Sunday, September 13, 2015

The Small Moments

This "new life" is hard.
Really hard.
It's the small moments that make it so hard.
Not the empty bed, not the quiet house, not even visiting your grave.
Those things are hard...don't get me wrong.
But it's the small moments that are the toughest.
The moment I leave work and go to call you.
It was always the first thing I did, as soon as I got in the car
(sometimes before I even made it out of the building).
Tell you I'm on the way home, discuss dinner plans, talk about our days.
I miss those conversations.
The moment our show is on.
We had many shows, but you know which one I mean.
Singing the theme song together.
Rolling our eyes at the over-dramatic acting.
Wondering if we are ever going to find out who A is.
I can't even watch it anymore...its just not the same without you.
The moment I have to throw out the milk.
We used to have to buy 2 gallons of milk, every week.
Now I can't even get thru a half gallon before it expires.
I miss your love for milk, babe.
The moment I see your truck around town.
Well, not your truck. Your truck is gone.
But any truck that looks like yours.
It gives me heart palpitations, and I always look for that WSP sticker.
Even though I know its not there.
Because your truck is gone, and so are you.
The moment he does something crazy.
Yes, you who know.
He's still crazy.
But you know what else?
He's nice, too.
He brought me warm, chocolate chip cookies the other day.
And I laughed, because I know you would have said not to eat them.
So I didn't.
The moment our song comes on.
Actually, the many moments our song comes on.
I hear it all the time.
A lot more than I ever did before.
I know that's you, babe.

The moment I change into my "cozies."
We couldn't wait to put on our cozies for the night.
Just relax, maybe get a "sweet treat."
Cuddle up on the couch, watch a movie.
And laugh....always laugh.
The moment I didn't bite my nails.
You always hated how I bit my nails.
It drove you crazy.
But guess what, babe?
I don't bite them anymore.
They are long now.
Aren't you proud?
The moment I saw Oops, All Berries in the store.
You would have been so excited.
I would have bought it for you, surprised you with it.
You would have said "Whaaaaaaat???"
Maybe do your little dance.
But I didn't buy it...because you're not here to eat it.
The moment I found that flower.
Remember when we drove to Athens on Valentine's Day?
And we stopped at that gas station, and I asked you to buy me a cheesy gift?
You came out with this huge, 3 foot tall fake flower.
It cost you $10. And you said I was worth it.
I found it the other its sitting in the living room.
And I look at it every day.

The moment I saw that poster.
We went out to eat the other day.
We were sitting at a table and I looked up to see a WSP poster.
Right beside our table.
It was a Blue Indian poster, babe.
Did you choose that table for us?
The moment I needed hangers.
So I went into "your room."
I haven't been in there much.
But I needed hangers, so I opened your closet.
And then I lost it.
The moment I bought tickets for Germany.
I was giddy when I bought the tickets, but also sad at the same time.
We were so excited to spend NYE in Paris together.
I'm still going babe...will you still come, too?

The moment I read our old text messages.
I miss talking to you.
But you can still make me laugh.

The moment I heard you laugh.
Were you here? I know you were.
I heard you.
You laughed.
Clear as day.
I was in the bedroom and I heard you laugh.
And then I cried.
Every moment you're not here.
It doesn't get easier. It never hurts less.
I think people just say that to make me feel better.
But it's not true. Because I don't feel better.
I just miss you.


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Three Months Too Long

So it's officially been three months since I lost the love of my life.
I wish I could say that time is helping, but I'm not quite sure that it is.
I stay busy....very busy.
I've been doing quite a bit of traveling this summer.
I've been to Charleston for a beach day with a girlfriend,
Tennessee for much needed time with another girlfriend,
 Hilton Head for a girls' weekend trip,
Missouri for a family camping trip,
Las Vegas for an education conference and meet up with blogging buddies from all over,
Virginia for a visit with my sister,
 and New York for a weekend with my sister and niece.
But it doesn't matter where I go, because the truth never changes.
He's not there.
And he never will be.
Sure, I can feel happiness. I have felt extreme joy this summer.
I've felt it in the smiles of my family.
I've felt it in the hugs of my blogging buddies.
I've felt it in the words of my friends.
But that joy, which feels so big in the moment, is only a fraction of the joy I would experience with him.
And that breaks my heart.
I just miss him.
Too much to bear.
I don't understand why anyone would have to go through pain like this.
It's just not fair.
I've read a lot about grief and how to deal with the loss of a partner, with the feelings that can change with the flutter of an eyelash.
One post really hit home with this simple statement:
"Guilt, anger, frustration, and sadness all come in a beautifully wrapped package with our names on it, signed 'With Love, Widowhood.'"
Although I would also add happiness to that list, because there is sometimes happiness.
It's the unexpected moments of pure grief that hurt the most, and they come at the most random times.
I can be watching TV, or eating dinner, or driving down the road.
And then the tears come, fast and furious, until my cheeks are flushed and my mascara is a mess.
Sometimes it lasts for only a minute...other times, hours.
And then there are those days where I may not shed even one single tear, only smile with the memories of what we had.
Grief is a funny thing.
So it's been three months, and I'm not sure that I'm any better than I was on day one.
One of my very best girlfriends made these collages for Wes' funeral.
They show 11 years of memories, 11 years of happiness.
Sometimes, I want to throw them out the window because it hurts so bad to look at them.
Other times, I hug them fiercely to my chest.
I told you....grief is a funny thing.
A new school year is upon us. Tomorrow...well, today my last official day of summer break. I go back to work on Thursday.
This will be the hardest. Trying to find a "new normal" without him.
I've been pretending all summer that I can run all over this globe, but that things at home are still the same.
But they're not, because he's not there.
And he never will be.
To those that pray for me, thank you.
Please continue to do so.
To those that think of me, thank you.
Please continue to do so.
And to those that encourage me, thank you.
Please continue to do so.
Because it's been three months.
Three months too long.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

