Archive | November, 2011

Reasons to be Thankful

24 Nov

While it’s natural every Thanksgiving to give some thought and reflection to the blessings in our lives, I feel more inclined to do so this year than any other. So, in the spirit of Thanksgiving and the joy of the holiday season, here is the shorthand list of things I am thankful for this year.

  1. Both of my parents being alive
  2. My son – I mean, have you seen him?
  3. My husband, for everything
  4. My brother being happy
  5. Sunday nights – you know why
  6. The best pen pal I’ve ever had (even though I’m a little slow on my end)
  7. Having a job that I love

And I think I’ll stop there. Seven seems an odd number to end a list with, but I think anything else I could add would seem petty and small compared to the role that the aforementioned things play in my life.

May everyone be so lucky as to have a list of reasons to be thankful that is as meaningful as mine. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

A Caffeinated Pleasure

17 Nov

Yesterday afternoon as I walked around my language arts classroom monitoring my students’ work, I clung for dear caffeinated life (and warmth) to the cheery red Starbucks cup that contained the pure deliciousness that is a Peppermint Mocha. For me (lately), having a death grip on a cup of coffee is what gets me through the day. Whether it’s a Starbucks cup, a Super America cup or my beloved travel mug with my homemade coffee, the purpose remains the same. But, I digress.

As I made my rounds, one of my students, we’ll call him Carl, asked me, “Why is it that every teacher I have is always walking around with a cup of coffee?” Now, you should know that Carl is one of the squirmiest, distractible, absent-minded students I have. He also tries harder than almost anyone. What this means is that Carl takes up an enormous amount of my time and energy each day. So when he posed this question to me, I sighed heavily, smiled sweetly, and said, “Because it is exhausting work teaching all of you.”

Carl nodded thoughtfully. Then he said, “I would think it’s a pleasure teaching us.”

I nodded and said, “That’s very true. But, it is an exhausting pleasure.”

My job is absolutely one that is well worth every extra gulp of caffeine.

The Things I Cannot Change

15 Nov

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about the things that happen in life that I have no control over. In so many ways, I am solely responsible for what happens to me. I make decisions every day about what to wear, what to eat, how fast to drive, who to talk to, etc. But the impact of these decisions only goes so far. At the end of the day, there are certain things that, try as I might, I cannot have. Not because I don’t try, but because these things depend on the choices of others.

I can console, I can advise, I can state my desired outcome. I cannot force others to apologize. Assuming apologies are made, I cannot force others to accept these apologies. I cannot patch relationships, or make the unspoken said.

I feel very much like a character in one of those romantic comedies (or, if you rather, Nick from the show New Girl). The one who gets dumped and then stupidly protests, “I’m in this relationship, too! You can’t just decide to break up with me. I don’t want to break up and I don’t accept this!” I’m plugging my ears and shouting “I can’t hear you, this isn’t happening!” But regardless of my feelings and my desire to put in the time to make things work, I can’t make the other person (or, in my case, people) stay. Free will is a double-edged sword. My heart and soul is invested in my traditions and my relationships. I can give 110% until I’m blue in the face and exhausted, but if the other side isn’t willing to concede, compromise and put in the effort, it’s still not going to work.

Quite frankly, trying to be the voice of reason is exhausting. I’m worn out, emotionally drained, and broken. There’s some sort of saying out there about accepting the things you cannot change. I’m not one to accept defeat or give up without a fight. That being said, I think I’m finally realizing that I might have to accept the reality I’ve been given. I can only change so much.