Posted in Random Thoughts, relationships, Teaching, Uncategorized

Another Year Come and Gone

It’s been a while since I sat down to write about things. This year has been a roller coaster for me emotionally, and it has been rather hard for me to think of it all and put it all down on digital paper, as it were.

I don’t know that there weill be any rhyme or reason to the blog I am going to post. I’m not sure if it will make any sense, other than to me, and I think I’m okay with that. I don’t believe that I will ever be a famous blogger. I won’t make a ton of money pouring my heart out to strangers about the things that matter to me most. And I am okay with that.

Anywho.

We had graduation yesterday evening. It was the second class of students that I have seen all the way from their freshman year to their senior year. Chances are it will be the last class of students that I will have that will do that. That in and of itself is enough to cause me emotional distress. If there is one thing that I have loved in my life more than being a mother, it is knowing that I have been trusted with the care of other people’s children. Even for a few months out of the year, I am blessed to be a part of these kids’ lives, and I get to watch them grow and transform.  And nothing has been as satisfying as watching my kids grow from lanky, awkard freshemen, to more awkward seniors.

One of my students burst into tears as we waited for graduation to start. I pulled him close and gave him a hug, reminding him that this was not the end for any of us. In some way, I think that those were the words that I most needed to hear, and so I shared them with him.

He had much to overcome this year. He battled with some internal demons only to come out of them on the other side, hopefully happier and healthier for it.  I like to think that I have done the same.

It doesn’t really matter what I teach next year. It doesn’t matter if I don’t get to call these kiddos my own. It doesn’t matter if I gain the ire of an administrator or a parent for a few moments. Because I know, that deep down, I have made a difference.

Each year, I have my senior kids write a letter, talking about where they think that they have grown and changed. Inevitably, it becomes a letter to me about what they have learned in my class and how much they are going to miss me.

The words they left me with this year brought me to tears. And yet, they are happy ones. They will serve as a reminder in the days, weeks, months, and years to come that I was here and I made a difference.

And so, Class of 2017, I want to thank you. Thank you for going on this journey with me. Thank you for letting me inch a small part of myself into your lives. Thank you for touching my life in ways that I never thought possible. I am so very proud of each and every one of you. I know that you will go far and do great things.

Maybe one day you’ll actually help me open my bookstore. How cool would that be?

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Posted in Gaming, Motherhood, Random Thoughts

Step Away From The Computer!

We’ve all heard over and over again about how the internet is a breeding ground for distasteful behavior. I’m one of those people who tends to like to see the beauty and goodness in people, and a majority of my experiences as a citizen of the internet have shown me that I’m not wrong. But there are some times, and some people, who continue to put black spots on the marks of kindness that I have found here.

Now, let me preface this by saying that I’ve done a lot of socializing on the computer. When I was dating in my mid-20’s, I tried internet dating, and actually found my husband on OKCupid. I met up with one other guy there before I met my husband. He was nice, but ended up being a flake. He’s my friend on Facebook now, and we don’t ever talk, but it’s interesting keeping up with him. Even he wasn’t the scourge of the earth.

I really began to have an internet social life in early 2010. This was when I started playing MMOs, and I quickly warmed up to the idea of making friends and having a social life where I wouldn’t have to go out all the time. Call me an ambivert…I like to be social, but I also like to be comfy in my house.

Along with the MMO world came friendships that ended up meaning a lot to me over the years. I began being a mod for certain communities, I ran blogs for my RP characters. I routinely get to go and visit a few friends that I have made online at their homes in various places.  But for each lovely person I met, I heard horror stories about people who weren’t so nice.

Eventually I came across one of those people myself. We became great friends, so much so that I didn’t see what was happening beneath the surface. Slowly, this “friend” was whittling away at my self esteem, making me feel that I was doing things wrong, and that I was a bad person for trying to maintain a sense of sanity with what I was doing. It is a very easy thing to get wrapped up in story when you’re playing pretend online, and I knew this. But it didn’t make it any easier to distance myself from it. Eventually I learned that this wasn’t a healthy friendship, and I cut ties. But it was difficult. I had invested a lot of time and emotions into that friendship, and losing it was like losing a piece of myself.

