disagree, you and me, on many ideas.  That is a fact.  It is also a fact that we are family.  I am your socially awkward, stubborn, liberal, bossy older sister.  You are my stubborn, persistent brother.  You are in the Army.  While I hope you write, I’m not counting on it.  But, know that you can count on me.  I will be here.  Regardless of what you do, say, or think – you are my “little” brother.  I don’t have to agree to be proud, or to be a friend.  I am proud of you and I love you.

Stay Safe,

You Oldest Sister10676371_827438634674_1203914969909290272_n

Dear Grandpa,

Dear Grandpa,

I remember the funeral.  Troy was not even one, but walking already.  We sat in the coat closet of the funeral home.  I was criss-cross-applesauce on the ground, Brittney and some of my cousins on the couch.  On the other side of that door was the wake – your wake, Grandpa.

The door was closed.  Was it to keep Troy inside?  Or to keep everything else out?  The sounds of people reminiscing?  The sniffles?  The sight of your body in that coffin?  We sat in there most of the day and into the evening.   Talking about memories.

Square dancing in the living room, as you called out the moves.

The smell of beef jerky waking us up in the morning, but not being able to eat it yet.

Weeks in Michigan at Barbra and Norman’s house on the lake.

We laughed, smiled, reminisced.  But, when we walked out of that coat closet, nothing stayed the same.  Yes, we are all still family.  But, you were our leader, our patriarch.  And without you, things changed.  You kept us together when you were alive.  You gave us places and reasons to gather.  You were our glue.  But, with you gone, we don’t have the ability to stick.  Yes, Uncle Chuck and Uncle Tim still work at the shop.  Mom still talks to her sisters.  Uncle Pat and his family went to visit Aunt Terri.  But, without you, we are groups.  We are not one family.

Grandpa, you led and we followed.  But in the end, we followed your model, not your words.  You had little contact, if any, with your siblings as adults.  Now, your kids are repeating your model.

You didn’t give us a model to follow.  You didn’t help us know how to keep together when you were gone. Yes, we all love you.  I love you.  But, I have some anger, too.  While I am aware that time passes and things change.  And I understand why things – the Runge family – is several separate entities.  I don’t like it.

I will show my son – my family – through my example.  I will show him the importance of family.  I will teach him to forgive and to accept – both by my words and by my actions.  I will not be the glue that holds my family together.  I will give them what they need to stay together.

Thanks for the lesson, Grandpa.

Jennie

Five for Friday

My randomness today will be linked up with Big Time Literacy‘s July Challenge and Doodlebugs Five for Friday.

1. Extreme Cheapskates
Have you seen this show on TLC? My son watches it on Netflix and he LOVES it! Yesterday, when he couldn’t get toothpaste out of the tube he remembered something he had seen on one of the episodes. So, he cut off the end of the toothpaste tube to get out what was left. Oh, my little cheapskate!

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2.  Summer Road Trip

We are going on a two week road trip out west beginning on Sunday, so there is a lot of preparing the last few days.  Will we survive? I just don’t know.  Over two weeks together when both of us usually work?  Hmmm?

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3. New Year, New Theme

Even though it is summer, I am still thinking about the coming year.  Another year co-teaching third grade and I couldn’t be more excited.  Last year’s theme was Hollywood, but we wanted a new theme that would work with our classroom library.  Since there are lots of superhero movies, we decided to go with Superheros.  The pinning began the last day of school.  So far I have only made one DIY for the birthdays – I’m trying to restrain myself.

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My last two will go with Big Time Literacy’s topic today:  my favorite subjects to teach.

4.  Reading!

I love reading.  I am a book hoarder.  I give books as gifts.

By using reading workshop in our classroom this year and not using AR, we were able to create a classroom full of students who loved books! (My hatred for AR is enough for many blog posts, which I will save for another day.)  The kids truly loved to read and were angry if they didn’t get all of their independent reading time due to an assembly.

And the best part:  the kids enjoyed the new book smell as much as I do!  They will forever be readers and book sniffers! 🙂

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5.  Science

One of the reasons that I asked to move to the classroom was because I wanted to teach all of the subjects.  Science was not my favorite in school, but I loved teaching it this year! Scientific Method, Experiments, Life Cycles, Energy…

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This is a thermometer the students made.

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Cousins

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Cousins!

I am participating in Big Time Literacy’s July Blogging Challenge.  Will I actually post every day?  I’m not sure considering that we are going to be out of town for most of July, but I am sure going to try.  Today is Day 3 and the topic is FAMILY.

My son is my favorite person in the whole world!  He is amazing, kind, hilarious, considerate, witty, creative, and the list goes on.  Yes, I am his mom and so I am biased.  But he has quickly become one of my nephew’s favorite person as well.

I must admit, as an only child, I wasn’t sure how he would feel about it when my sister had her first son two years ago.  However, I was pleasantly surprised how much he loved being around his little cousin.  He wasn’t the only grandchild anymore, but he never got frustrated about having to share the lime light.   When my son walks into the same house as his little cousin, wild horses couldn’t drag them apart.