Friday, July 15, 2011

Aunt Jan

I hate reading/subscribing to a blog, and then the only time it's updated is for the writer to say, "Sorry! I've been so busy. I haven't had time to blog!" Unfortunately, it looks like I'm that type of blogger (at least for now while I'm working). I hope that during my 18 month sabatical I really keep this thing consistently updated to document all of our experiences in Espana. But anyway, I've been so busy I haven't had time to blog. This was actually my first week back to work after three weeks, and I think we all know that I'm not going to take time away from my free time to blog. :)

Why was I away for 3 whole weeks? First, we went to NY for the GEP orientation, which was really helpful. Maybe I'll talk more about that in my next "Just Another Madrid Monday" post. (Sooner than later, I hope). We came home from that trip late on a Friday night and left early Sunday morning for a week in Outer Banks, NC with Luke's extended family. What a great week we had! The beach and beach house were beautiful, and there really is nothing better than waking up whenever you want, leisurely enjoying breakfast and coffee, and then heading down to the beach for the rest of the day. We got back from that trip on July 2nd, and unfortunately, on the 4th, we learned that our family had lost my mom's youngest sister, my Aunt Jan. So we all packed up and headed to Arkansas to be with our family.

Fortunately, I've been blessed enough to not have had to say good-bye to very many family members. In fact, this is the first close family member we've lost that I'm actually old enough to really remember and truly understand. It's not easy. For anybody. So many people are affected. I love my Aunt Jan so very much and will always miss her, but my heart deeply hurts for her husband, who will have to find his way through this world on his own now; for my Nana, who had to bury her youngest daughter; and for my mom and her siblings, who lost their baby sister. Pray for those people and for our other family and Jan's friends who have been affected by her unexpected passing. She will be so very missed for so long.

Everyone who knew my Aunt Jan knew that she was full of life and lived every minute to the fullest, and you could go on and on about how care free and always ready for a party she was. But, instead of doing that, I want to share my most favorite memory of Aunt Jan. She was a teacher, and while we were growing up, she got her first classroom at Beard Elementary in Ft. Smith, AR. Everytime we went to visit, she'd take us up to her classroom, and let us write on the chalkboards and projector, help decorate for the first day of school, and play teacher for as long as we wanted. This may not sound like much, but for a little girl who was literally OBSESSED with becoming a teacher, it was a dream come true. Then for one of my birthdays (I can't remember which one exactly), she got me the teacher's edition of a 3rd grade English book. Are you kidding me??? It was awesome! It had the answers and everything, and I sure did use the heck out of it, right along with my grade book that was filled with the names and grades of 24 fake students. I think that is one of the most memorable gifts from my childhood.

Last week in Arkansas, everyone talked about how much Aunt Jan loved teaching, and it made me wish that I had followed my heart and done that instead. Hopefully, when we come back from Spain, the education budget drama will have turned around, and I can pay honor to Aunt Jan by making a career change and hopefully continue in her legacy of loving those children, loving learning and forever making an impact on young,needy lives through teaching.

Please keep my family in your thoughts and prayers.

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