Dear Baby H #2

It’s almost time for our family to grow by another little boy. Outside of these last few weeks, time has -of course- flown by as this babe has grown inside me. When I was pregnant with Brantley I had so many emotions- excitement for new adventures and fear we would do it all wrong seem to be what stands out in my memory. This pregnancy is no different. So, here are a few things I hope for Baby #2:

Dear Baby H #2,

There are so many things in this big world I want you to know but for now I’ll start with a just a few. 

The second you are born I hope you know how much you are loved. Your dad, brother, and I have been waiting (me not so patiently) to meet you. Your brother has been trying to feed you ice cream, makes sure you get a drink when he thinks you’re thirsty and is planning out the toys for you two to play with. I’ve made your dad crazy with my never ending to-do lists and new ideas to make sure everything is perfect for your arrival.

I hope you and your brother have days filled with so many adventures it will be hard to remember them all when you’re older. I hope you boys spend your days digging in the dirt and tracking mud in the house (you may need to remind me I said this when I get upset that the house is a full of dirt). I hope your imagination takes you places you’ll never be able to fully explain to your dad and I, but I sure hope you try. I hope your brother teaches you the ropes of your world and you love being Brantley’s Little Brother as much as I have loved being Cook’s Little Sister.

I hope you know being the youngest is pretty fabulous. I’m told things with the second child are a little different than the first. Different is good. Your dad and I are proof being the youngest isn’t so bad. 😊Maybe you won’t have as many Baby’s First Christmas ornaments, definitely not as many new, stain-free clothes, or as many of your own toys but you will be showered with just as much love. I’ve also been told seeing my kids together will fill me with more joy than I ever thought possible.

When you’re a teenager I hope you remember your parents aren’t all that bad. I hope your dad and I have given you many years of excitement, love, and trust that those years will be painless. I know, I know..but a mom can hope, right?! 🙂 When it’s time for you to leave our house, I hope you start your adventures with so much confidence because we have done everything we know to prepare you for what life brings. 

I hope you know that even though your life will be filled with so much joy, there are going to be some struggles. Things that make you think you can’t go on. But, listen up, kid! You’re going to be tough and you will make it. You’ll take it day by day, you’ll find the good, you’ll lean on your people, and you’ll come out on top. Promise. 

I hope you know just how much I love being your mom. After almost four years of being married to your dad, some days I still find it crazy when my students call me Mrs. Haddix – As much as I love that name, I love being mom even more. 

On top of all of this- I hope you always know just how special you are. You have quite the village of people surrounding you to help you through life. I love you more than you’ll ever know, buddy. ❤️

Mom

Here’s to the Momma…

Here’s to the momma with the crying kid in the toy aisle at target. Its ok to cave and get him the toy so he stops. But, if you want to prove a point and let him have that tantrum, we get it.

Here’s to the momma chasing around a toddler while growing another human in her belly. Nap time is coming soon.

Here’s to the momma holding her babe tight after getting shots at the latest doctor check up. It hurts you more than him. At least that’s what the doctors say.

Here’s to the momma sneaking in one last hug on that big college campus before turning around and heading home, leaving their baby in a whole new world. He’ll be ok. He’ll call when he needs money and that’s ok. He knows he can depend on you.

Here’s to the momma whose heart is breaking because they were dealt a hand they didn’t ask for. Hang on momma, you’ll make it through.

Here’s to the momma rockin’ that zumba class, droppin’ those pounds. We all want just a tad of your motivation.

Here’s to the momma dropping her babe off at his dad’s for the weekend. And here’s to the dads for making that weekend the best two days ever.

Here’s to the mommas and daddies doing it on their own. Don’t be too stubborn, though. It’s ok to ask for help.

Here’s to the working mommas who don’t want to get a sitter for date night. There’s only so much time you get before your babes are grown.

Here’s to the stay at home moms who can’t wait to get out the door for date night. Home all day with little people can be exhausting.

Here’s to the momma with the mouthy teenage daughter. She’ll get over that stage, we all did.

Here’s to the mommas and daddies coaching their babies on how to raise their own human. We love your advice even though sometimes we think we don’t need it.

Here’s to the momma dreaming, hoping, praying for their chance to hold a little one. We are dreaming, hoping, praying with you.

Here’s to the momma making sure everything is perfect in the nursery before those contractions start. You feel clueless now but just wait for that first wiff of newborn skin. You got this.

Here’s to the momma traveling for the first time, anxiously making sure everything got packed in the suitcase. Don’t worry, you can buy whatever you forget.

Here’s to the momma walking like a zombie on her 4th trip to the baby’s room that night. You deserve that extra large coffee you’re longing for. Add whip cream to the top, you won’t regret it.

Here’s to the momma trying to make it through the mother/son dance on the day he starts a new journey with his wife. And the daddy fighting back the tears as he walks his favorite girl down the aisle to the man of her dreams. Thanks for showing us what love is.

Here’s to the momma celebrating another birthday with party hats and cupcakes. Where did the last 12 months go?

