What Now?

For the past two summers I have participated in the KinderBlog challenge.  This summer I am going to ATTEMPT to participate.  It has been so long since I’ve blogged, I am not sure how this will go. In any case, here is this week’s challenge and my first step back into blogging.  If it makes no sense to you, that’s ok…I have to start somewhere.

So here is this week’s challenge:

Write the post that has been in your head (or your drafts folder) for a while now. You know the one. The one you write while you drive to work, or while you are in the shower. What is the question, or issue, or opinion, or emotions, you have been chewing on for a while now? Alternatively, what is the post that you have started a million times, picked away at, edited and re-edited, and almost trashed?  Did you read an article or a Facebook post that provoked a reaction, and that you can’t stop thinking about? THIS IS YOUR CHANCE.

Be Brave. Write it.

OK, I honestly don’t even know where to start.  Life these past few months has been…shall we say…INSANE.  Since I wrote this post: my mother-in-law has been diagnosed with cancer and has been in and out of hospital for weeks on end (thankfully she is home now); my stress level has been so high and caused so much physical pain that I wondered how I would finish out the school year; the school year ended with teachers being on strike and that situation has not yet been resolved; my father-in-law walked away from a car accident he should have died in; and both of my boys started working full-time, so now I have A LOT of alone time to start to process all that has happened.  See, I TOLD you it was crazy!

I haven’t even really begun to grieve the fact that I am not part of the #tiegrad class anymore.  I willingly withdrew from that program, but it still hurts to see my classmates connect on twitter.  I know it was the best decision, but that doesn’t make it any easier to process in my brain.  The timing couldn’t have been better, though…within 10 days of withdrawing from university, my mother-in-law was diagnosed with cancer and our lives went into a tailspin. There were many weeks when Shawn and I would go to work all day then spend the evening at her bedside in the hospital.  Thankfully, mum is home now, still very weak, but not as sick as she was the first few months of her diagnosis.  I am also thankful that my sister-in-law, Joanne, is able to live with mum and dad and be a caregiver while mum is so ill. We are praying that the chemo will shrink the cancer and give us some more time with mum, and in the meantime we are enjoying the short visits her illness will allow.

As for my own health, I am happy to say that after months of physio therapy, massage therapy, acupuncture and doctor’s orders for more rest, I am feeling 90% better.  My tennis elbow still hurts a bit, but it is not a constant burning pain like it was before.  I need to consciously avoid working on the computer (I know…trying to finish this quickly!) and on my iPad, and make sure that I am doing my exercises to take care of myself.  I am really trying.  HONESTLY!  I even borrowed a Fitbit to see if that would help motivate me. (Thanks Paula!)  I must say, I do find that the Fitbit is helping keep me on track.  The bracelet keeps reminding me to move more, sit less, and be aware of how much I am exercising.  The only frustration I have had with it is not being able to count any laps I swim towards my daily fitness goal.  So, on the days I swim rather than walk, it looks like I haven’t been active.  Oh well, I guess it’s only a little annoyance. Hopefully by the end of the summer, I will be a healthier, happier me.

The teacher’s strike…I don’t know where or how to begin to write out my frustrations and anger here.  Let me just say that I am frustrated that our government doesn’t think it important for them to be a good example and follow the law.  The teachers have won in Supreme Court TWICE and still, 12 years later, our students do not have the supports that I gave up raises and benefits to guarantee in contract. It makes me sad that my own boys have gone through their entire school careers without the supports that teachers fought for.  Our kids deserve better.  Teachers deserve to have their constitutional rights upheld.  Ok, enough…I will not be writing more about this situation.  I just hope I don’t have to be standing on a picket line in September…but if I have to, I will.

A few days ago, my father-in-law fell asleep at the wheel and rolled his car into a ditch.  The policeman who arrived at the scene was expecting to call an air ambulance, not witness dad get out of the car on his own.  Dad literally doesn’t have a scratch on him.  Nothing.  He is FINE.  There is NO WAY he should have survived that crash and the only explanation we have is that the angels were working overtime to protect him.  When I got the phone call from Shawn saying “dad’s been in an accident, he’s at the hospital, we don’t know how he is”, I can honestly say that I thought we’d be starting the hospital vigils all over again like we did with mum.  We are so thankful that he is ok!

OK, so what is all this rambling about and why did I have to get it out?  Because if I didn’t write this, I think it would still be festering inside me.  These past few months have not been easy.  There were times that I didn’t know if I could get out of bed in the morning, I was so stressed out and in so much physical pain.  I don’t think there was a day that went by from February to June that I didn’t have tears.  Some days there were just a few tears, easily brushed off, but most days the tears flowed freely and often. Unfortunately, sometimes even at school.  You see, when you experience life like we have for the past few months, it is nearly impossible for me to turn off my emotions.  I am an emotional person…not in the crying sense of the word, but in the EXPERIENCING of emotion.

Every day when I go to school, I experience emotion…joy when my students are excited about their learning, frustration when I am not getting through to one of my little KinderPals, hurt when I see one of them hurting, and above all else, LOVE because I learn to love them more each day I am with them.  I call my students MY KIDS because of the emotion that I bring to my teaching.

Likewise, I am emotional with my own family.  I LOVE THEM ALL more than life itself! I am excited about the new jobs that my boys have. I cherish the time that I spend with my husband. I am sad that my mother-in-law has to suffer through this horrible disease called cancer.  I am grateful to have a loving extended family. And I could go on…but you get the idea.

Suffice it to say, if we don’t embrace all the emotion of our life experience, I think we miss out.  Yes, there are high highs and low lows, but all of them put together create something called a LIFE.  I had to take a step back these past few months and go into survival mode.  I still felt all the emotion, but I had to disengage a bit so that I wouldn’t be swallowed up by all the intense feelings. I think I am beyond that point now, back to a life that I can actually experience fully without being overwhelmed by it all.  I think.

I have often said over the past few months that we can’t talk about IF something challenging in your life will happen will happen, but WHEN.  It was my turn.  And I think the classic song by “Turn Turn Turn (to Everything There Is a Season)” by The Byrds illustrates that quite nicely.

So, back to my title…I say “What Now?” not with an element of fear, as I would have these past difficult months, but with a feeling of hope.  What wonderful, beautiful, amazing, incredible things can I experience…amongst the heartache and stress.  I’m ready to start LIVING again!