Swimming in a Sea of Details

sea-turtles-water-bright

I’m swamped. There are so many details I’m attending to in order to ready myself for my National Accreditation visit which is coming up on October 6. I’m sure things are fine as they are now, but this means so much to me and for a year and a half prior to 2009, I worked steadily toward this observation knocking out one quality benchmark after another in the process. Some details I think are just redundant, for example, I have to have the instructions on how to use a fire extinguisher POSTED by the unit itself. This is sooo dumb, in my opinion, since all my fire extinguishers have the directions and pictures of how to use them right on the extinguisher itself! And I’m sure in the event of fire–I will be too harried to read a wall full of instructions. Thank God, I have attended enough fire safety classes and have enough knowledge of how to operate one–like it’s rocket science, anyway–duh…

I will be working diligently all weekend to finish up all details–I hope. The weather has been cold and raining for two days now and I will be busy shopping for last minute items, steam cleaning carpets, mopping floors, planning out/cooking all my food for the day so I don’t have to worry about prep time, and going back through my manual at least once if not twice more. To me, that is just the tip of the mountain I will need to climb this weekend. Come Monday, I don’t want anything left to worry about. I want to sleep that night, but I’m notorious for staying up all night fretting. I’m sure I’ll do fine, but there’s always the chance that they feel I’m not ready…Lord knows my world has been shaken up this year and it has taken all my energy the past few weeks to get back in the saddle and really hunker down. I need everyone to keep their fingers crossed for me! I really want to knock this out of the ballpark! I want this lady to leave my home with a smile on her face and the assurance that really good stuff is coming out of my unassuming home and contributing to the lives of little ones in positive ways each day.

I have heard that compared to the FDCRS–Family Day Care Rating Scale–the accreditation process is a breeze. I voluntarily went through that process a couple years back and it was grueling to say the least. The criteria that you are rated on is extensive and overwhelming at times, and when I look back from where I started to where I am now, I am glad I went through it, it totally transformed my environment and that has helped out in a bazillion different ways. The national average for a rating is a 3 on a scale from 1-7 with 7 being the highest rating you can achieve. I only know of one other gal that went through it here and she received a 5.something. I remember thinking that she really nailed it and never thought I could top that. Then, I set my eyes on the criteria and systematically and methodically started fixing every flipping thing you could imagine–and trust me-most people don’t have a clue what that entailed. When that observer came, I was ready. I was more than ready and I couldn’t have orchestrated the day any better if I had tried. The kids were angels and boy did I reward them for their good behavior!! Lots of ice cream!! I will never forget the day when I got my rating in the mail. A 6.3!!! It was absolutely one of the best days of my life.

Then I jumped onto the Quality Rating System and decided I wasn’t going to just jump in at a level one star, I was going for the top dog, a five star rating. I could use my FDCRS score, my newly met CDA (child development associate), my ChildNet re-certification, and my partnership with the Department of Health among a host of other things to earn the points needed for that 5 star rating. I swear, that parents don’t really have a clue what some of us providers will undergo to ensure safe and high quality homes and qualifications. An average old “baby-sitter” I am not and yet, when families drop out of care to go to a provider that’s just “good enough” it makes me just shake my head and wonder why I put myself through this. Mainly, because it is my passion and because I am committed to providing quality early learning experiences to kids in the Quad Cities.

Getting ready this time, though, has been different. I am tired earlier in the evenings and can’t stay up all night like I used to working on this or that. I get so tired it feels like I’m drunk and I hate that feeling. So, I will get done what I can in the next two days. I will try not to over-detail myself. That’s sooo hard for me, though–each time, I think–yeah–I think I’m done, I look up and re-analyze how I’ve been doing something and make another list of how I could do it better. I’m going to let it go as of Sunday night. I will. I think. I am going to try really hard to put the manual down and walk away and trust that I know what I’m doing and that it will come across and look effortless. I just hope the observer is in a good mood that day and hasn’t just gotten into a fight with a teenage child or a husband who has just asked for a divorce or gotten or anything else that might put her in a really icky and hyper critical state of mind. I don’t want anyone taking anything out on me that day. I hope I don’t get some man-eating shark that comes swimming into my sea and tears me limb from limb.

It all boils down to that insecurity that someone isn’t going to like me or will pick me apart. It’s that need to feel accepted–a basic human need we all share. There have been great portions of my life where I didn’t care what anyone thought of me, and it’s so weird–I used to feel so uber-confident about everything in my life. This year has really knocked me down a few notches, though. As much as I shouldn’t worry about what others think–I do. I think it’s because I haven’t been able to come to terms with how I feel about myself right now and that really projects outward. Also, I have really had outward signs of people I thought were friends rejecting me this year, my oldest daughter rejecting me, my own body rejecting me, and I’ve even found myself rejecting my own image for the majority of this year. In the grand scheme of things–what’s a year?–a tiny blip on the face of time. But to me, it has been excruciatingly long. At some point, all that rejection over an extended period of time starts to affect your confidence. It starts to waver like a spinning top that becomes wobbly right before it topples to the ground. Rejection is a part of life, I know–I preach it to my kids. It’s how you handle it that is the true test of courage.

