So Far…

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Like many of you, no doubt, summer feels like a hot bed of opportunity.  Sometimes fall feels that way too.  School starting.  New clothes.  New backpacks.  New school supplies.  Or Winter?  It’s the new year.  Resolutions are made.  We can begin a new chapter.  Spring?  Everything comes back to life after hibernating.  Flowers pop through the ground.  In the classroom, it is non-failingly the time when everyone seems to kick into gear and really grow in their learning, cemented as a community.

But summer?  I have visions of relaxing in a hammock.  Roasting marshmallows.  Taking hikes.  Reading books.  Taking family trips and adventures.  Rejuvenating.

And while many of those things HAVE happened, it has also felt quite different this year.  Almost like holding onto a strong, metal support for dear life as a hurricane raged around me.  There have been many teacher trainings and days devoted to my new job come September.  Camps and preschool for the boys.  Two trips for us as a family.  Lots of visiting friends and family.  It has all been {{{good}}}, but that island living, relaxed and mellow vibe I envision each June?!  Not so much.

There have been some hard “Come to Jesus” moments lately as expectation has met reality head on—-with reality taking the cake.  Gulping down what I envisioned my life to look like, and realizing that things are actually different.  Mostly in the area of parenting.  For years, as a teacher, I have lived in judgement of parents, students and circumstances only to find myself becoming THAT parent, in charge of THAT kid. Humility can be a hard pill to swallow.

When I think of the summer of 2010, I remember last weeks in our job at summer camp.  I was waddling around 8 months pregnant, waiting on the baby to come and a move to be made a few months later.  In 2013 we were packing, saying goodbyes, road-tripping north and starting a new adventure.  In 2003 I was newly engaged, enjoying 3 weeks in Europe, planning a wedding, on cloud 9.  Summers all have different memories attached.  And this one?  Well, some days I want to reframe it.  Rename it.  Recreate it into something a little more perfect.  In reality, it has been a tougher nut to crack.  I wish I could say I was entering a new school year, relaxed as if from a spa treatment, ready for whatever lies ahead.  Nope.  It’s more of a “hanging on for dear life”, diving into the next adventure.

One thing that remains, however, is my choice on how to look at the days and weeks to come.  I will be in a new school district come September.  Even though the needs of our students—on paper—are daunting, I see so much commitment, joy and determination in the companions that share classrooms around me.  There is a strong belief that every child can be educated, but more than that….inspired.  I can, and DO, look at my soon-to-be students’ reading scores, and get nervous, filled with fear that I won’t be able to help them grow and learn.  But, truly?  It comes down to what, in my core, I believe to be possible.  A paradigm shift to be had in my heart.  Some days this summer, my heart has felt rather hopeless or on an unpredictable, out-of-control roller coaster.  I am guessing that it comes down to re-framing things, not with Pollyanna, unrealistic memory-recreating.  Rather, with an open heart, accepting the days behind and ahead, believing that growth and inspiration waits to be found.  And when I look back at the pictures and images below, I see the inspiration that can be found, the growth & adventures  that were had and find myself grateful for the summer of 2014.

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We watched the Ted Talk video found below at my teacher training today and it really says it all…the Myth of Average by Todd Rose.  Challenging.  Inspiring.  Paradigm Shifter for sure.  Worth each of the 18 minutes to watch.  And be sure to read Shauna Niequist’s latest post about her own paradigm shift (click here).  As she says:

I want to shift the math. I want to be deeply, wholly responsible for myself, my little family, my very close tribe. And I want to stop being, in the words of my favorite writer Anne Lamott, “the flight attendant for the planet.” I want to be entirely less responsible for a whole bunch of people and expectations and roles, and way more deeply, richly connected to a tiny circle of people who really do need me, in appropriate ways.

4 thoughts on “So Far…

  1. Hey there!

    LOVE the pics! WOW! 🙂

    Did YOU make up those songs about writing?!? If so, get your name on those, girl and sell them! 🙂 Awesome!

    Love the Seattle pics and loved the Baker Beach with Marlene… sad I missed out on that!

    I want to watch that TED talk… maybe this evening.

    Love and miss you!

    Val

  2. Your writing just keeps getting better and better – you are such an inspiration! Thank you for sharing a slice of yourself here.

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