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100 Days of School Fail

100 Days of School Fail

Today is the 100th day of the school year for my daughter. As such, a litany of events popped up on my calendar for the week. Normally I am pretty on the ball with these things but the 100 days tasks snuck up on me. First, she needed to bring in a ziploc bag that had 100 “things” in it. They were going to count, measure, and weigh their “things” as part of a lesson. Monday morning, in a panic, I ran around the house and was able to scrounge up 100 dimes. Bam.

Today was 100 things on a t-shirt day. I planned for this last week. I ordered a new (and cute) pink t-shirt and a bag full of large googly eyes from Amazon. The plan was to glue to eyes on the shirt and she would be good to go. Last night I borrowed a hot glue gun from a friend and sat down to glue all 100 googly eyes on to the shirt. It took about an hour to complete but I thought it looked pretty good. I laid it down to dry overnight and went to bed.

Cut to this morning.

After dressing the rest of my child I went to put her 100 days shirt on (carefully I might add). Pop. Pop. PopPopPop. Almost ALL of the googly eyes popped right off. I won’t repeat the word that I was saying in my mind (being Lent and all) but I can tell you it was not a kind or gracious word. My daughter was holding up pretty well. She is a trooper in ways I did not know were possible for a 6 year old. I could tell she was sad but her face was stoic. I did the only thing I could do at this point. I threw all of our stuff in the car and headed to the store.

Our first stop was 7-Eleven. I ran in and fortunately they had 2 tubes of Krazy Glue. We went back to the car and I began super gluing the eyes to the shirt. I made it through about 10 of them before I noticed something… they were not sticking to the t-shirt!!! How is that possible? Super glue? Everything sticks to super glue. In a panic we jumped back in the car and tore off in the direction of Wal-Mart.

I knew just what I needed. Gorilla Glue. I have never met an object that I could not fix, patch, or put back together with Gorilla Glue. I started gluing googly eyes to the shirt like a mad-man. I probably did look crazy standing in the parking lot of the Wal-Mart at 7am gluing fake eyes on a pink shirt. Whatever. The eyes seemed to be sticking. I finished the shirt then set a box on top of it to apply pressure for the 20 minute drive to school. I was feeling better but still apprehensive that it would work.

When we arrived at school I hopped out and started getting everything ready. Fifi was late so I was going to have to walk her in anyway. I pulled back the box from atop the t-shirt and my heart just sank. Googly eyes had slipped out of place. They were loose. Worst of all the glue was still wet and saturated through the shirt. There was no way I could put it on my daughter. I broke the bad news to her and she just lost it. I felt like the worst dad in the world. I did my best to talk her through it and we glued the loose eyes back on and carried the shirt into school so she could at least show her classmates and teacher.

I gave her a kiss at the classroom door and headed back to the parking lot. As I was driving away I was overcome with sorrow. I broke down crying. I never asked to be a single dad. I didn’t want to lose my wife of 6 years. My daughter certainly didn’t deserve to become motherless at age 4.  We still need her. She would have had this whole thing done weeks ago. It would have been perfect. I, on the other-hand, completely screwed it up and broke my daughters heart. Dad fail.

Truth be told I was angry at God this morning. Angry that He allows young mothers and wives and children to die before their time. Angry that my daughter doesn’t have a mother who would not have failed her this morning. I know God has a plan. I know I am not always capable of seeing it. I know that in my heart. Today, though, I had a hard time seeing that with any clarity. The only thing I could see was my daughter hurting and that is the worst feeling in the world for me. Pax vobiscum.

A Story of Being Blessed

A Story of Being Blessed

I lost my wife in May 2015. She was born with a congenital brain defect known as an AVM. Over the course of about 9 years she had 7 procedures in an attempt to stabilize the problem. Ultimately it was not to be and she left this world almost 2 years ago. It is a pain unlike any I have ever known and will probably never know again. It was devastating. The hardest part, and most difficult thing I will ever do in my life, was sitting my then 4 year old daughter down and trying to explain to her that her mother would never be coming home. It still hurts my heart just typing the words.

While the whole story is something I will save for another day, there is part of it I wanted to share tonight. H- passed away two days before Mother’s Day. At the time Fifi had been waitlisted at what I would consider to be the best charter school in our metro area. That particular school has a June 1st birthday requirement for each school year. My daughter’s is in July. A different charter school had openings (actually it didn’t but I had friends who were able to do amazing things to help me) for kindergarten that required an August birthday. I got Fifi enrolled and she began kindergarten.

I was concerned for a lot of reasons when she started school. She had lost her mother only a few months before. She was very young for her class. We both had a lot of emotional pain we were dealing with and it showed by her attendance record the first half of the year. I think she had 14 absences before Christmas Break (not winter break mind you). Ultimately, we mostly righted the ship and she finished out the school year and had her kindergarten graduation. She is very bright and academically school was never an issue. It was the emotional baggage she struggled with.

Fast-forward to August of 2016. Fifi started 1st grade at her same school. I had bought all of her uniforms (embroidered and non-returnable) and class was under way. She was about to start her third week when I got an email from the school she was wait-listed on from the previous year. They had an opening for her but it required an answer within an hour. It was for a seat in their kindergarten class starting in 3 days. At the time I truly didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know what the best decision was. Should I make her redo kindergarten with the long term benefit being a spot in the best charter school in our area? Not to mention it is a K-12 program, not just elementary. Once she got in she would be in through high school.

I didn’t have time to think it through. I prayed on it. I asked for guidance. That was really all I could do. I know a lot of people say they pray on things as a cliche. I actually did. I closed the door to my office and I laid my head on the desk and asked God to show me the way. Eventually I picked up the phone and called the admissions officer and told her we would take the seat.

I pulled Fifi out of school about an hour later so we could go home and pick up all of the documents needed to enroll her at the new school in the new district. It was Monday. Her new school started class on Wednesday. After buying a second set of uniforms and a second set of school supplies we were ready to go Wednesday morning. Normally, I would have had a meeting with her teacher beforehand to let her know the situation with Fifi’s mom. I just didn’t have time and had to wait until the following week to meet with her. At this point I was riddled with doubt and second guessing myself. Did I make the right situation? Was this what was best for my daughter? I truthfully wasn’t sure.

The following week came and I met with her teacher. It is still hard for me to talk about H-. Particularly when it is in reference to Fifi. As I was telling her teacher our situation she began to get teary and choked up. It is hard enough for me to tell people what happened and even more so when they get emotional about it. I was sort of at the end of my story and fumbling for the words to wrap it up. Her new teacher sort of took a deep breath and began to share her story with me. Her mother passed away when she was 4. She went on to tell me that the class assistant teacher had also lost her mom when she was 4 or 5. She looked me in the eye and told me, “We’ve got this.” If I wasn’t crying before I surely was then. Every bit of apprehension and doubt was immediately erased. My daughter was exactly where she was suppose to be.

To me, there is no other explanation than it was the work of God. What is the likelihood that I pull my daughter out of one school to enroll her at another only to find out that BOTH of her teachers lost their mothers at the same age that Sophie did? That isn’t luck and if you think it is you are a fool. God blessed us with a situation that was perfect and ideal for my daughter in a way that only He can.

Fifi is now half-way through her second year of kindergarten. She is happy and thriving and loves her teachers. She is in the school that I had hoped for and being a year older is probably the best thing in the world for her given what she has been through. While we have been through and continue to deal with hard things, we are so very blessed. God does amazing things. Pax vobiscum.