Because it wasn’t the easiest of days

I’m starting back to school this week. Our first teacher day was today- and my brain was not ready for the early alarm. I made it into school though- coffee and laptop, ready to go!

It’s not going to be an easy year, to say the least. The day was filled with a lot of “can’t”s- students can’t… teachers can’t… we can’t… and as a teacher of 20 years, I’ve had a lot of times that have been (get read for that word) unprecedented – 9/11, active shooter drills (and training- which is even more horrifying). However, this time- this issue is the most unprecedented of the unprecedenteds.

Even so- that actually wasn’t the most difficult issue of the day.

One of our beloved custodians, who has been at the school longer than I have (I’ve been there 17 years), died suddenly last night. We were told at the beginning of the staff meeting- and the next hour or so was a blur.

I didn’t know this man extremely well because he worked in a different part of the building, but I worked with his wife (who had been a custodian at the high school) for about 15 years. Over and over in my mind, all I could think about was how is she going to survive this?

And then— as I do— I spiraled to all of the losses that we (the school) have had over the last several years, and it became very overwhelming. I sat there, in my mask, and tried not to cry, hyperventilate, not to stand up and scream at everyone worried about scented hand sanitizer!

So I came home to my son.

And I hugged him. And giggled with him. And told him about Mark- who he vaguely remembered from times he toddled around school with me in the summers. We talked and ate dinner. When he went outside to skate, and my mood started to fall again, I went out to my flowerbeds.

My sunflowers are huge now- getting ready to bloom. And as I walked along the house and gazed on the beauty of nature, my heart began to lift.

The tallest two are taller than me… I know that’s not saying much, but still.
Almost ready to bud

There is something intensely therapeutic about nature doing its thing. Flowers blooming, tree branches reaching toward the sky. I don’t know exactly how to phrase it, but it fills me.

Tomorrow I go back to meetings. And I will think of my friend and her loss, I know. But I hope too, that I can focus on the life going on in front of me so that I don’t begin to sink under the weight of my thoughts. I want to reach up in hope, like the strong stems of the sunflower, and catch as much of the sun as I can.

The petunias and geraniums in my grill planter also looked very cheery tonight.

6 thoughts on “Because it wasn’t the easiest of days

  1. Thoughtful post, Allison. I can’t help thinking how difficult it would be to be a teacher these days. It just seems so much about the world only makes a teacher’s job more difficult. The can’ts that you talk about are already way higher than the can’ts that teachers had to worry about 25 years ago and then you throw in the Covid can’ts and it just keeps piling up. At a time when I see kids becoming more radicalized and feeling more entitled and empowered thru social media, I can only imagine how hard it is to get kids attention and respect these days. And then you throw in personal tragedies from the people you come in contact with. I have full, total respect for you and your profession. And on a more personal level, I hope the best for you and thank you for what you do. I am sure it is rewarding beyond what I can imagine as well. Thank you also for visiting my blog. It means a lot to me. Take care.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much! You are too kind. It is a challenging time- but I look forward to seeing my students… how ever long I get to see them. I worry about their health and mine, and how to get then interested in literature when so many of them, like you said, have their own traumas from all of this.
      As a side note: I LOVE your blog and hope that someday Belgium will be in my travel plans. After seeing your hikes (and all the great beer), I would really love to get out there!


  2. I get it. It is very strange to be reacting (appropriately) to a death & have the people around you seem unphased or just not feeling quite the same. Then you feel more alone. Flowers are encouraging, so is nature. I also love nurturing plants along for the reward that eventually comes. Your flowers look great.

    Liked by 1 person

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