Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Breaking Point

I try to teach my students the benefit of reading and writing. How reading can make them feel less alone, connect them to people they have never met. That books can make them better people, more empathetic, and more self-aware. 

I tell them the same thing about writing. That I want them to find the joy, the desire to write. That writing is something to turn to when you are trying to make sense of the world, of other people, of yourself. We turn to our notebooks to scribble our feelings, the good stories, the heart ache. My fifth graders have lived a lifetime in their decade on this earth. Some have experienced far more than I would ever wish on them. They need to find the catharsis of putting a pen to the page.

All of this came back to me this afternoon. It was a great day at school. I had the joy of writing and sharing my writing with my class. We had a ton of time to read and shared the stories we were devouring. A consultant taught a lesson for our staff in my room and I had the chance to see my students with fresh eyes. My heart was full to bursting with pride in them. I ended the school day sitting with a colleague, talking about plans for next year, excitement overflowing.

And then, as it does, life got in the way. Upon driving to pick up light fixtures for our remodel, I found that the store I went to didn't have what I needed - after almost an hour of searching. Driving to another store I finally found what I needed, but dollar signs for the never ending projects filled my brain. I sat in my van, having purchased the lights, and my mind raced. I thought of everything I needed to accomplish in the next month...

Liam's family party this Friday,
A cake to make,
No oven to make it in.
Gifts to buy.

A paper due by Saturday,
Pages and pages to type,
A story to unfold.
A essay test to craft.

End of the year tests,
Visitors to come observe,
Students to teach.
A year to end,
And a classroom to pack and move.

Thirty days into this remodel and I felt my anxiety on high. There is simply too much to do and my life is too unorganized for my brain to work. With track meets keeping us out late each week, homework for my college classes, and more and more and more on my plate, I lost it. I sat in the parking lot, tears spilling over, and wondered how on earth I could get it all done. 

And the reality is, I can't. I need to cut back, I always do, but it's hard to say no. Too many part time jobs, too many things I want to be part of. So, it's one day at a time.

I came home to more chaos, more frustration upon learning that I had purchased the wrong fixture after all of that time, but it will be ok. My mom offered up some help. My husband assures me that the fixture will work anyway. And I worked my way over to the keyboard, knowing that the only thing that would really make it all ok was to write. The lessons that I teach my students find their way back to me all the time. It's time to listen to my own advice. I must write.