What happens when you pair a health-conscious, vegan mother of two who has her own diet business with a husband and children who sometimes have other ideas? This blog is a chronicle of my journey to eat and live in a life-affirming way!

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Ups and Downs of Life

I don't usually like to write solely about what is going on in our family, and try to keep it mostly to posts about healthy recipes, great products, new restaurants that we have tried, fasts that I am going on (or putting my clients on,) what the Pennington family is serving at the dinner table.

But, too many important things have been going on in our lives that I just cannot ignore the elephant in the room. How can I write about food when really important things are going on in our lives?

One of the biggest changes was that my daughter changed schools!  Please ignore the goofy picture of both of us but it was pooooouring down rain on her first day of school. The last few weeks I have been giving myself 24/7 to make sure that she is settled, happy and having lots and lots of playdates. She is thriving in her new environment and I have never seen her happier...

Just when I thought I had it all down- happy 3rd grade daughter in a new school that she loved, happy 6th grade son who had gotten his favorite teacher- something tragic happenned. Last week my son's beloved teacher, Mr. Feldman died. One day he is in the classroom alive and well and the next day my son comes to school to find out that he had passed away.

My son's weekend writing assignment was "I Don't Usually Complain," and here was his essay:

"I don’t usually complain but it has been a really hard week for me. My teacher, Mr. Feldman, passed away.

Mr. Feldman was the best teacher I have ever had. He was hilarious and made us laugh the whole day! But, we were learning at the same time. He also made me believe in myself and he wanted each one of us to become the best that we could be.

He loved history and would tell the class about George Washington in full detail. He told us about how Washington left all the gunpowder on the ground and, when it rained, they had to retreat. He told us about how Washington tripped over a rock and shot the French ambassador. And, he told us all about Christopher Columbus and how he wasn’t quite the figure that we thought he might be. He made history come alive for us.

Mr. Feldman would also jokingly make fun of us, but in a weird way it drew us closer to him. He made fun of A. for reading a newspaper in class, for talking to himself, or looking back at the schedule constantly. He made fun of N. and called him an egomaniac. He made fun of me for calling out and said that he would break me of that habit. I told him, “good luck.” He also teased me about how I used to get kicked out of class a lot when I was in 1st grade. He would joke that Mrs. Mackie set up a hammock for me out in the hallway.

It might sound mean to others but he teased us because he cared and we all thought that the teasing was funny. The teasing, though, had hints of truth to it, and inspired us to be our best. Mr. Feldman always told us that he gave 100% of his effort to make learning fun and expected us to give that 100% back.

I am not one usually to complain but I am sad because my teacher died this week."

Mr Feldman was a very special teacher and person and we are so very sad for his family and the boys. Mr. Feldman, we will miss you. My son is getting tons of support and love at his school (and, of course, at home) and I will begin regularly writing the blog starting tomorrow.
I don't usually complain but...


  1. oh what a hard loss for your son! i just came across your blog through a recipe search and was really touched by his sweet essay - such a lovely tribute to mr. feldman. thank you for sharing!

  2. Katherine,

    I want to thank you--and your son--for such a moving post. I lost a beloved high school teacher to cancer when I was 16. It changed me forever. Not a day goes by when I don't think of him, and hope he'd be proud of me. I'm sure your boy's teacher would be (and will be) proud.