Monday, July 25, 2011

Happy to be Home

Saturday night, about six o'clock, a mini-van of four tired, but renewed Price Lab colleagues pulled into the parking lot behind the school.  In the parking lot sat a single car, parked beside the 30-minute parking sign, with a daddy and his son leaning against its side, pointing at us as we pulled in.  It wasn't the movie-like airport greeting, complete with a sign that read, 'Welcome Home Mommy' and a bouquet of flowers in the hands of the man who had missed me so, but the emotions were all the same.  I caught one look at the two of them waiting for me and lost it.  It had been four days apart, the longest Beau and I had been apart in seven years, and by far the longest I have been away from Cruz.  I was overjoyed to see the two of them and couldn't stop kissing those chubby cheeks the rest of the night.

The conference I attended was great, but the opportunity to get to know three of my colleagues away from school was the highlight of the trip.  It was a new adventure for me traveling by myself, and I had to pay attention to the details Beau usually takes upon himself when we travel: lugging my suitcase around the airport, stuffing my carry-on bag in the overhead bin, and making sure I had my hotel room key with me.  There were things about the independence I enjoyed.  A luxury hotel room all to myself, the freedom to go to bed, wake up, and shower without bothering anyone, and a queen-sized bed for one.  I realized I could never have a job that required me to live out of a suitcase, but a chance to get away from the usual routines of my job every now and then is definitely an added bonus. 

The conference we attended was ASCD's Leader 2 Leader Conference.  ASCD (formerly the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development) is an educational leadership organization that seeks to advance best practices in education and improve the school experience for every learner.  Its Whole Child initiative takes learning beyond the academic achievement of a student and develops approaches to ensure that every student is Healthy, Safe, Supported, Engaged, and Challenged.  These Whole Child tenets have been at the forefront of our school's mission for quite some time, and we were awarded the first ever ASCD Whole Child Vision in Action Award last year for our work in these areas.

It's pretty amazing to sit in a room with teachers, administrators, and policy makers from all over the world and have them recognize the name, 'Price Laboratory School.'  It's pretty amazing to share stories with teachers from Boston Public Schools, Chicago Public Schools, and Orange County Schools, and realize the magnitude of the profession we are in.  I became a little more comfortable with this whole Twitter world, and feel ready and re energized for the upcoming school year.  I am thankful to teach at a pretty cool place, and especially thankful for the amazing group of people I get to work with everyday. 

Cruz had a whirlwind of visitors while I was gone; in fact, Beau didn't have a whole lot of time to just play 'dad,' but had enough to realize all that really does go into Cruz's day-to-day schedule.  It felt pretty good to hear him say, 'Wow, I didn't realize all that you take care of for him.'  He is the best dad, however, and made sure Cruz was bathed, fed, and well-rested before my return Saturday.  Between Cruz's grandmas and great-grandma, he had more than enough love and attention for four days.  Cruz even had a day with Charly, complete with a car ride to my parents' in Allison.  Beau periodically sent pictures to keep me in the loop about their 'guys' weekend,' and we even 'tried' Skyping Friday night.  Friday night was a little interesting for the two of them, as he tried spending the night at my parents, only to wake up with a shoulder he couldn't move and a baby who refused to sleep.  Beau ended up driving home in the middle of the night and icing his shoulder while Cruz took over my side of the bed.  

We made it and each learned a little bit more about ourselves in the process.  All in all, we've got a pretty strong network of people who keep our life afloat when the waves of change come our way.  I'm so thankful to be home, but even more thankful for the people in our lives.  Cruz is one lucky little boy, and his parents don't have it so bad, either.

We were happy to see each other.

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