Tuesday, April 8

On turning 37

Dear me,

I'd like to say a few words about what this day means.  This day of birth wherein I (you?) entered the world some thirty seven years ago, asleep.  Yes, asleep.  And still trying to catch up where I left off when so rudely interrupted by a smack on the behind.

I'd like to say there is some magic formula or perfect sentence that sums up what it means to advance another year older and wiser, but if anything I've learned that most days (including birthdays) go on basically like the ones before.  Sure, there are the frilly types of days mixed in: celebrations, births, surprises, and the like.  But, really it all mixes together into memory-soup and it's hard to separate the strands.

The year of thirty-six was spent largely learning to become a teacher.  Interestingly enough, I learned that I already pretty much am one (a teacher) and that there is a lot more fuss and bother than actual teaching on some days.  (Freshman - need I say more? (Okay, maybe I do - freshman are like tiny little humans who haven't grown into their heads yet (both figuratively and physically.))).  I've learned some things about myself in the process of learning to teach.  Mainly, I am more patient with other people's kids.  Fascinating and alarming, to be sure.  I've tried to bring this patience home with me, but there are days when I just can't/won't/can't.  I've also learned that I don't much like the nuts and bolts of paperwork, planning (planning, planning), getting kids to be-quiet-already-I-don't-know-how-to-make-you-shut-up, and starting over tomorrow.  I keep reminding myself that teaching secondary school is only meant to be a step up and out into post-secondary school.  I find myself wondering if I have the stamina.  I also find myself wondering why I don't just get to it and write something.  Do you know the answer?

This year of thirty-six also involved watching my (your?) children grow with alarming rate.  That day your son officially gets taller than you (and then keeps going so that you have to look up to make eye contact) - it's a little disturbing.  But also, exhilarating.  As in, "I did that" or "he made it this far despite my doing that!"  If that makes sense.  And your girl, your lovely crazy curious girl, well she's not a baby anymore.  How did that happen?  When I look at her, I feel inadequate.  Will that ever go away?  Just today she was asking me about the colors of her skin ("Why are my hands a different color on the bottom side?") and about an ant that was carrying a paper clip.  A paper clip!?  In my head, I just had a metaphorical moment wherein she is the ant carrying the paper clip...but, that's another story for another day.

Some notes to self in closing (lest I run off the tracks and never find a conclusion to write):

- First, be kind.  To others, to your family, to yourself.
- Second, stop and take in the moment.  Things are blurry because you haven't put them in focus.
- Third, you can do hard things.  Look how far you've come!
- Last, there will always be things you want to change, but can't.  Be happy with what you have, even when what you have feels like it's not enough.  You can be happy anywhere - if you choose it.

Happy birthday!



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