Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Six Months

If you had asked me a year ago whether marriage was in my future in the near future, I would have said no. Yet here I am, celebrating six months of marriage to a wonderful man, whom it is my privilege to know, to love, and be loved by. It is a gift to be able to share my days with him, both good ones and bad. And I'm looking forward to many more months and years together, growing together in love and happiness.

Happy Anniversary, Fran.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Our Church Family

Last Sunday, my husband officially joined my church family, by being received as an Episcopalian and a member of St. John's Church on Staten Island. I am so proud of all his hard work done in preparation for this event, and of the help he's given since first arriving from Ireland. And I'm so glad that the person who's become such an integral part of my life in such a short time, has become a part of something that's been so important to me for so long.

Congratulations, Fran.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


The book I'm reading now, entitled For Better: The Science of a Good Marriage, by Tara Parker-Pope, cites a study stating that marriage stress can have a profound effect on a person's physical health, while job stress does not.

Obviously, the researchers have never held real jobs.

Why I Teach

Today a student paid me the highest compliment, when she told me that, although she normally hates to read, she has found the stories that I've taught so far so interesting that she actually wants to read them, and has even been taking them home to discuss with her mother.

While I cannot pretend that the bureaucratic nonsense we teachers are subjected to by the school's administration, the DOE, and the mayor does not matter, it is because of moments like this that I am still a teacher. It is in moments like this where I see the ability I have to make a difference, no matter how slight, in the futures of my students.

While I know that not every literary text I teach will hold the same level of interest for my students, and that their individual tastes will vary greatly according to their personalities, I hope that these small breakthroughs will awaken in my students a new openness to literature, a motivation to experience new things.

And while I shall never know the answer to this for all my students, it is in these moments that hope is rekindled anew.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Facing My Parents' Mortality

The past week and a half has been a busy and stressful one for my family and me; on the night of Monday, August 30th, my father had a stroke as we were leaving a celebratory birthday dinner for my aunt. He was lucky--we all were--in that it was a relatively mild one, that will resolve itself with time. Still, for the time being, he has been left with weakness and instability on the left side of his body and on the right side of his face, affecting his gait and his speech, respectively.

It has been a surreal time for us. Doctors have told my father to address certain health issues for years, warnings that he has repeatedly ignored, believing that nothing would ever, could ever, happen to him; now he is experiencing a rough reality check. The rest of us are, as well. While my mother and I have been more aware of the risks his diet and sedentary lifestyle posed to his physical well-being, at the same time we have only truly been confronted with the possibility of a life without him now. For years, my father has defied the odds, remaining unaffected by the foods he eats and his lack of exercise; only within the past few years has his behavior truly started to catch up with him.

It is a scary thing, for my father to face his own mortality. It is equally scary for me to face it. Intellectually, I have always known that I would not always have my parents in my life, that they eventually grow old and die; however, this is the first time that I've been faced with that cold, hard reality. Since the day I was born, my parents have been there for me, to offer their unconditional love and support; I would never have made it through this past year without them. Now, as they approach senior citizenship, I see their bodies start to wear down, and I know that this will not always be the case. There will come a day when they will be gone, and I will be left alone. And this is something that strikes fear into the depths of my heart. I don't know how to possibly prepare myself for such a day; I will never be "ready" to lose the people who gave me life and love, who raised me, who shaped me into the person I am today.