family, gratitude, health and wellness

That Was Fun

It’s a real gift to access any bit of information that you need on demand. I could have just done the math, but the answer to my question was a tap away, so I just looked it up. 

It’s been exactly four months and 23 days since I lost my dad. 146 days. I know what this length of time has felt like, but I wasn’t aware of the exact number. It’s already felt like at least a year. 

So much has happened, including vacations, the transition back to work, and the celebration of birthdays, family milestones and gatherings. I’ve been blessed to have my family with me, direct household and extended; at least one member close by at all times, even at work. 

It’s a rare occurrence when I am completely alone with the time and space to just be involved in my own thoughts with no other tasks or to do’s. These times often occur in the car on solo drives from here to there, 10-15 minutes at most. When I’m behind the wheel, especially on sunny cloudless blue-sky days, I reminisce. I remember the days that he would drive us back home from San Francisco from my grandma’s house. We never said much on those drives, but I still felt safe and connected to him. Other memories include road trips up to the lake for a camping trip, or back down from the mountains, heading home from a ski weekend in Tahoe. 

Sunny day windshield memories live on in my mind, and the most recent ones hurt the most. The day of his funeral and burial was one of the most beautiful days I’d ever seen in the Bay Area. The convoy from Vallejo to San Francisco was a bittersweet tribute to his life, and I had no choice but to catalog a new memory in my mind. The way the sunlight hit the hearse and that little back window with the weird curtains to shade his casket was a new memory of saying goodbye to Dad. 

I said goodbye yet again a month or so ago, and it caught me off guard. Mom and I spent the morning preparing Dad’s truck to be officially handed down to a dear family member. We made sure it started and we cleaned it up a bit. We decided to bring it back to my house. She drove the truck, and I followed her and drove behind for the 12 minute journey back home. There wasn’t one cloud to be found in the sky.

Once the tears came, I decided to make it a full on emotional release. I cued up my Bob Marley playlist, and watched dad’s truck lead the way back home. Every turn and stop gave me glimpses and memories of him picking me up from school, and towing the family boat. I wasn’t able to see him through the window or in the side view mirror driving this time.  

Mom and I arrived safely and parked the vehicles in the driveway. I wiped away the remaining sun-blinding tears so I could ask her how the truck was running. She was happy and excited that it was running well.   

“That was fun!”, she said.

I was so thankful for that little moment and those three words. The simple statement reminded me that the memories that I invite back into my mind are fun memories. The outer layer of sadness from loss is real, but the fun times that I’ll always know are still there, just like those cloudless blue sky days.

https://howlongagogo.com/

mindful

T Minus 7 Days Until

My mind is officially on repeat with school thoughts. They freak me out, but I’ve embraced them. One week from today, I will be navigating through The Teacher’s Edition of the Sunday Scaries.

I started feeling overwhelmed this week, and my angst was soothed over by a meme that I came across on Instagram posted by @Bored_Teachers.

“You can be a loving teacher with a gentle heart and still listen to gangster rap on the way to school”

-Bored Teachers

Yes. Gangster rap. So good. Although it’s not game time yet, I put this notion into action and I proceeded to blast Big Sean’s “I Don’t F* With You” at the start of my Saturday errands in suburbia. Basic. 

Next week, I will return to my workplace. In many ways, it contradicts my beliefs and goals of being present and awake in the moment. Living in the now is hard. It’s nearly impossible while being an an elementary school teacher.

Lesson planning is centered around a place and time that doesn’t even exist yet. I hesitate to plan as far as 1.5 weeks ahead. Teachers also often reminisce about how amazing or how awful the curriculum was a decade ago. They speak of a non-reality. I feel like I should have regular access to a 40 oz of something to pour out for them. May I add it to my teacher wist list?

It’s all very important though. Best teaching practice depends on thoughtful planning and a strong debrief and reflection on the past.

Finding balance during the craziness of the teaching day  requires the swagger, confidence, rhythm, and beat of my best inner gangster rapper. Vulgarity is necessary and acceptable in certain situations. I’m talking to you, sh*tty broke ass f*n copy machine. 

To all of the teachers currently experiencing a Sunday night stomach ache, push on and power through. The energy and hype of  “the now” during your morning commute complete with your favorite rap, punk, country, or NPR doesn’t have to end when you cut the ignition in the school parking lot. Set it on repeat in your mind until you return at 3:30 (or whenever your contracted day ends).

 

Until then,

How do you hype yourself up in the morning? Who are your favorite gangster rappers?

-Jenn