I didn’t go to work today. I had an appoitment with my surgeon and I took the opportunity to just take the day. There were a lot of reasons why I took this day and I am so very glad I did. My joy and smiles today were a direct relationship to how many days I have been trying to stay a part of the “Slice.” Slowly ever so slowly each day drew me into noticing all that is around me. I had lost sight of it for a while now. I was preoccupied by children, friends, illness, loss and all the things that suck our joy and make demands on our strength. But this past week has been a powerful turn around. I do believe there are two events that surrounded me and pulled me back to the person I know myself to be.
First, Slice was so much that voice screaming from Dylan Thomas,
Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night
Oh, I did not and will not. But what I have been doing is no relationship to what Thomas was trying to get at. I surrendered and took eveyone who cared about me with me. I couldn’t find my joy, my sarcastic humor and wit with no malice intended, my silliness, my caring about those around me. I felt as if I was in a vortex of water and just keeping my head up was success. What made the difference? I honestly don’t know. There was this task of slice. I had been writing for several years and felt powerful in the process of just recording my thoughts. I had a wonderful writing group that has rested for awhile now. When I stopped writing I lost my joy and ability to look and see life. Slice has forced me with great prodding by my two colleagues to write. Slowly, I felt my writing voice creep up. I’m not quite back to where I was, but I am ever so happy to be writing and complaining and laughing and liking myself.
This is what took place at the beginning of the week and it has made all the difference. I was walking from my apartment to the elevator on my way to school. I often have a talk in my mind with myself when on this ritual. On this day I was questioning why it is so very hard to remember the students names this year. At my age what lingers the thought of early onset of alzheimer’s… trust me not remembering names grabs you like the claws of a very very large crab. I don’t know where this came from but my voice said, ” You are in transition and you are unsure. You don’t remember the names because deep down you don’t want to.” I seriously stopped walking and suddenly I felt a huge lift of the depressive weight. Of course I don’t want to remember their names because if I invest that much I will have to say good bye. I want to leave my place where I have worked since 1995 with fondness not sadness. I have wonderful memories and adventures and silliness. I will have memories to last the rest of my time on Earth with wonderful friends. “I don’t want to know or get too close this time because I will have to admit it is the end. So, I gave myself permission to not know their names. I spent the last few days with smiles surrounding all the children that bade me “Good Morning” or “Hello” or best a sharing of something that just happened and they wanted me to know. I felt I was back to being me. And I was in my own way working myself to good bye.
The second part of this is the fact I am taking a step to another milestone in life. I am about to be a grandmother, but in my case it is also so much more. I will be the on call nanny and to be truthful this is the job I have wanted since I was nine. I became a teacher because I liked children ( notice I didn’t say love). A lot of teachers say they love their students, I just never felt it that way. I saw each child as an adventure and they were part of my story as I may or may not have been part of theirs. But, I loved and needed them to be par tof my story. Deep down I just like to travel with children. Traveling their journey is like living hundreds or thousands of your own. It is a cotton candy of your experiences shared with their experiences and seeing them change just like yourself. I think of Sandra Cisneros’ “Eleven” I lived that piece to a degree that we all have. Everytime it is used in a writing class as a mentor text I fall back to being eleven and my birthday which was not unlike the story of hurt and sadness…BUT I also get to laugh and play with kids or just watch them feeling as if I was nine, eight, seven, six , five , four , three , two….
Now that I have unrcovered my passion again, I have a few months to relish all the teaching years and look forward to reliving all the years with my grandchild to be born very very shortly. Just in time I found my love of each day.