Life has been anything but normal lately, and it seems like an eternity since last Wednesday, the day the decision was announced to close down a school with a long history, a lasting impact, and a large following of resilient, courageous fighters from so many walks of life. I reminded Beau that it was just a week ago that I sat at a parent meeting, desperate to make sense of a plan that seemed so wrong on so many levels, and we both agreed that it seemed like forever ago since then. And while the morale and motivation of the entire university is at an all-time low right now, people keep going. They keep fighting. And the longer I live through this disaster, the more I realize just how amazing people can be.
If you live close enough to read our daily headlines in the Waterloo Courier, you know that to write about this chapter of my life right now would be next to impossible, especially when it seems I'm using all my writing time these days to write legislatures/presidents/board of regents/resumes/cover letters/lesson plans... But, I also know this story is important to my life, one way or another, and that someday, I'll reflect. But for now, I'm settling for fragments. Because that's just about all my mind can do right now.
The fragmented pieces of my week...
1. Life is raw right now at school. I've seen more teachers break down in front of their students this week than I have in the 20+ years I've been a student. My friend, Megan, started crying at the white board yesterday during a lesson on the quadratic formula. The morale is low, yet, I feel closer to my colleagues than ever before.
2. It's all about the little things. A family who supplies Panera bagels in our conference room, hoping the cream cheese will raise the spirits of the faculty, or the mid-stride hug from an elementary teacher walking her class to the library.
3. When a faculty votes 'no confidence' in their leaders, they mean business.
4. I've debated wearing sweatpants to school every morning this week.
5. My student from France interrupted class the other day to ask us if we have 'unemployment' in our country. Except, since she couldn't pronounce the word, she searched it on dictionary.com and played the voice recording of the word over and over again to make sure we got it. She said when she told her mom about our school crisis, her mom replied that it was unfortunate since our country didn't believe in 'unemployment.' ;)
6. I've thought long and hard about future professions I might explore - everything from a sales associate at Express, to a stay-at-home-mommy, to a professional party planner. I've decided each would encourage me to spend much more than I'd bring home.
7. Last year, our school was headed to Des Moines to watch our boys play in the State Basketball Tournament for the fourth consecutive year; this year, our students are headed to Des Moines to meet with legislatures and lobby for their school.
8. On Monday, Beau and I traveled to Hampton to visit Beau's Grandma J for the last time. Beau said he always knew he'd be there when she passed. It was an emotionally exhausting day, yet there's peace knowing she's in Heaven with her arms around her husband - something she's waited for for nearly half her life.
9. When life sucks, there's nothing better than babies and warm brownies. Check that. Warm brownies with ice cream, fresh raspberries, and whipped cream. Thanks to Cruz showing off his love of bacon, and Gina's amazingly wonderful brownies, we felt comfort amidst our sadness. Because as the amazing Sherman Alexie says, "when it comes to death, we know that laughter and tears are pretty much the same thing."
10. I think Cruz can sense life has been a little out of the ordinary lately, so, he's sought to bring some routine back to our lives. The last three mornings in a row, he's woke up around 5 am, requesting 'Me-mo,' otherwise known as 'Elmo.' And every morning, while I drag myself out of bed to shower, Beau and Cruz curl up in front of the TV and watch some Sesame Street.
Hoping I can see this forest through the trees soon :)