Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Simple Joys

Life is full of simple joys.  In this time of uncertainty, change, and anxiety it is important to seize the moments that bring us joy.  All to often, we are caught in the muck and mire of the day... never pausing to smell the roses or marvel at the sound of the birds.  I say that we use this tumultuous time in our lives, to reflect,  to grow, to seize the moments of pure bliss.... whatever they may be.

For me, the smell of morning coffee and the pleasure of drinking it hot and not in a rush is a simple joy.  Many teachers can attest to the fact that our coffee is either consumed lukewarm or in such a rush that you don't get to enjoy it.  I am going to enjoy my coffee hot, while not rushed and enjoying the quiet start to another day. 

Hearing the sounds of laugher from people young and old playing outside is a simple joy.  My boys have played countless games of corn hole and the sounds that they make are hilarious and smile-worthy.  The sounds of the two young boys next door playing whatever made-up game they play daily takes me back to when my own boys played outside with their imagination.  Pure, simple joy.

Watching multiple movies in a series, or multiple seasons of a show with my family brings me simple joy.  How lucky am I that my almost 20 year old wants to watch tv with me?  He isn't rushing off to be with his friends or girlfriend, he is content to sit with me.  We rewatched all the Avengers movies and are now on to Survivor.  Silly, shows I know, but who cares he is watching them with me and I get a chance I wouldn't have had without this pandemic.

Do I miss things? Sure.  Do I wish things would go back to normal? Sure.... for the most part.  But right now, I am choosing to see the simple joys in my life.  I choose Joy!

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Today is the Day

Today is the day! My 16-year-old is finally getting his braces off.  This kid has had them on since the sixth grade.... he is just wrapping up his sophomore year of high school.  At times, I feel that this is the longest time anyone has ever had braces on before!! He didn't have major problems with his teeth, they were a little crooked and he had a mild overbite but nothing that constituted years of wear.  But in typical Drew fashion, things happen that could only happen to him.

See Drew is my if it's gonna happen, it's gonna happen to him kid.  You know the kid that if the flu is in a 3000-mile radius he gets it... twice.  Or if someone is bleeding or broken, it's him.  Most sentences that concern injury or illness start with, "Mom.... Drew is...". I mean he is the only child I have ever heard of who broke their permanent front tooth by being startled in class and banging their tooth on the desk.  True story... the morning of ITBS of his fifth-grade year, he startled for some unknown reason, banged his face on his desk, and knocked out half his tooth.  Seriously, right!!

His brace experience has been no different.  One such instance, the dental hygienist, when cleaning his teeth, knocked off a bracket.  Weird but ok..... until the orthodontist couldn't get us in right away.  Then we left for our planned vacation and by the time we got back, went to the orthodontist the damage was done.  His timeline was extended and we had new wires and new issues.  Another time, he was playing with the dog.  They play pretty rough as boys and their dogs do.  Well, one thing led to another and the dog and Drew went for the toy at the same time.  The dog raised his head at the same time that Drew lowered his.... you guessed it, his front tooth that was bonded on fell off below the bracket.  Of course! That involved a trip to the ortho to remove the bracket, then the dentist to glue the tooth back on, back to the ortho to have the bracket back on.  The kicker was they couldn't put the wire on for a week or so to let the tooth bond.  So, new timeline, new problems, new issues! Finally, Covid... the gift that keeps on giving.  Drew was scheduled for his final visits two separate times over the quarantine. Of course, they were canceled and his timeline was extended.

But today is the day!! He is getting them off and I can't wait.  I think I may be more excited than he is... that could be because the appointment was scheduled for 8 AM and teenagers don't wake up this early.  Personally, getting up early to get them off is worth it!

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Dipping My Toes.....

I have been venturing out into the real world in small situations.   Dipping my toe in the pool of life, so to speak.  It has been exciting and anxiety-ridden all at once. It is strange to me how things that were once so normal are now met with equal parts of nervousness and joy.  I find myself holding myself in check, holding back, assessing all the angles and situations.... I have become like one of those TV spies..... checking how many people are there? can I safely go this way? should I approach this person? is this person showing signs of illness? and the list goes on and on.

I spend time wondering if this is my new normal.  Will I remember this as the time that I became anxious, that I stopped giving hugs when I greet people?  Is this when I changed?  Is this when I stopped running into the store for every little thing?  Is this when people stopped giving handshakes or gathering in large groups?  Is this when school became different?  I would really like a crystal ball to answer these questions!

Maybe what this dipping of my toe kind of caution is a way for me, and everyone else, to adjust to facing uncertainty head-on.  Maybe small doses of normal are how I build back up to normal life. Maybe I learn to let go of what may be and embrace what is happening now.  Maybe I put faith in my fellow community members that they too are trying to ease back into society.  Maybe in time, testing the waters will seem like the right thing to do.

So, I will keep venturing out.  I will wear my mask and wash my hands every chance I get.  I will learn new ways of greeting people. I will learn to have happy eyes and a  joyful voice until I can stop wearing a mask.  I will embrace this shallow end until I am ready (and the world is ready) for the deep end.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

The Pack Up

Late last week, my colleagues and I were given the green light to go into school and pack up the kids' stuff.  When we left that last Friday in March, we had no idea that we would be out for so long.  The kids packed up what they were told they would need for a two-week time frame and heading out the door.  Sadly, that two-week time frame ended up being the remainder of the year.  And kids being kids, they want their stuff.  Which is funny in itself since their stuff is textbooks and folders.... like they weren't all that excited about that stuff on March 12th!!

Our admin is very conscientious about following the CDC guidelines and adhering to the rules of social distancing.  We were emailed a sign-up genius, with specific instructions on the number of people allowed in each room and to ensure that we were not within 40 feet of another classroom.  Being the rule follower that I am, I changed my sign up many times to ensure that the new person that signed up wasn't too close.  My day was Monday.

It was such an eerie feeling to be in the school with only 7 other teachers.  Now granted, a few of those teachers are some of my favorite people on the planet and good friends of mine.  It was so hard not to give them a hug hello, to maintain my distance, and to not run down to their classrooms to chat.  I settled for very far apart brief hallway chats, a few texts back and forth and a quick see you later when we were done.  It was just not the same.

The whole thing is not the same.  The kids should be there packing up their belongings.  The noise should be loud and silly and mixed with the occasional, "Oh, that's where that is" or "Mrs. Garrison, I found that Scholastic I was supposed to turn in!"  Instead, it was quiet and calm and sad. (Although, I did find lots of work that should have been turned in a LONG time ago!) It was just another way to show me how much I miss the kids, no one got into teaching to be alone in the classroom.

I hope that when we come out on the other side of this madness, we remember all of these feelings.  I hope that we do not get so caught up in all that we have to do, how far behind they will inevitably be or become irritated by them saying our names a million times in a school day.  I hope that we remember that empty classroom pack up, the loneliness we felt, and the desire to see our kids and give them one more hug or high five.  I know I will remember!

This is it...

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