I’ve been struggling a lot a work lately, undoubtedly because I’m just tired. The semester is finishing up, the past cheer season is coming to a close, and the preschool year is almost over. I find it harder and harder to wake up in the morning and be excited about work.

But then I get to Good News, the preschool I work at, by 8:30 AM. As I spend 30 minutes preparing activities and getting ready to teach, I start to get excited. As we pray for the patience and strength to get through a day of working with 2-5 year old kids, we can hear them laughing outside the door and trying so hard to open it even though they know it’s still locked. And I wonder why I can barely get out of bed to come to work, but here they are with more energy than I can imagine.

Then I start to realize that this is the best part of their day. They love coming to school. They love getting to spend all day with their friends. They love getting to see the teachers and doing all of the fun things we’ve planned for them, whether it’s a really cool science project or a song about the days of Creation.

Their faces light up when we ask them a question that they remember the answer to. Their eyes shine with pride when we tell them they did an awesome job on their art project, or when they finally master writing a letter that they’ve been struggling with. Suddenly I reminded of why I do what I do.

I love these children like my own (even though I don’t have any of my own). Seeing their artwork displayed in the hall for everyone to see makes me so proud. Watching them write their name by themselves, something they didn’t know how to do last September, is enough to bring tears of joy to my eyes. I have the ability to make such a lasting impact on them and I don’t even know it. So you can bet that this school year is going to end with a bang. And next year, the incoming kids can’t even begin to imagine the exciting things I’ve got in store for them.

The Story Of Us

My senior year of high school, I applied and was hired for a job at HEB, a Texas-wide gem of a grocery store, as a cashier. On my first day behind a register, I was assigned to a mentor to be trained on the specific way to run a register at my particular store. The manager I was assigned to was Paden.

I went home that first day not knowing that seven months later, I would be dating him.

I don’t think there was a defining moment when I just looked at him and knew I liked him. Our relationship developed over time and various midnight IHOP dates. Nothing sounds better than pancakes at 1 o’clock in the morning. We’d close at HEB together and then head over to IHOP. Soon it became a ritual. We found ourselves sitting in a corner booth, the whole restaurant to ourselves, talking for hours and hours about anything we could think of.

On the nights that Paden would close and I wouldn’t, he would drive down the street to my house and we’d lay out on the driveway looking at the stars. Those nights are some of my favorite memories and I’ll never forget the way I felt after our first kiss. It still takes my breath away just thinking about it.

We kept our relationship a secret at work. We figured the less people knew, the better off we would be. And we were right, because as soon as one person found out, all hell broke loose. Paden was basically forced to step down from his position as manager and people gave us a hard time all the time. It made work unbearable at times and the day I left that place was so relieving for the both of us.

Our relationship while I was away at Tech was rough, as almost all long distance relationships are. We were trying to maintain a brand new relationship with six hours between us. There were a lot of frustrating nights and we were both fairly poor communicators. But somehow we survived.

When I moved back home, things got better for the most part. Since I wasn’t working at HEB anymore, I didn’t have to restrain from posting pictures of us. Eventually people got over it. We no longer struggled with not being able to see each other because we were back to being in the same city. Some of the communication struggle was still there though.

One of the most frustrating things that got to me in the early stages of our relationship was Paden’s unwillingness to open up to me about serious topics, like what he planned to do with his future. Any time I brought it up, he would shut down. For a girl who’s essentially got her entire future planned out, it was incredibly frustrating to be with someone who didn’t have a clue. So in October of last year, I decided we needed to take a break.

Our break lasted about a month and a half and even though we don’t like to admit it, it was good for both of us. During that time, I made new friends that I now consider best friends and family and started attending church regularly, something I never once did before. Paden experienced some sort of epitome, for lack of a better word, and realized that what he was doing before was pushing me away. I think that if we hadn’t gone through that time period, our relationship wouldn’t be as strong as it is now.

Paden and I are so beyond happy together now. We talk about the future a lot. We talk about not knowing how to get there, but knowing what we want our future to hold. We are more open with each other than ever before and it has made us so much stronger. At the end of May, we’ll be going on our first vacation together. We talk about standing before one another and saying vows and committing to a life together. We talk about what our kids’ names will be, what kind of parents we’ll be, and the type of dog we’re gonna get before we even think about having children. We laugh everyday. We hold each other up and put each other’s happiness before our own.

I can’t imagine what my life would be like without him. He’s the best one-man support system a girl could ask for. He is sweet and thoughtful. Everyday with him is better than the last. He’s the first thing I think about in the morning and the last one I talk to before falling asleep every night. I wake up everyday thankful to have the opportunity to love and be loved by him.

First Things First

Blogging is something I’ve always been curious about. While I don’t have a handful of blogs that I follow closely or anything like that, I’ve always thought that it would be something I would enjoy. So here I am, giving it a shot.

I don’t have a glamorous life. I don’t travel the world. I don’t try new recipes every day. I get up every morning, work two jobs, go to school, volunteer at church, and try my best not to get lost in my chaotic schedule. With that being said, let me tell you about me.

My name is Kathleen. I used to hate when people would shorten it to Kate or Kathy, but when I was in high school my best friends started calling me Kat. When I started working with children, Kat stuck because it was a lot easier for a 3 year old to pronounce. I’m twenty years old. I’m a business administration major at the local community college. I have 3 younger siblings, with the youngest being 10 years younger than me. I live at home with my brothers and sister, my parents, and my dad’s parents. I work in a preschool in the morning and coach cheerleading in the evening, all while taking classes during the week as well.

See? I told you it wasn’t glamorous.

I’ve always had to work for what I want. Nothing has ever been handed to me and I never expected for it to be. My parents taught me that if I wanted something bad enough, I had to earn it. I’ve worked since the day I turned 16 and I wouldn’t trade my work experience for anything. It has taught me so much over the years.

I have a wonderful boyfriend of ¬†year and a half. I’ll save our story for another post. All you need to know right now is that it’s impressive that he’s dealt with me and vice versa for so long already. His name is Paden and he’s my favorite person in the entire world.

As far as school goes, I graduated from high school in 2014 and immediately went off to Texas Tech in the fall of the same year. Tech was wonderful but I was very homesick (once again, that’s another story). So over Christmas break, I moved back home to Austin.

I could go on and on, but I’ll keep this post short. Thank you for taking time to read this. I hope you’ll stick around.