Things died down for me online after that. I ended up conceiving my son shortly after, and spent a lot of my time contemplating life with a new baby. R was born in November, and I’m not just getting back to some of my computer activities. I have returned from a hiatus on one of the message boards that I moderate, and I’m not sure if I should have.

People seem to not understand how to step back from the computer. As much as I love my friends, I would never jeopardize my mental sanity and good nature because of people on the internet. I get that people have strong opinions. Why does it seem that some people turn the internet into a vacuum into which they can shout those opinions the loudest? Are we all struggling that much to be heard?

I watch people interact all the time. I teach highschoolers…and I will never understand how grown adults on the internet act so mean to each other over things that are essentially meaningless. And it’s not just on the boards that I moderate…it’s everywhere. People trying to drag others down, people taking advantage of each other. If someone has a platform, they have an audience, and there is no way to drown out the angry throngs of voices.

Why can’t people just take a step back? There is nothing that needs to be said so badly that it can’t wait the five minutes it takes to get a soda and a snack. Perhaps by that time, people would let their frustrations die down, and they’d see the truth…that it doesn’t matter.

Have you ever been involved in an online conversation that exploded into something it shouldn’t have been? How did you feel after the fact? Do you feel that it could have been prevented? And what do you think when you see behavior like this? Looking forward to your comments and stories!

 

~Aly, aka The Mommy Gamer

Posted in Gaming, Motherhood, Random Thoughts

Juggling Recreation Time

If there was one thing that I really loved to do before I had my son, it was playing video games. For at least 6 years, I was a super active member of the online community of FFXIV. Before that, I had never really played games before, but this game gave me a whole new social life. Because I got involved in this game and community, I met many of the people that I am friends with today.

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I gave a good portion of my time and energy to these people who became like a second family to me. I remember telling them that I was pregnant, and how excited I was to share in that experience with them. For the next 8 months of my pregnancy, I shared my ups and downs, my pains, my aches, and my joys.

I remember at one point being on a skype call with my good friend Tay, and all of a sudden she asked, “Are you rubbing your stomach?” It threw me off because I had no clue how she knew. Apparently she could hear the sound of my hand on my stomach, something that had turned into background noise, but something that held special significance for her. For the rest of my pregnancy, she would always tease me when she heard it. It became a game, one that always made me smile.

As my pregnancy progressed, I knew that my time with them was going to grow short. I new that once R came, I’d have to give up my time with them in exchange for diaper changes, feedings, and sleepless nights. But I never expected it to hit me so hard.

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I’ve found that I really miss my former social life. I miss the people I used to talk with on the regular, and I find that it’s become more and more difficult to find things in common with these people. And I promised that I wouldn’t be that person. I didn’t want to be the woman who only talks about her child in front of everyone…but that’s exactly what I’ve become. Instead of screenshots of my character and the stories I wrote for her, my phone is now loaded with one of the 12,000 pictures of my son…most of which are identical to each other.

Instead of spending my nights up until all hours of the morning laughing with friends, I am in bed by 10 pm, hoping that my LO sleeps well and will smile at me when he wakes up. Instead of singing silly songs and killing monsters on the computer, I’m talking to my son from the point of view of his Batman toy, or trying to feed him his own feet. Nothing prepared me for the love that I would feel for him. And nothing has prepared me for the melancholy I sometimes feel for the friendships and fun I used to have.

Would I trade them? No. They’re two completely different worlds. I am happier now than I ever thought I could be. But would I like to find some more time here and there to remember what that life was like? Sure.

I just hope that all of my friends remember how much I cared for them. And that hopefully, someday, I’ll be able to make a return, and they’ll welcome me back with open arms. Until then, I’ll be over here, blowing raspberries with my baby.

 

~Aly, aka The Mommy Gamer