Thursday, October 17, 2013

Dear Moving Onward

Dear Moving Onward,

Aren't you our goal in life?  We strive to better ourselves and move forward instead of halting and perpetuating in a funk.  But there are times when getting stuck is not only unavoidable, but also serves as an essential time for repose, reflection, and preparation to move forward again.  Peaks and valleys, ebb and flow.


I was at a Junction for the past few weeks.  Many things clashed together and made my brain experience an uninvited stagnation.  It was like being forced to stop at a railroad crossing--where one loses a few minutes of precious travel time--because there is absolutely no alternative whatsoever.

The kiddos' music school recently had a group concert, followed by a solo recital two short weeks later.  If you are at all familiar with this sort of thing, you'd know that one performance actually means practice, practice, rehearsal, practice, practice, practice, rehearsal...  Which then meant schlepping, hurrying, altering dining plans, altering schedules, altering parental-sanity, and altering parental blood-pressure.  To add more variety to the mix, Dear Daughter also had a school grade-wide two-day camping trip days prior to the recital, which meant shopping for gear, packing, losing sleep for early morning departure, missing my DD and wondering what she's up to (the school's policy is pretty much "no news is good news").

But the main culprit had been my busy subbing schedule for the last few weeks.  And these weren't day jobs here and there.  They were consecutive days of subbing for teachers who were gone for several days at a time.  Which meant days' worth of lesson plans to execute at a time, lessons that had to be followed timely so that the next days' lessons would be completed, and generally "holding down the fort" for an extended period of time.  Which then meant that I had only a few hours' stretch at home each day, just enough to check off parenting essentials, adequately self-groom, and get some not enough sleep.

We all know how kids suck the life out of us.  Having a classroom full of kids for a day pretty much left me dead by the time I got home.  There were days when every single muscle in my body ached.  I was too tired to friggin' get up to go pee.  But as Life would have it, there was still homework to check, kids to feed, whips to crack.  So to anyone who thinks teachers have it easy: think about spending AN ENTIRE DAY with your own kid(s) and being responsible for their safety, academic learning, and emotional well-being.  Then multiply that wonderful feeling by twenty to thirty more kids and 180 days.  Then if you still tell me that teaching is a cushy job, I will smack you in the head.  (And don't ever let me hear you complain about school being out for yet another Teacher Institute Day because you have to care for your kids all day.)  I'm not even teaching full-time yet, but all the nuances of teaching (notably how freakin' tired I get) are all flooding back--like being downstream of a broken dam and I'm barely keeping my head above water.


That you are still here reading this blog is amazing cuz only crickets have been residing here since over two weeks ago.  That I had to skip an entire week of posting was heartbreaking, as I had had the luxury to write--at the least, weekly--since this blog was born.  It was difficult but necessary to let go of the desire to write and post last week.  I usually compose my letters in my head as I go about my days, and then materialize them on the screen when I get a chance to write.  Well, it seems as though my brain broke during the last few weeks.  There was no composition going on in my head.  It was all a blank, like the movie projector at the end of its reel, flickering only static, blank images on screen.  I was even a stranger on Facebook, which could have actually given you reason to worry.  I was empty; I had nothing to say or write or show or tell.  I hadn't snapped a picture on my phone for entirely way too long.  I was just out of juice.

Then I worried.  I worried that I would miss all the essential posts on Facebook.  I feared that my Letters of Muse page was utterly neglected and growing cobwebs and seriously missing a "New Blog Post" update.  I fretted that I'm going to lose all my blogging friends since I haven't visited their blogs for weeks.  I worried that if this subbing gig is going to keep up this way, that my writing days would be over.  I dreaded that if I were to ever get back into full-time teaching, this blog would die a painful death.

If you "get" the exhilaration of the writing process--crafting thoughts into words, expressing a sentiment in very personal ways, and baring your edited soul without speaking--you'd have been scared for me, too.

But as each event concluded--camp girl returned tired and happy, kiddos performed at concerts with poise and confidence, and I survived each day and each assignment undefeated--I started to see that teeny tiny flicker of light at the end of the tunnel.  My painful Facebook/social media withdrawal has subsided in a healthy, rather relieving way.  I am actually writing and words are flowing--albeit slowly and spluttering-ly (notice I didn't say they all make sense).

I have a glorious day off teaching today.  What do you mean there are dishes in the sink and laundry to do?  And do I *really* have to go eat lunch?


