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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

My Frog Voice and Two Kinds of Hops

Y'all, I have totally lost my voice. No, not my writing voice... if you have read here for any amount of time (ANY amount of time AT ALL), you know I can ramble on endlessly about absolutely nothing. Goodness, I can write a lengthy - though thankfully rather vague - post about cleaning out the refrigerator. Or regale you with my rather riveting adventure shopping for socks.

Yes, I am that inane.

Be glad you don't know me in real life.

(And no, those are not particularly funny posts or anything. I just mentioned them because I doubt I have ever sunk lower than those topics. But feel free to bring up another post I've written if something comes to mind.)

No, y'all, I lost my voice... my real voice... because I spent over two hours yesterday in a crowded elementary school gymnasium, with fluorescent lights flickering at me and the smell of 10-year-old boy sweat lingering in the air. And the children, they were a-bouncing. Not bouncing off the walls (although - if I'm honest - they did that, too), but literally bouncing in place. As in jumping. Up and down and up again.

All 632 of them.

My sensory-self? Went a tad crazy.

And yes, it was worse than the talent show. Much, much worse.

It felt worse because I was one of just five people in charge. And it just so happens that I happened to have the loudest adult voice there. (Shocking! I know!) Which means, of course, that I was in charge of capturing the attention of 632 pint-sized hellions, thankfully in shifts of about 150 children at a time. And yes, I yelled a lot. Always nice things. Things like, "please quiet down - we need your attention" and "y'all need to look over here for a minute" and the infamous 10-9-8 countdown.

But all of that yelling resulted in the rather sad fact that I now sound like a dying frog.

I know y'all are asking yourselves at this moment, 'what the heck was Tonggu Momma a-thinking? She, of all people, cannot handle that kind of situation. Why, she can barely handle the mall on a quiet Tuesday morning.' And all I can say in response to that oh-so-logical comment is... it was for a good cause, one very near and dear to my heart.

Yesterday the Tongginator's school hosted its annual hop-a-thon to raise money for a national foundation. This national foundation helps fund research that will hopefully, eventually lead to a breakthrough in treatments for a specific childhood disease. The school began hosting this event five years ago when my neighbor's son entered kindergarten. He is stricken with this disease. And he is awesome.

His sister also happens to be in the Tongginator's kindergarten class.

This oh-so-cool fourth grade boy from our bus stop is not the first person I've known to have this disease. My first year of college, I lived with eight other young ladies in the freshman dorm. One of them - Jenny - was as sweet as could be. We all knew she had a few health problems, but she brushed them aside and fully embraced the college experience. We all became fast friends. And Jenny, with her sunny personality and encouraging attitude, quickly became a favorite among us all.

And then... one February day... Jenny got really sick. Sick enough to go home sick.

And she never came back.

We learned after her death that Jenny knew she was going to die even before she ever set foot in our dorm. After she graduated from high school, she had a choice to make. She could either stay home and probably live, at most, another five years. Or she could go to college, receive fewer medical treatments, and hopefully last over a year. She didn't want the disease to steal even more of her future, so she opted to grab at life with both hands, for however long she had.

She lasted seven months.

And no, I've never forgotten Jenny.


Which is why I ended up yelling like a cheerleader in the Tongginator's school gym yesterday. And why I recorded how many hops over 100 children hopped. And why I spent way too many minutes getting kindergartners and first graders to line up in two lines, facing one another, paired up with partners. (It was like herding cats, y'all! CATS!)

Y'all may be asking at this point, "Come on... how bad could it have been?"

Well... let's put it this way... the momma who organizes it all? Whose son lives with the same disease that robbed Jenny of life? Took all of the parent volunteers out for drinks within an hour of the event. And I was the only one who didn't drink any alcohol. The group? Averaged two drinks a person. And I still don't know if it was enough. The beer and wine flowed freely. And I? I was forced to console myself with Diet Coke.

Diet Coke with a side of frog voice.

But it was worth it... for this momma's ten-year-old son.

And for Jenny.


Cristina said...

Great post - I hop(e) you raised HEAPS of money!! xxxx

Aus said...

TM - you are a great many things....but you are never inane!

And there was nothing inane about this post or the preceeding post "it's not lymphoma".

What you ARE is one of the more sensible foks I've come to know with a little gift - finding some joy in the little things....

And anyone who is willing to herd kids for something like this (in particular in a sensory rich environment like a gym!!!) - well let me simply say....."I am not worthy"....;)

Or as my dad would have said..."That'll do TM, that'll do"

hugs - nice work kid -

aus and co.

bbmomof2boys said...

Our friends son just passed away a few weeks ago. He was 29. When he was born his dad was told he might live to be 20. He received a double lung transplant about a year and a half ago and then lived symptom free and boy did he live!! He too grabbed at life with both hands! Great kid, missed his 30th birtday by 2 days.

Thanks for hopping T! And thanks for counting TM!!


Dawn said...

Voiceless for a good cause is always a good thing! Hope you raised lots and lots of money.


Sherri said...

You're not giving yourself enough credit. You're a teacher.....just go to your closet and look at all the apple-adorned clothes. Your fridge probably has a collection of "best teacher" magnets, too. I'm sure you handled the group very well.

Colin and Jill Canada said...

you REALLY ARE amazing.


The Source said...

Very proud of you AND the 600 or so kittens you herded into raising money for a good cause. That ten year old boy sweat can be particularly repulsive!

Please say a prayer for Darling Daughter's friend Davey who's in the hospital undergoing chemo this week.

Buckeroomama said...

When I lose my voice, I always look forward to that recovery part when my voice sounds Lauren Bacall-ish. ;p So, there --something to look forward to. :)

Kristy said...

Great post!!! And I feel your pain, Im a talker too so if I lost my voice I would go nuts!!! I hope you start talking soon!!

Love and blessings, Kristy

LucisMomma said...

Aw. What a good woman and friend you are.

Aunt LoLo said...

Now THAT is a worthy cause.

Hope your voice comes back soon! Think about this, though - you can't answer any questions from any kindergarteners that might be living with you! heh

Annie said...

You are the greatest!!!! Oh and my kids just love it when I loose my voice - the little stinkers!!!!

Sharie said...

OK, you totally brought tears to my eyes. My best-friend's son has a VERY rare condition that is even more unusual for a child with 2 Catholic parents to get, Canavan'. He was 4 last week - and it's a miracle! I know that he'll never go to school and actively participate - but I know that his parents will send him, because as risky as it is for him to get sick, what kind of life is it to sit home having no experiences? Your friend Jenny was WISE!

Chris said...

Sounds like you did something that you are passionate about...

That 'frog voice' I think, is because of love....

BTW, I wish I did know you in real life...
I bet you are a lot of fun to hang out with...
Either your posts just simply crack me up...or keep me thinking for days!!

anymommy said...

Best reason to lose your voice that I've heard of yet. I hope you raised lots of money and tons of awareness.

Anonymous said...

Oh I feel your pain. I couldn't handle that many screaming hopping children on just diet coke.
What disease were you raising money and awareness of? Did you say and I missed it?
Also, I knew a boy in college who was like your friend Jenny. We still remember him. So sweet, loving, patient and kind!