think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive -
to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love."
Somehow, it’s today.
Somehow, in some type of crazy, unreal, practically unfathomable way, today is here. In the blink of an eye, I’ve found myself far removed from my summer vacation and the little joys it brought. Now I’m knee deep in the throws of a new school year, with fresh responsibilities and high expectations. I’ve traded my flip-flops for leopard printed flats, swapped my elastic-waist yoga pants for tailored skirts, and gave up my wavy hair and pony-tails for a more professional, sleek, flat-ironed blowout. Hello, structured life.
Behind me, Little Peep sits on the back of the couch, gazing out the picture window at a golden sky lit by the shimmers of a setting sun. It’s quite magical, really. I wonder what she sees, and I find myself saddened that color, as we know it, isn’t part of her world. The neighbor’s dogs are barking up something fierce, but Little Peep just watches and listens, her head and ears quickly twitching every now and then.
Her world, although predictable and full of routine, appears so appealing at times. Like this morning, for example. While I stood at the kitchen counter, clad in fuzzy socks and a warm robe, she came to greet me with a little yawn and quiet whimper. Slowly, sleepily, she followed me back upstairs, and then, as if to taunt me with her peaceful life of leisure, nestled herself into a cloud of blankets. Sweet. As jealous as I was, I also found myself happy. She has a warm bed to snuggle in…I love that.
She is lucky. We are lucky.
Somehow, my grandmother, Mamoo, would have been 87 years old today. I found my thoughts continually drifting to her, as I went about my daily tasks. Memories and little snippets crept into my mind as I wrote the date on the board, while choosing my jewelry for the day, and as I listened to the news. I wished her a happy birthday. I actually said it out loud—to see how it would sound. And I wondered if somewhere, somehow she heard me. I hope so. I sure miss her, especially now.
I’m often amazed at the things in life I took/take for granted. Truly, and I honestly mean this, I try to be aware of everything around me. I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t take time out of everyday to say “thank you” for the wonderful life bestowed upon me. Yet somehow, I miss things. Sometimes those things are little. Sometimes those things are big. Sometimes I don’t realize I’ve missed them until they’re gone. I don’t chastise myself for it, because I’m honestly trying. We’re all works in progress, right? Life is a most interesting classroom.
Lately, I dream. I’ve always been a dreamer- just ask my mother. She often tells of how I’d be sitting at home, staring into space, and break into a huge grin. “Penny for your thoughts,” she’d say. I never was big on sharing, so usually my thoughts remained just that- mine. But I sure did dream, and recently it’s become more prevalent. Sometimes I dream of things to come, and other times I dream of things that were. Having such an active imagination certainly exists as both a blessing and a curse. But, as they say, dreams are necessary for life….
Somehow, I turned 30. I like it. It fits. I’m trying to embrace this “milestone” and use it as a steppingstone to better myself. I try to think of all the positives this year will hold. Mostly, I’m excited to finish up my master’s degree. Then, I can resume real life and real learning. I’m excited to write for me, to spend Sunday afternoons with my camera and notebook, to take real classes, to cook quality meals, and to spend time with my peoples. I miss that. My peoples are tops.
I’ve learned that I am continually surprised. My professional life took on a new look this school year. I’ll be honest- I spent the majority of the summer trying to soothe myself. I was “not nervous”. Nope. Not me. I didn’t sit around and make lists of things I would have to do, or dream up projects that I needed to design. I never spent hours at the computer trying to create a curriculum that would align with the state standards and the common core. No. I never did that. (Insert eye roll.) I spent the summer trying to talk myself out of being stressed. I do all of that, because, you see, I refuse to be stressed- seriously. I meditate. I self-talk. I treat myself. I remember the lessons I’ve learned along the way. But, most importantly, I don’t stress. It’s not worth it. Stress does not make anything better. *Note to self—take one’s own advice.
All of my “not stressing” would have been fabulous if I would have been able to follow through. I did stress. I did worry—for one of the first times in a long time. It took its toll on me, though, and I’m quite sure it affected those closest to me, as well. But that’s life, right? We’ve gotta be there to pick each other up, and cheer each other on, and look past the bruises. Thankfully, I’ve got a pretty spiffy support crew. But, you can’t stop time, and like always happens, I watched as the shelves at Wal-Mart slowly filled with notebooks and pencils. I observed grocery stores showcasing lunchboxes and kid-friendly lunch foods. And I secretly cringed when the magazines in my mailbox boasted headlines such as: “Fall Fashion Trends” and “Lunch Box Recipes Your Kids Will Love”. “Fabulous,” I sarcastically muttered under my breath.
Somehow, school started. Somehow, my classroom was ready and organized. A fresh start- I like that. Would you believe I am loving the new change? It’s a ton of work, don’t get me wrong. Sometimes I resent it. Sometimes I just want to leave at 3:30, or even 4:00. There are days when I’d love to come home and jog outside or wonder the neighborhood with my four legged friend. But by the time I get home, it’s usually 6:00ish and I’m exhausted. I have dinner to make and a fun boy to talk to and I just want to grab a blanket and nap on the couch. All that aside, I love the older kids. I love that I have the chance to be in their lives for three years. I love that we all work well together. Today, I overheard something that made me smile. Joe Shmoe was talking to his other tough-guy friend:
Joe Shmoe: “This is the best class of the day. It’s so peaceful and calm.”
Other guy: “Yea, man. I like it, too.”
Unsolicited comments like that completely make my day. The two kids probably have no idea I even heard them. Awesome.
And, with that, I’m off to shower and pack a lunch, and if I’m really ambitious, choose an outfit for tomorrow. Thanks for reading. I’ve missed you all.