Friday, December 16, 2011

Infinitely Blessed

I am so blessed.  I mean, truly blessed, with reasonably good health; supportive and encouraging family and friends.  I am sustained, lifted up, embraced, loved. I have hope and faith, and a deep understanding of who I am in this world.  I have work that challenges me, students who respect me, daughters who inspire me, and a husband who accepts me just as I am. I have my blogging friends to uplift me, and open my eyes.

I am so blessed.  Earlier this week, I reread several poems and letters that my children have given me over the years.  My walls are hung with them, testimonies of their love, and their growth and maturity into adulthood. (There were few of these in their teenage years. :)

I am so blessed. Today is the anniversary of my son's death.  You can read what I wrote on this day last year here, if you so desire.  But, today, I am celebrating.  Today, my fifth graders are completing their individually designed graham cracker structures.  They have spent days planning their building, modeling it to fit our 2011 theme of "Mountain Village".  They have figured the area needed for the cardboard structure, and determined the number of graham crackers they will need to cover the cardboard.  They have brought in mountains of supplies, named their building, and they are ready.  So am I.  I have my camera in my bag, and I'll document their progress to show next year's students.  Every year they are challenged to be even more creative.

I am so blessed.  Yesterday and today I have had my daughter Kailyn's wonderful boyfriend, Nick, helping me with the students as they build their base structure, and today as they decorate.  He is my Chris today.  He is Nick too, lovable and appreciated in his own right, but he is my reminder of the good days, and good times I shared with Chris. I am grateful to be so blessed.

Last night my sister, Pam,  stopped by with a card, honoring the memory of Chris, the child who first made her an aunt. The card was welcome, but what really struck me was how she signed it, "Your hurts are my hurts and your joys are my joys! I love you so much and my heart is with you!" Her words wrapped themselves around me, just as her arms did, and reminded me again, how much I am blessed by the never ending love of my sister, and the history we share.

For the first time in six years, I am looking forward to this day.  It seems crazy to me, that I can be crying one minute, and then thinking about making a celebration of this day the next.  I am astonished that I actually find myself thinking about the privilege and pleasure I experienced as Chris' mom. All week I have thought about my son, and I admit that I've cried some, but I want to celebrate that I was blessed to be his mom.  I think he would have loved to be honored by a 5th grade graham cracker structure extravaganza.  So today, in honor of my son's life, in honor of the impact he made on so many people, in honor of his good heart and soul, I celebrate.  It just feels like the right thing to do.

I am so blessed.

First the students taped the cardboard base together

As you can see, students used varied styles to attach their graham crackers!
The class theme is "Mountain Village"

The decorating begins . . .

One student chose to use chocolate frosting . . .

The finished product . . . and a few others for you to enjoy!

I'm not sure how this one above "fit" our winter theme, as it slipped by me and I didn't notice until I was adding the photos to my computer!
The kids had a great day. Before they left, each student received a little goodie bag with a package of hot cocoa mix, a small baggie of mini marshmallows, a pair of hand warmers and a candy cane with a note attached that said: "Wishing you warm hands, a warm heart and sweet dreams for the holidays!"
Last, each was allowed to choose a book to take home for the winter break. They all loved that!
I was exhausted by 3:35, but it was a satisfying day.  
I am ready for vacation and some blessed quality time with my family.


  1. We are all blessed to hear of your courage to make a full life for yourself and your family. I can't imagine the pain you have/are going through, but you are an inpiration to many of us who have to move on past difficult times.

  2. Happy celebration of remembered life! I am glad you are in a healing place. It's hard not to be with all the energy of the students around holidays.

  3. It's so interesting that we both are celebrating our sons' lives, both named Chris, and both gone before us. I love this post filled with blessings galore, and it has made me smile and be grateful, too.

  4. That's beautiful, inspiring and full of hope.

  5. Dear Sandi,
    Your posting has filled me with bountiful hope. It is the perfect example of that song "When You Walk Through a Storm." You have walked and been battered for six long years since Chris died. Now you come to the haven of your own blessings. The blessing of his bountiful life. Blessing heaped upon blessing. Pressed down and overflowing. I believe he chose you as his mother. Chose YOU. In your love for one another you became blessing. It is with gratitude that I say that. Gratitude that you have found the peace of realizing the blessings of your life.

    The gingerbread project was a great idea! What a wonderful way to learn measurement and area and volume! You are, I hope you know, a blessing in the lives of the children in your classroom. I so loved the pictures of those houses--replete with decorative candy!

    And the gifts you gave will, I'm sure, be treasured by all of them.


  6. What a fun teacher you must be! I bet your students love you!
    As for your loss I am sorry. I can't even begin to understand how hard that is. My friend Elisa lost her boy and as I watch her hurt my heart breaks for her.
    I'm so glad you came over even if Dee had to twist your arm a little.
    I'm excited to get to know you as well. Thank you for reading and commenting. Hope to see you soon.

  7. I am blessed by your growth, your huge and generous heart, and your writing. I love you.

  8. What a blessing that you have arrived at this place of gratitude. I admire your courage in moving forward. You've made a choice to live and celebrate life...I know it must be a challenge to look for the light when the darkness is so easy to see. I wish you all the best.

  9. My boys used to make those in school, but they covered their empty milk cartons.


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