"Well this is it.
This is life- the one you get
so go and have a ball.
This is it.
Straight ahead and rest assured
You can't be sure at all.
So while you're here
Enjoy the view
Keep on doing what you do
Hold on tight- we'll muddle through
One day at a time."
-One Day at a Time theme song
This year, I was nervous about the SOLSC. I've been struggling to find the time once a week to blog on Tuesdays- how would I manage blogging every day in the month where it was my daughter's birthday, report cards, and chairing a committee at my children's school for an even the first week of March? I am so proud to say I am here at the finish line. Every post wasn't poetic or amazing, but I made space to write every day and I'm better for it.
I have loved reading so many of your stories. I regret I wasn't able to read more every day because when I did read other posts, they always filled me with emotion. We have such gifted and kind educators in this community. You've inspired me so much. Please keep writing. Please come back on Tuesdays and I'll do the same. Let's keep sharing our stories.
It seems writing, as everything else in life, is best when we take it one day at a time- one post at a time, one page at a time, one challenge at a time. But let us hold onto the belief that being a writer makes a difference- it helps you navigate the choppy waters of life. Being a writer in a community helps you feel like you have a rescue boat of empathetic souls who will help you stay afloat.
Thank you to those who offered supportive comments to me along the way this month. As Robert Frost said, "It has made all the difference."
I recently saw a meme that said something like "Stop watering the weeds....water the flowers."
The weeds in my mind have been receiving so much loving care. All the negatives seem to find that sweet spot of attention and sunlight and the good things I should be thinking about are overshadowed.
In a life, what matters?
As March winds down, it is the perfect time to think of spring and what will bloom in my life. What deserves my loving care? What deserves space in my head and heart?
A shift is needed. Time to water the beautiful flowers in my life and care a lot less about the weeds.
I swore I wouldn't even consider it. But alas, I have succumbed.
We now have a Peep on a Perch.
Much like the Elf on the Shelf, the purpose of the Peep on the Perch is to watch you do kind things to get ready for Easter. The rules about the Peep on the Perch aren't as strict as the elf rules so as soon as our Peep arrived, Megan took to holding him and bringing him everywhere.
Last night, when she should have been getting ready for bed, she was squishing new white model clay into a Peep on the Perch shape. Then attempting to paint the clay to resemble the Peep. The whole time, she was voicing over every action she was doing as if she was the star of a cooking show or a Youtuber.
When I finally got her to put the crafts away and get ready for bed, the Peep followed us upstairs with the rest of her crew of buddies. Megan decided Peep on the Perch should sit in the hole of her sparkly sequined donut pillow. Quite the perch.
March has now been full of Elves on the Shelves, leprechauns, and now the Peep on the Perch. A magical month indeed.
I am sitting in my bed with two pillows propped behind me, reading Party Girl by Rachel Hollis. Part of my new focus on self-care is knowing when to stop working for the day and to give myself at least a little time each day to read something I enjoy. There was still so much work I could have done last night, but I had no time to myself all day until that moment. I've been reading Party Girl for a while now- mostly because I haven't found stretches of time to read, despite the self-care pledge to not work all day long.
I had already got my daughter to sleep. My 8 year old son, Alex, had stayed up a little later but now I heard him coming up the stairs, carrying his army of "buddies"- the stuffed animals that he has rediscovered and carries with him to bed each night. He came into the room and plopped the buddies on the bed.
"Still reading Party Girl?" he asked, his big blue eyes reading the title.
"Yup. I haven't had much time to read," I told him.
He reminded me I had been telling him about the book and he asked me about the main character and her mean boss. I told himi the part I just read, the boss says the main character Landon can't go home for Thanksgiving because she has to be on call for clients.
"Can you read me parts of Party Girl?" he asked.
"I'm not sure if you would like it...." I say, thinking it's probably not the most appropriate read aloud choice .
"Maybe," I say and I give each of his stuffed animals a hug, pausing at the end to give an extra long hug to his favorite, a little cat we call Meow Meow.
Then I give Alex a hug, he scoops his buddies up and heads to his room.
I owe so much to my Grandma.
Today she would have been 93 years old. She had 89 beautiful years.
I can close my eyes and still smell the smells of her house- the hallway closet of coats, the pantry downstairs, the delicious smells of her cooking.
I can close my eyes and hear her laugh. Can still hear her voice that would greet me when I called her on the phone.
I can close my eyes and remember sitting on a rocking chair with her on her porch, watching the cars drive by.
Her love was like a warm hug.
She was always on my side.
What a gift to have a Grandma like her in my life.
I miss her every single day but especially today on her birthday.
I owe so much to my Grandma.
Report card weekend is not the time to give up complaining.
But then I had to go and read this post: What I learned when I stopped complaining for 24 hours
There are some tests I know I will fail.
Fresh mozzarella is a test I will fail. Or any block of mozzarella cheese. I always think I can have just a slice but once it's in my kitchen, it doesn't stand a chance. Or maybe I don't stand a chance. Fresh mozzarella is a test I fail.
Vanilla icing is a test I fail. It brings back memories of a can of leftover icing in the fridge and sneaking spoonfuls when no one is looking. Straight, creamy sugar. My daughter likes to bake and so sometimes vanilla icing is in our house. If I don't chance a taste, I'm okay but once one little bit goes near my mouth, I can't stop. Vanilla icing is a test I fail.
Chocolate candy is a test I fail.
Trying to convince someone not to be mad at me when I've actually done nothing to deserve the anger is a test I fail.
What are the tests that always get you?
I haven't mastered the art of smiling and nodding or saying the right things when they aren't really true. It would help me if I could BS with the best of them, but I'm too earnest. I strive to keep it real. I see no point in acting as if something is going well when it is not.
In a few days, I will be asked to reflect on a professional development experience. I will have to leave sub plans and go to a meeting where I will feel like I'm on the hot spot to share my thoughts on how things are going. After 17 years of teaching, after thousands of my own dollars spent on books to enrich my students learning as well as my own, after classes taken to grow, after being the facilitator for professional experiences...I will be asked to justify my teaching to those who are not and have not been classroom teachers for some time. Those who have not had to teach real children in real time as I do, every day.
I should be fine with this. Right?
I should not feel the tears already starting at the idea of being judged for not meeting the impossible standards set.
It is so easy to tell others how to do something but so very difficult to put it into practice yourself, day after day, with real children who have real problems and need instruction in every area of the curriculum.
Theories sound wonderful until you test them out with real kids. This is when teaching can bring you to your knees. A pace that never slows. A day that is full of lessons you need to plan, assessments to give, assessments to grade, parents to communicate with.....its all part of the job. But what hurts the most is when people who don't do the njitty gritty of this work are hailed as experts and tell the people in the arena, with the blood and sweat on their faces, how to do it better. Sitting on the sidelines, filing their nails while you are getting whomped in the ring.
I wish the curriculum experts would give those props to the teachers who do it all everyday. I wish they would say, "I know you are balancing so much and working so hard. I want to help you and make it easier for you to teach this one area that I have spent so much time understanding and perfecting."
I wish after 17 years of working so hard I wouldn't feel the way I do tonight.
Kathleen Neagle Sokolowski