CHICO — March, April, May, all gone. June also slipped by.
I cringe to think of the long list of things I did not accomplish during this span of time. Instead, I will remain thankful that I kept my sanity and my health.
For days and weeks and months
Journal entries, self reflection, long talks with friends and the setting of intentions. Sure, I did all that.
Yet, I hope pandemics are not among the times “that prove what you are made of.” If Girl Scout badges could be awarded for activities during a pandemic, I would earn the barbecue potato chip badge and the badge for pacing around in a circle.
I must not compare my deeds in isolation to the deeds of others.
Folks who work in essential services deserve our gratitude. They worked during uncertain times and had to worry about their own safety while dealing with people who were scared and irritable.
I must not compare myself to others, but I noticed a buzz around my neighborhood as people refused to sit idle.
Determined do-it-yourselfers could be spotted with stacks of wood hanging out of the back of their pickup trucks. People replaced fence posts, built sheds and transformed their landscaping. Two of my friends are writing books and countless people have cleared away every scrap of clutter from their homes.
Of course, we can’t disparage others who remained static, uninspired, nursing uncertainty by binge-watching TV shows. Some of us became obsessed with the endless stream of news, which led to bulge-worthy forays to the bottom of a bag of Hershey’s kisses.
We all deal with stress differently. Some people took life-altering online classes, and others hunted harlequin bugs as if hunting bugs was a full-time job.
My main, outwardly visible accomplishment during this stage of the pandemic has been to gain five — followed by counting calories to lose five — pounds. At times, tracking my food was the one thing for which I had total control.
You’ll notice I’m reflecting in past tense, because suddenly the doorway has reopened to “the real world.”
Last week I attended the paperwork signing party for my upcoming teaching job, Fifth Grade in a nearby county. The friendly people at my new school even served healthful snacks. I was given keys to my classroom and unloaded the first of many boxes that will become my amazing classroom library.
When you’re newly in love, each new detail about your new person is a thrilling discovery. New love sparks a need to share these rich details with friends, sometimes friends who haven’t had a boyfriend in 3 ½ years.
Smitten friend: (breathlessly) “I just have to share this with you …”
Patient friend: (rolls eyes).
Smitten friend: “Get this …” (unnecessary and annoying anticipatory pause) “his favorite color is BLUE!”
Patient friend: (nods absently, composing text message to her mother).
Smitten: “I asked him ‘Why blue?’ He said because the sky is blue. I don’t think I’ll ever look at the sky in quite the same way.”
Often, this hormone-enhanced, nonessential information is followed by the type of squeal best left to teens on a slip-‘n’-slide.
I’m not in love. However, I have found myself experiencing some inner squeals these past few days.
I have a new school.
Certainly, there will be challenges (including how to teach with new social distancing requirements), but right now all is new.
My new school’s mascot is the PIONEER! You see, I love all of the “Little House on the Prairie” books, and the Ingalls were pioneers. If we have a school mascot dress-up day, I can wear summer dresses made from chintz fabric. My students, led by their joy-filled teacher, will frolic across the green grass, running in slow motion like the opening credits of the “Little House” TV show. Maybe we’ll have a school carnival and my students can bob for apples.
Our school color is PURPLE, and if I haven’t said it lately, my favorite color is purple. Please don’t confuse lavender with purple. My favorite purple is deep and royal, exactly the same as the purple for my NEW SCHOOL.
When I poked around my new classroom I found scripts for reader’s theater. I intend to lead reader’s theater, and now I don’t need to hunt down a class set of scripts.
My classroom, by the way, is number 13. That’s my lucky number. No kidding. When I was young I had no reason to think 13 was unlucky. In my mind, reaching the age of 13 meant an exciting new stage of life. When I learned people disliked this number, I felt sorry for 13. I like to root for the underdog. This classroom was meant just for me. (Squeal).
I can only imagine how I will feel when I meet my students.