This morning I walked to the elementary school to do my volunteering…trying to kill two birds with one stone. Fall is my favorite time here in Colorado. The air feels crisp and clean and the sun is still warm enough that a jacket isn’t needed. And knowing that, if I want to walk to school in about a month I will have to bundle up like the Michelin Man and Lord knows he’s no power walker…I thought I should take advantage while I can.
My job as the volunteer is to stuff the homework folders. Last year I volunteered to work with the first graders in my son’s class and, even though I only did it once a month, it was enough to make me just check “clerical volunteer” on the form this year.
It DID, however, give me a new appreciation for all teachers and I do my best to surprise my kids’ teachers with random Starbucks cards every once in a while. What I’d really like to do is take them out for a stiff drink, but I don’t know how appropriate that would be.
Maybe when we get into high school.
As I’ve been doing the homework folders these last few weeks I’ve been thinking: Wouldn’t it be interesting to do some sort of study on the state of a child’s homework/homework folder and the state of their family life/home?
The homework folders that have been ripped to shreds within the first 2 days of school. The homework folders that have already been lost and the homework that not only looks like “my dog ate my homework,” it also appears that the dog digested and regurgitated it before it was turned in.
And then the homework that is neat as a pin and looks like it was ironed.
I was feeling pretty guilty this morning because my daughter was the only one who didn’t even turn in her homework folder and I was faced with an ethical question as the homework monitor: “Should I just mark her off?”
On my walk home, I was listening to some old songs on my MP3 and taking a stroll down memory lane. This last year has been such a turning point in my grieving process. I no longer tear up with every memory…just some. So I can enjoy thinking about things that we used to do and fun times that we had and feel true joy and appreciation that we had them.
I looked up at the blue, blue Colorado sky and just inhaled deeply and genuinely felt grateful for my life. Now, this is a hard thing for me to do. Not that I’m not grateful all of the time…but I don’t think I have enough moments to truly let it sink in. Do I wish some things could be different? Of course I do. Loss or not…who doesn’t?
But I’ve really been trying to enjoy the moments of my life as they come, which is a tall order for me. I’ve always been a person who lives in the future…who looks forward to what’s ahead and doesn’t focus as much on the now. And, if there is one thing I wish I could change about myself, that would be it.
As most of us have realized by now…it’s the times that we don’t expect to remember that we look back on and marvel at how great things were. When my husband and I were first married…we had NO money. And at the time I couldn’t wait for us to get older, more experienced, and move up in the world. When in reality…that was one of the best times in our lives.
And right now…I keep focusing on trying to make theWiddahood a success and dreaming of what will happen in the future…when the truth is…great things are happening RIGHT NOW. I keep wondering what the kids will be when they grow up when I should be focusing on who they are now. I look at new cars and wish I could have one, fanaticizing about my dream office in my dream house, and wishing I had less worry and more fun.
But I realized, on my walk, that if I had everything I wanted, right here, right now…I wouldn’t be a happy person. Because then I would have nothing to look forward to.
This was a lot of thinking for 9 AM. But I got ‘er done.
I feel pretty good today. I love my life. I appreciate what I have, what I had, and what I hope is coming. And that’s a good place to be.
To quote my 5-year-old daughter who, when I asked her how her day was last week, exclaimed:
“GREAT! I’m livin’ the dream!”
(And no…I did not mark her homework off on the sheet. Damn ethics.)