Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Green and Sons

     While I've written a lot about fatherhood for this blog and in my eventual book, as the title would lead you to believe, I have not yet written in-depth about my own father.  While my Father's Day really happened a week early, I spent the actual day on the road and wasn't able to see my own dad.  He and I spoke on the phone, and we'd given him his present when we saw him during our last trip to my hometown.  Of course, I could give him presents every day for the rest of his life and still not be able to repay him for the gift he gave me, one which had a defining impact on my life:  he raised me no differently than my other two brothers.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Signed, Sealed, Undelivered

     Two nights ago, my son got upset with me for disciplining him.  He, in his six year old mind, felt my request that he speak more kindly to me was unreasonable.  I saw him get out a piece of paper and a pencil, but assumed the only thing he'd created was the drawing he showed me before he went to bed.  Yesterday morning, I realized I was wrong, when I found this note on the floor of his room.  When I showed it to him, he apologized for making it and said it wasn't true.  He said he just wrote it for himself and didn't want me to see it.  But that doesn't change the fact that it is literally my favorite thing he as ever created.

     Because it perfectly captures his improving (but incomplete) understanding of the use of air quotes, (he "always" cracks us up when he "uses" them when he talks) and because it is a "frozen moment" which encapsulates the innocence and mindset of my son, I feel absolutely blessed to have this note.  

     And I hope the statement he wrote is never actually true.  I will continue to strive to be the sort of dad who is friends with his son without him losing respect for me; without pandering to him or taking the easy road to gaining his favor.  That strategy has served me well so far as both a father and a teacher.  Most of all, this note reminds me that my son will not always be six, and I need to cherish every moment I have with him, even (and especially) the moments where he channels his adorable anger into priceless written declarations.

Friday, June 26, 2015

The Little Things ARE the Big Things

  While on vacation in Disney World I had many opportunities to notice the differences between this year's trip and last year's, when I was on oxygen 24/7 and rode a scooter nearly everywhere I went.  Some of these moments were big and obvious and amazing, while many others were small, revealing themselves quietly or only dawning on me after the fact.  And is is these moments which we all too often overlook, only appreciating once we've lost them.  As such, I relish being able to reflect on them now.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

"Never Tell Me the Odds."

     My Father's Day experience this year consisted mostly of driving from Kentucky to Michigan as we returned home from our vacation in Florida.  But my transcendent moment as a dad came a week earlier, when I was able to use my new lungs to propel my son and I into an experience of a lifetime at Hollywood Studio's Star Wars Weekend.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Visiting Gift of Life Michigan: An Unexpected Stop on the Gratitude Train

     I thought today was simply about a photo op.  About dropping off a check.  I was so wrong.  And I am so glad that I was.  At the start of the 2014-15 school year, the STEM Academy coordinator at my school did what's she's done every year since she took on the role.  She encouraged her students to choose an organization to raise money for-- one with some connection to Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics.  But this year Danielle solicited ideas from the community, to bring in more ideas and more interested parties.  I emailed her, as did one of my colleagues, suggesting that they choose Gift of Life Michigan.  It made the list of fourteen potential groups that the students could choose from.  The leadership council, which included a few of the students who had been in my classroom on the last day I taught prior to going on medical leave, looked at the list and said, "We don't even need to vote.  We're doing this for Mr. Green."

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Some Pain, All Gain

     On our first full day at Disney World, my experiences added another layer of appreciation to an already multitiered gratitude tower.  At no point during the day did my health impact our experience. It would have been possible to put the ease with with we walked around and enjoyed the Magic Kingdom as a family in the back of my mind, but I'm grateful that my body gave me an achy reminder all the way home.  

Monday, June 22, 2015

My Own Personal Super Bowl

     We kicked off our 2015 Disney World vacation by "righting a wrong" from last year.  I had not planned to do anything with my son on the football field at the All Star Sports resort during our trip in 2014, because we didn't even know it existed.  But had we been aware of it, my need for supplemental oxygen and use of a motorized scooter would have made it difficult to play with him on it.  After we arrived and saw how much he wanted to play with us on the field, we bought a football at the gift shop so I could at least throw a ball to him.  While it was nice to toss it to him as I stood next to my scooter, it was almost too tantalizing to a five year old who longed for me to be able to chase him as he spun and juked toward the end zone.  To make the most of a less than ideal situation, he and I made a routine of racing to the goal posts as we crossed the field to get from our room to the bus pick-up drop off area each morning.

Friday, June 19, 2015

First Down

"Go long!"
This photo is from the time he threw it a bit short and I fell down trying to catch it...

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Force is with Us

After an outstanding Star Wars Weekend experience, my son and I built our own light sabers. Engaging in an epic battle like the one in the photo would not have been possible last year...

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Horsing Around

Just one of the many things I was able to do on this Disney trip because of these wonderful new lungs...

Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Pre-Transplanted Dad: "'Light Bulb' vs. 'Wow' Moments"

     As the hustle and bustle of getting on the road to Disney hits high gear, I will be putting my weekday updates of the blog on hold.  I plan to offer some photographic updates at least a few times while we are away, or I may just wait until I return... but I will be quickly diving back into Lake Educator as soon as I get home.  (Not any real lakes, though, I'm still too immunosuppressed.)  
This entry is from February 2011, just as the previous one was.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Pre-Transplanted Dad: "Give Us Your Babies"

     As the topic of work and meetings is looming large in my life right now, I decided it was a good time to mine my old blog, which I kept up for six months during 2011.  It was exclusively about how my life as a parent and a teacher intersected as I raised my then two and a half year old son.  Since I was working at the time and then entered a summer with an almost 3 year old, my commitment to it fizzled.  But, because this week we are gearing up for a trip to Disney World, I also have the perfect excuse to cut a few corners... I mean, recycle.  Yes, recycle.  Here are some of my thoughts from February 2011.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The Workaday World

     Just like yesterday's entry, I'd like to start this one with housekeeping... but of a different sort.  If you are someone reading this in a country other than the U.S., I would love it if you could post a comment to tell me how you learned of this blog. And, for all of you, if you aren't into commenting, I added a section below each post where you can just click on one of several boxes, which gives me feedback on what you thought of that post.  I did this about a week ago, but had forgotten to mention it.  Thanks for any and all feedback you have given me or will give in the future.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Annoying Chores I Can Finally Do Again, Ranked

1. Sweeping the Floor.  Sweeping is just terrible.  Maybe it's because we have a pug and his hair ends up all over the floor the second he walks past the area I just swept.  Maybe it's due to the fact that one of my chores growing up as a kid was to sweep the house, and the pile would always have  a ton of food bits that my little brothers probably dropped caused me to harbor a life-long loathing for it.  I don't know.  What I do know is that sweeping while dragging 25 feet of oxygen tubing around was a big NO.  The first time I even tried, my cord went through the pile or I couldn't get the pile into the dustpan without the cord becoming a hassle-- something like that.  Whatever-- that was it for me and sweeping for over a year.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Tobi or Not Tobi, That is the Question *

     Being on Tobi, 28 days on, 28 days off, is a familiar routine for most people with cystic fibrosis.  Like the phases of the moon, being on Tobi is part of a natural cycle, but instead of affecting ocean tides, it affects how we feel.  For me, I always felt better when I was on Tobi than when I was in an "off" cycle.  I'm sure some of that was psychological, but the medicine obviously works too.  For a long time, I would not be on any additional medication during the "off" cycle, but in the years before my transplant I would do inhaled Colistan and, once it was approved, Cayston.  But whether it was something scientific or more of a security blanket effect, I still felt best on Tobi.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Graduation Season

Exactly 15 years ago today, I spoke in front of nearly 200 of my fellow graduates, along with their loved ones, as one of four valedictorians of the Caro High School Class of 2000.

Some context and general notes:

  • The technology gap between when this was filmed and now limited my ability to get it onto YouTube.  I filmed it with my iPhone as it played on my TV, so I apologize for the quality.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The Game of My Life

     For about seven straight summers, from the day school got out until the day we went back, you could find me and my brothers behind our house playing together every day.  Living in a home on a hill situated along M-24, which is a state highway where cars always fly past at 55 plus miles per hour, we had no front yard options unless they involved counting blue cars that drove by.  But that was fine, because behind our house, we had place that was our own little field of dreams.  "Down the hill."  "Down the hill" meant only one thing to me and my two younger brothers:  baseball.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Pound It

     When my "transplant mentor" Ryan told me about how much weight he gained in the months after his transplant, my first thoughts were a) I hope I am "on his track" when it comes to this, and 2) what will I look like if I am at a healthy weight?  Over two years since he told me about his transformation, I have gone from weighing 111 lbs. to 153 lbs.  It's gotten to the point where my doctor's said I should stop trying to gain weight.  Not that I need to lose any, but, you know, it's a "don't drink high calorie shakes on top of the 2,800 calorie a day diet" situation.  So, my hopes were fulfilled, but what about my question about how I would look?

Monday, June 1, 2015

One for the History Books

     One of the things I've done to help me cope with being away from teaching for over two full years is honing in on experiences I've had that wouldn't have been possible if I were working.  When I went on medial leave in February of 2013, I did not have any guarantees that I would ever go back.  The reality of that set in through a gradual process.  Events at my school that I couldn't be a part of, or traditions that I returned for (like Ham-o-ween, my colleagues' annual fall celebration of pork consumption) reminded me of what I was missing on a day-to-day basis.  So, it helped immensely to recognize and appreciate occasions that couldn't have existed had I been working.  One of the greatest examples of this happened on Friday, when I surprised my favorite high school teacher and popped into one of his final classes before he retires this month.