Thursday, March 22, 2018

Can't Take the Middle Schooler Out...

Whoever thought it was a good idea to send middle schoolers to school when there was even one flake of snow on the ground, was obviously not thinking.  Our March snow arrived yesterday - and we all quite enjoyed the day off because of this snow.  But this morning, as hundreds of middle schoolers unfurled themselves from the confines of the buses and onto school property, all I could think was "Mayhem, we will have mayhem." 

And sure enough, I spent most of my 45 minutes of duty this morning hollering, "Put the snow down.  Yep, you, Put. The. Snow. Down.  Drop it," and gesturing with my hand an opening of the fist and downward swing. And I repeated this exercise this afternoon.  Ludicrous, I know, but they all got where they were going safely.

As the last bus pulled away this afternoon, one of my colleagues lobbed a huge snowball towards our school resource officer, hitting him perfectly.  There is something about middle school students and staff that is just drawn to that snow. 

Next time, they're not coming back until it's all melted, none of them. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Changing Terms

Negotiating communication with one's spouse, in the newly empty nest, can be challenging. For the last 21 years our communications have centered on, or been impacted by, the presence of our little people; now we have been abandoned in this nest by those little people to rediscover each other.

My husband's parents shared a piece of wisdom with us early in our marriage: "Give yourself a couple of years before you have kids," they said, "and get to know each other better, because when the kids are gone, you will want a "couple" relationship to return to."  We followed this suggestion, but now find ourselves returning to (rather quickly, it seems) couple status, and I'm struggling a little with the increased communication that occurs because two people spend a lot of time together again.

Early on in our marriage, communication was easy and unfettered.  We talked about what we wanted, when we wanted, typically uninterrupted.  Soon, however, our attempts at communication were interrupted by wails and whines of nonverbal need. Typically when these things happened, one, or both of us dropped what we were doing, a conversation was postponed, or a project put down, to address the immediate needs of our progeny.

Later, our communication focused on the physical needs of the kids, ranging from, "Are you able to fix dinner?" to "I've got a late meeting, are you able to do pick up?" And, the days flew by so swiftly that there wasn't much time for additional communication.

Most recently, during the last years of high school our conversations have gone like this: "Did you see R this morning?  What were her plans tonight?  Was she driving?  Who was she with? Did she say when she might be home?"

Now, spending more time than ever together, even with both of us working, communication (how and what we say to each other) needs to perhaps be more carefully considered, before it is begun.  While the emptying of the nest may make some aspects of life more simple, there are other aspects that rise in complexity.  Continuing to reflect on this, for me, will be important.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Snow Day?

The prediction of snow still, even after all of these years, makes my heart skip a beat and my mood swing upwards.  Yesterday I spent in a slump, mostly doubting the varied predictions that were being thrown our way by our local meteorologists.  "Well, it could really be bad," said one, while another stated, "There is a chance that nothing could come our way." 

Today it poured rain, all day long; and the temperature slowly dropped over the course from when the kids were dropped off until they got picked up this afternoon.  As the temperature dropped my hope began to pick up.  Maybe the snow that may or may not arrive will give us a day off of school?!?

The irony is, even if school is cancelled, administrators often still report - so I might not have the day off - but, the energy is contagious and the excitement for a day off leaps like a flame from one staff member to the next.  When the children walk out to the buses, they too have caught it...."See you Thursday, Ms. E. Smith!" one hollers. 

"Ice cubes in the freezer tonight, pajamas on backwards," I hollered back, smiling and waving as the buses pulled away.   

Monday, March 19, 2018

Monday Blues

I wasn't my usual smiley self this morning, greeting the children as they got off the buses.  I could feel it - and I wasn't sure why.  Is it because it's the week before Spring Break?  Maybe...maybe it's just a Monday...

"Hi Olivia," I said, scrubbing my hands under the faucets in the Seventh Grade girls bathroom.  "How are you?"  Olivia is a bright, young assistant, former student in fact, that works in some of our classrooms. 

"Oh my gosh, I'm having a Monday," she replied, leaning forward in the mirror adjust her hair.  "I took my acrylic nails off this weekend and didn't replace them, without them I just don't feel myself.  And, I spilled my coffee this morning; see this coffee stain on my sweater?  It will be there all day!" she exclaimed. 

"I totally know what you mean," I responded, drying my hands on my skirt.  "I've got on a pair of tights that I swear must be my daughter's.  I'm going to be in the bathroom all day tugging, to make sure my tights don't fall.  You know that uncomfortable feeling, right?"

We smiled at each other. "Yep," she said.  "But, we can make it a great day, right?"

"We can!  Four days until spring break!  We can do anything!"

Sunday, March 18, 2018

An Escape

I love, more than almost anything, the opportunity to escape into a good historical fiction story.  If you weave in a bit of romance, and maybe some supernatural powers, I'm in my happy place.  Today I was compelled to finish an historical novel set during the 1400's in England and France. 

After running errands, I pulled out my book and disappeared into the land of political intrigue among a king, his queen and the nobles that make up their court, and the gruesome, bloody war that never ends, especially when cousins are fighting each other for the throne. 

The main character and I watched as the queen made decisions that we knew would create havoc for her (an illicit romance before the birth of the heir means that all of England is questioning the paternity of the prince and the motives of his mother), and the king sinksinto a year-long sleep that no one can explain. 

Because it is historical fiction - there is not always a happy ending.  In this case, the story ends well enough, but the epilogue reveals that the main character watches her husband and son executed and  sees her daughter successfully ascend to the throne (albeit for only a short period of time thanks to Henry VIII!) 

Totally love this escape - the reality of our world, at times, seems so hard to believe.  I can only imagine the historical fiction that will be written hundreds of years from now, looking back on the early 21st Century. 

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Waiting Game

Worry, relief?
To have accomplished something
personally big
and be waiting for a result or a response
is truly challenging.  
I swing between 
anxiety and 
and it's stressful and
There is nothing 
more challenging than

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Some Classes...

In January, in order to help myself neutralize the "empty-nester blues" I signed up for a Spanish class for adults.  I've worked in our strongly Latin school district for 27 years and could be fluent in multiple languages after that amount of time, but I never made the commitment.  This year, I did - and I have been happily going to class for the last two months, every Wednesday evening from 7:00 PM to 9:30 PM.  

Our class of 15 students range from pretty young 20 somethings, a few of us in the middle (50's I'd say), and a few in the 70-80 range.  This, along with our entertaining instructor, makes the class very interesting.  It's fascinating watching people of all ages grapple with learning something new; we all are making mistakes and supporting each other with the answers whenever possible.  

I don't think we are the teacher's favorite class.  We have a tendency to be a little rowdy (laughing at and with each other, commenting on the side, getting our teacher off track).  If this class was in my school it's very possible we would have all been sent to the office for disruption.  But, we are having fun and learning Spanish.

This evening our instructor announced that next week was our last class for this semester.  We were shocked.  Time sure went by fast.  

"Aren't we having a fiesta?" one of my classmates asked. 

"Let's have a pinata!" hollered another classmate.  And suddenly the class was totally pumped about this idea. 

"I'll bring guac and chips," the person sitting next to me volunteered, happily.  And... the teacher at that point lost control of the class.  Looking dazed, she agreed that we could have our fiesta, and she would bring a traditional flan dessert from Venezuela.  

Happily we cheered, hollered "Buenas Noches," and quickly disappeared into the night.