Friday, November 14, 2014

Green Apple Jolly Ranchers

I haven't posted since July, huh?
Can you guess who is a teacher?
Yeah, that'd be me.
When I met my husband, I told him, "You're not going to want to know me the first and last two weeks of school.  It's craziness."  Apparently I've taken that to a whole new level.  
So here I am.  At the request of a dear friend, I am posting again.

This one may take a while to come back around, but I promise, there's a story there.

So.  Green Apple Jolly Ranchers. 

A little over a year ago, I decided I was very unhappy with how I looked.  I had gained weight on top of my baby weight (for a child who was over a year old) and I was miserable.
I decided to make changes.  
I attempted working out, and I did really well...for a while. (My typical MO for fitness related things.)
I tried clean eating, but wasn't able to follow through with that, either.  (Anyone see a pattern here?)
One thing I was able to stick to was to drink at least 100 ounces of water a day.
I was ok with plain water for a while, but that soon fizzled on me, too.  So my alternative was to add the sugar free, low calorie "flavor enhancers" to my water.  Presto change-o!  These 100 ounces are a breeze now.  I actually have somewhat of a commute, a long commute for my neck of the woods 40 miles one way, and I am able to get 33 ounces in just on my drive to work.
But again, I digress.
What prompted this post was a flavor I found.  At my local Walgreen's, they had a selection of these items on an end cap in a variety of flavors, one of them being Green Apple Jolly Rancher.
Being in the education field for 14 years, I have come to loathe the word bully and anything related to it.
I will make some people mad with this and that's fine, but that word is overused and misunderstood.  When I hear it, I always think of Indigo Montoya from "The Princess Bride" when he says, "You keep on using that word and I do no think you know what it means."  Preach on, brother, preach on.
Either way, I don't know what it was, but I had a HORRIBLE fourth grade experience. My teacher was evil.  I distinctly recall sitting in her room thinking, "When I am a teacher I will NOT be like this!"  (Yes, it is possible to know what you want to do at age ten and follow through with it.  That is an entire other blog post though.)
So in fifth grade it didn't get better.  I grew up in a painfully small town.  My family didn't have the right last name and I didn't have the right labels on my clothes and shoes to buy me friends.  So, needless to say, those warm fuzzy feelings most people have when they reminisce about their childhoods, just aren't there for me.  Not related to school anyway.
So I went through a spell in fifth grade where I didn't want to go to school.  Staying home and watching "Little House On The Prairie" and playing Barbies was much more comfortable for me.
And all I can say, as I am getting teary eyed already, just thinking about what I am going to type is God bless my mom.  She did the best she could with what she had (which wasn't much, despite her and my dad busting their asses to make ends meet) and I am the person I am today because of how I was raised. (As most of us are.)
I think my mom full well knew I wasn't sick.  I think she also knew it wasn't in my scholastic best interest to be missing school.  (And as a teacher now,  I know that if I had a student that felt that badly about coming to school, I would go to the ends of the earth to rectify the situation.  (See previous paragraphs on the hell hole of a town I grew up in with a faulty school system to match.)
Like I said, I don't know if what I was going through was being bullied, or if I was going through much more than was apparent on the outside, but I was perfectly happy being home alone (my parents worked 50+ hours a week).  Being home didn't hurt, being at school did.
This breaks my heart for myself and my parents on many levels.
One, that my parents worked SO hard to provide for my sisters and I and for whatever reason, their youngest had this pain they couldn't fix.  Let me point out that I am sure it was at no fault of theirs.  I am pretty sure it was all on me. I have had self worth issues my entire life and I felt like I would be bothering them if I went to them with this.  Again, they didn't do anything to perpetuate these thoughts in my head, that was all me. 
It breaks my heart as a teacher that someone in the field I am so passionate about allowed this to happen.  Why didn't my teacher call?  Why didn't the principal notice?  Why didn't anyone say anything about a seemingly gregarious, bubbly little girl who has NO friends to play with at recess? I don't say all of these things because I think I am the America's Next Top Teacher or anything, but I do think about this a lot.
So rounding back to the candy.
When I say my mom let me stay home, she wasn't allowing it to get to the point of truancy and didn't allow me to miss so much school my grades suffered.  She did what I needed her to do, because if I had been forced to go to school, I would have been miserable and backed off even more and done nothing but hurt and make things worse.
When my mom asked me what it was exactly that "hurt" on me, since I had no fever and no other visible symptoms.  I told her it was my throat.  So that night, she came home with a bag of Green Apple Jolly Ranchers and said, "Here, suck on these when your throat hurts, it'll help."
I know I was not an easy kid to raise.  When I was pregnant with my son, I had visions of my payback for what kind of child I had been.
But I never forgot that time at home and I never forgot those Jolly Ranchers.
So when I saw this water on the shelf at Walgreen's, I had to get it.  And I don't know how they do it, but the stuff sure does taste like the candy.
When I mix it in my water and take a drink, I am happy.  I am home in my fuzzy jammies, watching Bob Ross or "Little House On The Prairie" and I am safe.  I am loved.  It seems dumb, but to me, it was love and caring, what more does a kid need?  It was maybe a $3 bag of candy, but it was the thought behind it.  My folks couldn't do a lot financially, but they love my sisters and I more than I think we even know.  My mom showed it by allowing me that time at home. Allowing me time to get where I needed to be in order to be ok at school.  THAT is what I needed.  That showed more love than all the money in the world could've and that is what I want to do for my son.
I am a mama bear to an extreme (my husband compares me to the mom on The Goldbergs) and I pray my son doesn't experience anything like this, but if we have a period, I will search high and low to find a bag of Green Apple Jolly Ranchers and do whatever I can to make the hurt go away. 
I know I can't protect him from every hurt every time, but I will do what my mom did and try my hardest.
I know this was a rambling post.  It probably makes no sense to anyone but me, but I suppose that's the advantage of having a blog.
The overall point is that as parents, we are always doing things that impact and effect our kids, even if we don't know it.  I am sure if I asked my mom about Green Apple Jolly Ranchers, she'd think I was insane, but to me, that taste will always remind me of how loved I am.  

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