What You've Taught Me

Today is May 27th.
It's been exactly one month since I lost you.
I guess because school is out and I've not written the date on the board this week, I didn't realize it was the 27th until about an hour ago.
And then I fell apart.
But I also started thinking about everything that has happened in the past month and I realized that I have learned a lot.
-You were the messy one. Somehow I've managed to keep the dishes loaded, the clothes picked up, and the bathroom clean (although I do desperately miss seeing your little beard whiskers in the sink).
-Except for my shoes. I'm sorry for all those times you tripped over my shoes. Thank you for always putting them away for me. I had to pick up 3 pairs just tonight from the living room floor.
-I CAN mow the grass. And pull the weeds, blow the driveway, and trim the bushes.
-I CAN'T bring myself to throw away your old, nasty cigarettes. They are still sitting right where you left them.
-You had 12 watches, 6 pairs of Ray-Bans, 17 pairs of shorts, and 23 ties. Not to mention all the shoes....I stopped counting after 50. Really, Wes???
-I finally settled the argument-it was you who always left the bathroom door open.
-Your t-shirts are way cozier than mine.
-I find myself still buying the things you liked. Somehow Oreos and Cliff Bars managed to end up in my grocery buggy.
-You can still make me laugh.

-I cannot finish a gallon of milk before it goes bad. No more buying 2 gallons a week...a half gallon will suffice.
-Car rides are the hardest. I should probably just keep a tube of waterproof mascara in my glove box.
-I will probably end up burning down the house without you coming behind me to turn off the stove. Seriously...this is an issue.
-You hid Hostess cupcakes in the guest room. I found your stash of empty wrappers under the pillows. Oh, and I also found the empty box under the kitchen sink.
-I feel you everywhere. From the geese at your gravesite to the coke bottles in the cooler, I feel your presence everywhere I go and I know that you are with me.
-Love is stronger than grief. Every time grief threatens to swallow me whole, I think of an inside joke we had or a funny moment we shared and it pulls me back out.
-I am so thankful to have gotten to spend 11 years by your side. We somehow managed to create a lifetime of memories in those 11 short years.
-You were, and are, loved by so many. And we miss you so very, very much.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

How to Grieve the Loss of Your Husband

If you've been following me on Instagram, you know that I've had the worst week of my life.
Last Monday, April 27th, my husband passed away.
He had a heart attack.
He was only 32.
Nothing can ever prepare you for something like this.
 I don't know how to grieve the loss of the person I loved the most in this world.
I don't know how to navigate through life without him.
We'd been together for over 11 years-that's over a third of my life.
How do you go on living without someone who has been there every single day for over a third of your life?
My husband was my most favorite person ever. He made me laugh, on a daily basis.
In fact, he made everyone laugh. It was a gift he had, and the reason that I fell in love with him all those years ago. I've spent a lot of the last 10 days remembering all the good times that we had and sharing stories with those who loved him.
And what I've found is that it's almost impossible to think about Wes and not laugh.
He would want us to laugh.
Which is why I'm writing this post.
I went back and forth over how to write this post without seeming like I'm not "grieving properly" or like I'm not "sad enough" (because the truth is, I'm very sad....I've never been so sad).
But I know that Wes would have done anything to make people laugh, and what I'm about to share is guaranteed to make you laugh.
Last Tuesday, after I had been out of school only 1 day, a coworker of mine brought over some letters that my students had written for me. After reading these letters multiple times (and spending hours laughing about them), I knew I had to share them with the world.
He would want me to.
So here goes....
How to Grieve the Loss of Your Husband
by 3rd Graders
"R.I.P. husband"

"Keys for losing someone you love:
-Do not cry forever!"

"Dogs will keep you company."
"We hope you get over the fact that he is gone."

