I am having an ADD moment, and no I don’t have ADD. I’m having an evening when there is so much to do on my to-do list (finish planting trees, send MP3s of songs to record label, order mulch, finish yoga anatomy lessons before Friday, confirm that Aaron’s prom corsage is ordered, start graduation announcements and more) that I would rather just say screw it, pour a glass of horrible Trader Joe’s wine, reflect and write.
Have you ever had a day when you look around at your life, and ask yourself, “How did I get here?” For most of my childhood and even through high school, I assumed I would raise some kids on a farm, teach in the same school, live close to my family, and live a fairly simple life. Instead, I married a guitar player, have taught at six schools in my 24 years, moved eight hours away from my home in Virginia and now the closest thing to farming that I do is yard work and plotting to kill moles. How did I get here? How did I transform from the cry-baby kid who couldn’t open my milk carton (thanks, Dawn) to the single mom juggling multiple responsibilities?
Hmmm.. First, I figured out what I had going for me. I realistically recognized my limitations (too short to focus on athletics, not thick-skinned or patient enough to be a singer or actress, not smart enough to be a doctor) and I heeded the call to use what was available to me. I think we do our kids a disservice by telling them they can be whatever they want. Guess what? You think you’re doing little Johnny a favor by telling him he can be an astronaut but if he can’t reduce fractions, it’s time to burst the bubble. And if Susie can’t sing without making the dog howl, she is not going to be the next Kelly Clarkson. They’ll be fine. Gently guide them to another dream.
I got here with hard work. Call it my farm-girl upbringing, but if I didn’t do a job right, I did it again. There was reward, usually intrinsic, for a job well-done. I didn’t get bribed with money for good grades. As my mom said, “I already got good grades. Your good grades are for you and are the reward or maybe the lesson to work harder.” (Side note to politicians: you can’t bribe a teacher with money to work harder. All of us understand intrinsic rewards.) Every teaching job I take, I make certain that my principal is going to be affirmed every day with his or her decision to hire me.
I got here with some tears, maybe not as many that I shed when I was an insecure little girl who hid behind her Daddy, but I allow myself a good cry every now and then. It’s rather cleansing and keeps emotions from getting bottled up. Honestly, sometimes my life is lonely, scary and poopy. A good cry helps me move forward.
I got here with love and support from family and friends. The secret to making new friends is to get involved in your school, community, church, yoga studio, etc. I learned a long time ago that being shy just wasn’t going to work for me. I have many, many friends, some get to hear more secrets than others, but that is the way it should be.
So I guess it doesn’t really matter how I got here, but I am so grateful I’m here.