I’ve been on the fence with that one. When it came to those so-called friends–I moved on–had to–it broke my heart to much to dwell. When it came to my daughter, I moved on at times–but kept getting sucked back into the vortex. When it came to my body’s rejection and my own self-image issues–I have wobbled uncontrollably–just like that spinning top. When it came to my spiritual well-being, I have found solace in my bible and my new church home-even though I am not good about regular attendance. Have I passed the test? Depends on what areas we’re talking about. I’m sure if I were to see the report card, I wouldn’t be happy with the grades in most areas. As with any struggling student should do–I have assembled a few tutors–a few individuals that are helping me put things into perspective a little better. Up until now, I haven’t really reached out for support–a little here and there, but now I am starting to see that in order to get through this–I just can’t do it on my own. Nor do I want to, but I just hate burdening anyone with my troubles or imposing on them for their time. So, I have retreated into my shell on many occasions this year just as the wise sea turtles do as they make their epic journeys through the oceans of their lives. They retreat for respite, for survival, for a need to become invisible at times so that when they do emerge they are renewed in faith and energy to stay the course.

Maybe I was supposed to lose my confidence to really find the source of my true strength. Maybe I was supposed to be humbled so that I could remember all the reasons why I do what I do and to try and let go of those insecurities and not let them get to me as much. I know all of this. My brain really does. It’s just my heart–its been really shredded up this year and its hard to be that confident right now. I could fake it–like I did back in high school…I could… I’ll really have to pull it out for this one. I’ll really have to squelch those feelings down and let “Tina” shine through. It’s really the only thing I know how to do well at the moment. So, that’s the plan–sort of–along with a lot of prayers.

So, I’m going to be busy for the next few days, but boy do I have news for all of you! What a whirlwind week of doctors and medical tests with more on the way, but out of it all, I made a decision. A big one. And I wish you could have seen the genuine confidence dripping from my grinning lips! I poked my head out of my shell this week and I smiled at the possibilities that are in store…I’ll be back to update as soon as my observation is over because my brain is swimming in a sea of details regarding this decision as well and I will need to purge SOON!!! Until then, check my tweets for quick snippits.

Ciao for now–CJ

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10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Terri
    Oct 02, 2009 @ 22:36:23

    Wow-you just keep finding more room on your plate! Good luck-I bet it will go awesomely!! (word?) Can’t wait to learn your news…
    Love ya.

    Reply

    • Christina Heald
      Oct 08, 2009 @ 15:54:27

      I miss talking to you Terri! It’s not that I have any more room on my plate–its just shear determination to acheive something I’ve worked on for 2 years and look back on this messed up year and know that I accomplished a major goal of mine. I hope all is well with you and stop back soon–I have quite a bit of updating!

      Reply

  2. kelsomom
    Oct 03, 2009 @ 11:38:25

    Just a note to let you know I’m hanging around in the background (my comfort zone :D) with fingers crossed…toes crossed…eyes crossed…

    Reply

    • Christina Heald
      Oct 08, 2009 @ 16:07:04

      I’m glad you are there offering up silent prayers–in fact, I’d love to see a picture of you with all that crossing going on! 🙂

      Reply

  3. Kim
    Oct 03, 2009 @ 17:26:17

    You are incredible! How do you do it all? Wishing you the best of luck, you will do GREAT! Stay strong and Keep Fighting!
    Hugs, Kim

    PS Will you send me a blank email, I have lost your email addy and would like to ask you something. 🙂

    Reply

    • Christina Heald
      Oct 08, 2009 @ 16:03:26

      Kim–my email is on my facebook badge in the sidebar. That email goes directly to my phone so I will get your message faster than the home email which gets super clogged with junk mail. Thanks for all the encouragement! I totally appreciate it! I am just about to update the blog, so stay tuned!

      Reply

  4. Tracy
    Oct 06, 2009 @ 08:43:34

    I am crossing my fingers that Griffin cooperates for you today.

    Reply

    • Christina Heald
      Oct 08, 2009 @ 16:05:54

      He did and I love that guy so much–he was so funny and the observer got a big kick out of him! She especially loved how he is in love with his brown baby “Kevin” and that he is obsessed with the light switches and therefore his new job on the chore chart is Lights Monitor. Very fitting.

      Reply

  5. Polprav
    Oct 22, 2009 @ 13:29:44

    Hello from Russia!
    Can I quote a post in your blog with the link to you?

    Reply

  6. Christina Heald
    Nov 05, 2009 @ 16:51:13

    Hello from Iowa. I believe you have inquired twice now and to be honest–I thought you were spam and deleted it the first time without looking at your blog more closely. This time, I read down past all the ads (that’s what threw me for a loop) and saw that you are an actual person living with cancer in Russia. Am I correct? Every once in a while I see in my sitemeter someone popping in from Russia–must be you!

    I am happy to let you quote something from my blog as long as you give me credit and in doing so if you could give a link back to my blog for others, I would greatly appreciate it. If you list me in any type of blogroll you may have–I’d be happy to do the same and I have taken a look at your Twitter and would be interested in following. Perhaps you’d like to do the same? I’m looking forward to reading more of your blog and am interested in what it is you’d like to quote from mine?

    I hope to talk to you again. Christina

    Reply

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Started Tracking on 12-1-09

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