"We hope you will get happy someday."

"Don't worry you're not alone-you have your dogs.
You can also find someone else and you're way pretty enough.
Mr. Lemacks doesn't want you to mope around."

"You can't run away from your sadness."
"I hope you are okay. I am sad, too.
Can you please come back and teach?"

"You should do what he would want you to do, which is being you."

"Here are some happy symbols to cheer you up."
(a flower, a smiley face, a heart, "I love you")

"Your husband was a good man, but cheer up! He is very happy in heaven."

"Think about the good things in your life right now."

"You just need to sit down and eat chocolate.
Also, if you can pray for him and come back to teach us, we miss you."
"Don't worry-your husband is in heaven."
(along with a picture of my husband as an angel, captioned "Your Dear Husband")
"Heaven, heaven, heaven, heaven..."
And my absolute FAVORITE one...
"Life does not go the way you want.
Please come back."

I also found this piece of paper. It was folded up and taped to the inside of one of the cards.
Apparently, they started a petition for me to come back...
So, I'm going to take the advice of my third graders:
I'm going to eat chocolate.
I'm going to keep my dogs as company.
I won't run away from my sadness.
I won't cry forever.
I love you, Wesley Lemacks.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

The Primary Peach Giveaway {plus a freebie!}

Hey yall!
I have some exciting news to share with you!!!
I have teamed up with some amazing bloggers to launch a collaborative blog geared to all you sweet Georgia teachers out there!
Introducing.....The Primary Peach!
We are SO excited to launch this new blog, so of course we have to kick it off with some awesome freebies and a BIG giveaway!
But wait....I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's take this one step at a time, shall we?
I'm Natalie. First grade teacher. Wife to Wesley. Mom to 3 pups {Abby, Dude, and Greta}.

I hail from Augusta, home of the Masters. Golf is just a way of life 'round these parts.
When I'm not teaching or hanging out with my hubs and pups, you can find me holed away in my office creating TPT products, playing with my Cameo, or doing schoolwork for my doctorate program.
I hope that you LOVE this freebie as much as I do!
Our sweet new blog was a TOTAL inspiration!
What a perfect way to end the year.
Click on the pic to snag your copy.
 In addition to all these awesome freebies you're racking up on, you've got the opportunity to win some TPT cash! There will be one GRAND PRIZE $50 TPT gift certificate winner, and 3 more lucky winners will each receive a $25 TPT gift certificate!
Be sure to check out The Primary Peach for your chance to enter.
Want to meet the next Georgia blogger and snag even more freebies?
Head on over to meet my friend Kelly!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Testing Encourage-'mints'

Hey yall!
Well, this is the week.
The week of our BIG test.
The week we have been dreading preparing for all year.
I won't get into how I personally feel about this type of testing...I'll just simply say that I want my students to do their best.
To help give them a little boost of confidence each day before we test, I created these little testing encouragements. There are a ton of different types of testing printables out there, so these are certainly not unique. Just my spin on them :)

Snag your copy by clicking here or the picture below.
Wish us luck, friends!!!

Monday, March 2, 2015

EDExpo 2015 Top 10 Teacher Blogger Products

Hey yall! Happy Monday!
I'm here to share with you today all of the amazing new products that I got to explore at the EDExpo 2015 last weekend in Atlanta. Each blogger got to visit each booth and speak with the vendors about their newest products. Then we each came up with an individual top 10 list, which were compiled to create the Top 10 Products for 2015.
Here are all the lovely bloggers that I got to spend the weekend with (minus a few who were still exploring!)

Ready for the products? Hold on to your britches, because there is some seriously awesome stuff here!
I like a countdown, so let's start at 10.
There was actually a tie for the #10 spot. Kapla Blocks and Cool Circuits by Science Wiz both made the list.
(ummm....can we say STEM?)
#8 was Pencil Grips...every teacher needs a stash of these!
Fiddle Focus took the #7 spot
These are so great for those students with sensory issues!
These cool Math Bands came in at #6.
So great for memorizing those facts!
The F.U.N. Empty Number Line was #5 - a great way to make math interactive for your kiddos!
The #4 spot also had a tie - Goldieblox and Boinks Fidgets!
Another great STEM product, this one geared specifically towards girls, and also another product to help students with busy fingers.
Taking the #3 spot is the Say It! game by Felix Fun.
This game is so much fun and an easy way to get in those vocabulary terms!
#2 was the Reading Game - great for primary kiddos!
And the #1 product, according to teacher bloggers, was the Touchtronic Numbers & Letters by Junior Learning. These work with an iPad and were super fun!
Want to know where you can purchase some of these awesome products?
Check out ED Market to find a retailer near you!
 Be sure to check back in the coming weeks. I am going to highlight some of my personal top 10 picks from the conference...and I just might be giving some of them away!!!