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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Remembering Dad

"We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give."
 ~Sir Winston Churchill
Dad and I, 1990

 We all  (hopefully) have a person in our lives who helps us strive to be better people, loves us unconditionally, and understands us more than anyone else. Mine was Tom Killian, my dad.

Dad was actually my step-father, but he grew to be so much more than that. This picture of us was taken near the beginning of our relationship-- when we were both miserable. Those of you who know me well will notice that I do not have my usual toothy smile in this photo. It was intentional.

You see, he became my step-dad when I was 13. My real father died when I was 6, and by this time I had no need for someone else to try to step into that role-- especially not a man who was 50 years older than I was. I spent the better part of 2 years trying and succeeding to make our lives together as difficult as possible. He wanted me to call him "Dad,"  and I refused. Out of respect for his age, he required me to call him "Mr. Killian." I spent so much time trying to convince him that I didn't need or want him, but he just wouldn't stop convincing me how much I truly did need and want him. He was like that-- he always knew what was best for me.  I remember I told him once that he would never be able to take my father's place in my life. His response: "I never want to take your father's place. I would just like to earn my own place in your life." And that's exactly what he did. He's the only person I've ever known who was as stubborn as I am. I am so thankful that he wanted to invest in me.

There's a long story to our relationship, but the most important part is the happy ending. I grew to love this man with all of my heart, and I eventually was more than willing to call him "Dad." As this month comes to a close, I miss him more than ever. Dad died in April of 2010. This past Wednesday would have been his 86th birthday. I turned in my last assignment for my Master's degree today, and he's really the biggest reason I started and finished. I dedicate that degree to him. We never ended a conversation without him telling me he was proud of me, proud of Jeff, and proud of all that we had done. I know that he would be proud of this, too.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Where did April go?

I realize that the month is not yet over, but WOW! It has gone by so fast! I hate to admit it, but I really did hope for this month to pass quickly.
For the last 18 months, I have been working on getting my Master's of Education. I started this process during the summer of 2010 (actually I started way back in 2001, but that's another story entirely), and it was pretty much a breeze to begin with. I could do my classwork while my babies napped or slept at night, and I didn't have a stack of student essays to grade. When the school year started again, it became a little more difficult, but it was manageable. "Manageable" would be a good word to describe the whole experience until this semester.
 When I saw my course requirements for my last two classes in January, I told my husband that I was going to quit. Smart, huh? My last semester of this journey and I was going to quit. It just looked like too much to handle: writing an action research project, tutoring students, teaching full-time, being a mother, having two of my girls playing softball, feeding my family, sleeping, breathing. I was positive that all of that could not take place at the same time. I broke down. I cried. I threw a fit. And then my husband told me what he's always told me, that he would do whatever it took to get me through it. And he has. He has always been the voice of reason to my emotional outbursts. I thank God for him daily.
So here I am, April 23, and I just submitted my last assignment for one of my classes. The final assignment for my other class is due Sunday, my birthday. As sick as it may be, that will be the best birthday present. With all of the activities that have consumed this month, though, I am refuting Eliot's claim that "April is the cruelest month." This month started with my mother's baptism-- how beautiful is that for beginning a month?! We celebrated Easter, Mom's 68th birthday, and Aubrey's 4th birthday along with her first softball hit.
It's been great, April; now bring on May!
Mom's baptism

My girls on Easter

Aubrey's 4th birthday cake

Aubrey's game ball for her 1st hit!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Here We Go...!

I honestly don't know why I'm doing this. Blogging is not something that I ever anticipated doing, but lately I've felt compelled to do a lot of things that I never thought I'd do.
I guess I'll start by introducing myself. My name is Pam, and I'm a child of God, first of all. Thanks be to Him, I have the most wonderful husband a girl could hope for, 3 beautiful daughters (Katie- 8, Aubrey- 4, and Abby- 2), a career that I love, a comfortable home, a wonderful family, and beautiful friendships. I am blessed beyond measure, but sometimes I feel like I'm stretched a little thin. I don't want to sound like I am the only one who feels this way, in fact, I intend quite the opposite-- there are many of us who feel like this. I am guessing that all moms feel like this. I think that's why I wanted to start this whole blogging process-- to communicate my experiences and maybe learn about some others who feel the same.

I am excited and nervous about this adventure, so here we go...