Here’s to the mommas and daddies everywhere. You’re showing that mom life and dad bod what’s up. You’re not alone in this big world. Baby snugs and puppy love can cure it all. Remember it takes a village. 😘

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#PoliceLivesMatter

This year I had a student who dealt with her feelings in some not-so-great ways. Together we decided when she didn’t know how to deal with those feelings and was frustrated, she would write. It didn’t matter what she wrote. It could be her words. It could be someone else’s words. One day she gave me something she wrote about me. Several days would go by, I wouldn’t get anything. Other days I would get stacks of papers. In some ways, I believe her writing things down helped her. So, today, I practice what I preach.

This morning around 10:15 a.m. I received the following text message from my brother:

“FYI we had an officer shot in District 2. Not me. Just letting you know I’m ok.”

No, he’s not participating in some weird, real life version of the Hunger Games. You see, my brother, he’s a Cincinnati police officer. That officer shot, Officer Kim, was one of their people.

I remember talking to one of Brandon’s friends when they graduated from the police academy; he assured me they would all take care of each other. “Don’t worry, I’ve got your brother’s back,” he said. It’s then that I knew my brother was entering a whole new family I would only know little about.

When Brandon first started working the streets, I was that freak-o sister that asked him to send me an I’m safe and on my way home text when he was off work. There were mornings I would wake up, heart pounding, because I didn’t have a text. Come to find out, it was a long night and he just forgot to text on his way home. That lasted for about a year until I got used to the fact that my brother was a police officer. My sister in law quit watching the news. Brandon and I would go a few days between talking with each other. We all didn’t sit around waiting for our phones to go off, good or bad. Having a police officer brother became normal. Normal stays normal until days like today.

That man’s family isn’t going to receive the I’m safe text message. His wife and sons aren’t going to spend Sunday, Father’s Day, celebrating with their father. This is the silent fear of every.single.person. who loves someone who wears a badge.

My question is, why? Why is this the silent fear? Why has our society made it okay for things like this to happen? Why do these people who protect us deal with so much negativity when they are willing to risk their lives day in and day out to keep us safe? Yes, there are bad cops. There are bad doctors. Do we still trust doctors, as a whole, with our lives when something is wrong? Why do all officers get lumped into the bad category if we don’t do this for other professions? Why did this man show up to do his job today but he doesn’t get to send the I’m safe text?

I have no idea how to find an answer for every why. What I do know is this…Love can do big things. If we all loved a little more, maybe there would fewer days like today. If you love your people, then your people will spread the love to their people. And maybe, just maybe, we can have fewer days like today. Love can beat hate.

I love to teach, so I do.

Lately there have been all sorts of articles and discussions about public education. Sadly, a lot of the information is true. Teachers are forced to use less of their own creativity in lessons and collect more data to make sure all students are performing the same on assessments created by professionals who aren’t in the classroom everyday.

The other day I read an article by a teacher who recently retired because she didn’t believe in the system anymore. She felt all of her students were receiving good grades because she would be criticized by administration if they didn’t. Students who didn’t earn a passing grade because of lack of motivation were receiving passing grades and moving onto the next grade. A reader left a comment on the article and said, “Only teach the ones who care.” Well, sir, you are part of the problem. Do nurses get to only treat the patients who deserve their care? Do police officers get to protect only the citizens who follow the laws? No. Nurses have to treat drug addicts who are close to over dosing. Police officers have to protect all citizens. They may not want to, but they do it so they can continue to go to a job that they love everyday. Teachers can’t just teach the students who care, even though that would be the easy way of doing things.

This may just be my special education teacher beliefs coming out, but aren’t the students who lack motivation the ones who needs us most? Most of the time these students have more problems in their 13 years of life than a 50 year old man could ever imagine. In the United States it is a right for every child to receive a free public education. In our country we don’t just pick the children who pass a particular test and allow them to go to school. Every child has the right to learn. Every child has the ability to learn.

I teach because I believe in the ability of my coworkers and myself to make a difference in the lives of children who have lost all hope. I teach because I believe every student has the ability to learn. I teach because I want to show these students they can learn. I teach because sometimes teachers are the only stability a child has in their life. I teach because I enjoy the challenge. I teach because I believe in the potential of every single one of my students. I teach because of the light bulb that goes off when students finally understand a concept after weeks of frustration. I teach because seeing the growth a student has made in a year brings tears to my eyes. I teach because I can.

Of course it’s easier, to only teach the ones who care. I would be lying if I said there aren’t days I want to throw in the towel and move on to a student who wants my help. Nothing great ever comes from things being easy. I want to be great, so I don’t “just teach the ones who care.”

Yes, public education is being scrutinized by many right now. I might be too naive (or have the new teacher syndrome) to understand everything that is going on. I hope I never get to the point where I don’t love my job and feel forced to retire because I don’t believe in the system. I don’t ever want to be the teacher who doesn’t believe in the potential of every student.