I wake up this morning while the world still sleeps, marveling for a few moments at the return to my body and, more importantly, the return to my head. It feels like I’ve come home from a raucous vacation, although vacation is the wrong word. More like a whirlwind trip to visit distant relatives that required a lot of small talk, and entertaining elderly relatives who remember a version of me that I doubt actually ever existed. The reality, though, was that I was sick and slept for the better part of three days. And then I was better and now it is morning.
The sadness that seems to always linger around the periphery these days is filling me completely, spilling out through my eyes and my vocal chords, scream-singing alone in the car on my return trip from dropping one of the kids.
Sitting on the couch with my computer in a rare hour or two of quiet. I have so many choices for where to focus my energies:
- The grant that needs to be softened so as to appeal to the masses, protecting the inevitable white fragility that defines the intended audience
- Planning for a strange week ahead with 8th graders that includes our annual guest speaker, Marion Blumenthal Lazan, a Holocaust survivor whose age always reminds us that this may be her final appearance, as well as two days of state testing that no one is actually prepared to take or administer.
- Three days of student reflections that are intended to be followed up on daily so that I can help direct their independent workshop. What do I do with them now?? They need my response, even a few days late, but what if their reflections contain a bomb that I didn’t know needed to be diffused? What if that bomb exploded while I slept?
- My overloaded union in-box that includes complaints (valid and not-so-valid), questions, a disciplinary issue, and an incredibly late meeting that should have happened months ago.
- Planning for an upcoming training on Culturally Responsive-Sustaining Education and trying to figure out how to make that work a bigger part of my professional life, although that is scary and feels vulnerable and would move me out of the classroom
Nothing gets done. I write a letter to my eldest son instead, saying the things I need to say and hoping that he reads most of the words and feels the love. When I hand it to him, he does read it and then tucks it away with a gruff “thanks” to the air between us.
My husband and I pass in the kitchen, wondering where the time has gone. I am wondering. He is making waffles. Breakfast for dinner. Four of the five chairs are occupied and the dog waits for whatever leftovers will fill his bowl.
It’s the end of the day and the sun is somewhere behind the dark, foreboding clouds that hold the returning snow. It feels ominous and metaphorical and big and important. It’s probably just lake effect.