The kiddos' school has something called Rocket Math as a part of its Math Curriculum.  It is a series of math facts that kids have to recall with speed.  These timed tests go hand-in-hand with conceptual understanding to achieve academic success in mathematics.  Kids move on through addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and fractions each time they pass a leveled test.  Each time they pass, they have learned and mastered the facts.  Each time they do not pass, they find what it is they need to practice, improve, and memorize.  So when they are not moving forward, they are stopping to evaluate, recharge, and prepare.  Sometimes a stop is essential.

Stop and go.  Ebb and flow.

Now is time to move onward again.  My one tomato plant has grown taller than I now, but it's time to move onward from growing season to barren gardens as freezing temperatures arrive next week.  Violin recitals are over for now, as we move onward to holiday music and the next recital.  Dear Son moves on from yellow to orange belt in TKD, and DD moves on from running the mile to two miles in Running Club.  My huge wave of subbing assignments is over for now, but I'm moving onward with the thought of returning to full-time teaching.  Even though that bridge is still far away, it is a comfort seeing it there, just like that flicker of light at the end of this tunnel.  As with this blog, for now, it's alive and well once again.  Whew!  

My lesson learned: we make do.


So, Dear Moving Onward, you are a gentle push for us to keep going.  You are kind for waiting occasionally when we get stuck, but you are persistent in reminding us to not falter for too long.  You are the force that shoves me out of bed each morning and makes me a productive person.  Most importantly, thanks for lifting the railroad crossing gate so that traffic can resume.  I've got places to go and people to see now that I'm out of my funk!



  1. Glad to see you back, Sandra!

    1. Thank you, Rachel, for sticking around and being patient with me! I promise to be by very soon! :)

  2. I understand funks.
    I have had many in my three years of blogging.
    Good to see you back.

    1. Hi, Kari! Thanks so much for stopping by! This funk was the mother of them all, but I survived! I'm so glad to be b-b-back! :)

  3. What a whirlwind! I certainly appreciate teachers, especially good ones. That's why you are so tired -- you are a good, nah GREAT, teacher. I bet teaching is only a cushy job if you put only the minimal effort into it. But for those that care, like you, it is a never-ending job. It is not confined to in-session hours. Top that with all the activities your kids are involved with after school, I don't blame you for being quiet on the blog or social media. You gotta live life and something's gotta give -- rather the blog than your real life, I say. I have also been feeling out of sorts with blogging since not regularly blogging for 13 weeks. Readers have definitely dwindled but hey, that's life, I gotta accept it. I blog for me and to talk to friends, like you, so it's ok if numbers go down. It's the relationships that matter most to me. Glad to have you back, as often as you can, I'm here :).

    1. Lisa, I am so lucky to have blogger friends like you!! We've made a connection strong enough to disregard numbers and frequency!! Like you, I blog for myself, but I felt so out of sorts not being able to write for such a long time. I can only imagine what having a baby has done to your life let alone your blog! Yes, the teaching is tiring, but I'm sure not as tiring as you getting up in the middle of the night for feedings :) Are you ever so tired when you wake up and you have no idea what day it is or where you are? LOL! Thank you for reading, as always! I have some serious catching up to do, everywhere! Sending you lots of love and gratitude!

    2. While on maternity leave, I had no idea what day it was ;). I've been so tired that my body aches!!! Now, thankfully, that has subsided.

  4. Glad to see things freed up enough for you to write a little. For the record, I've always said that I don't know how teachers do it. I know for a fact that I do not have the patience to do what they do. My own kids are hard enough...throw in other people's children, some with behavior issues, and I'd seriously lose my mind!

    Oh, and I get an email when you do post, so no worries about me going anywhere. When you post, I will read. (Sometimes- okay, most of the time, I'm several days behind, but I eventually get to it!) Have a beautiful weekend, Sandra!

    1. Hi, Janna! I'm so grateful that you're not going anywhere! With all that you write for Trifecta (and read and comment on others' posts), you have been a saint for still coming by here to read, my friend! Teaching is really tough, but the kids make it worth all the effort. Sometimes I want to pull my hair out with some kids, but I remind myself that they really mean no harm. I've learned not to take things personally from kids and always take off my "teacher skin" when I go home. That's how I survive. :) We are having a lovely weekend--apple-picking and hiking! So glad to have a nice breather in this busy month. Thanks, Janna, and I'll be by soon!