I’m subbing today at the Middle School I worked as a special needs aid for two years. I feel lucky that, out of 8 days subbing so far this year, 7 have been here at this school. These teachers know me and support me. I can make mistakes with people that already are aware of my successes. No more reinventing the wheel. It feels, in a nutshell, glorious. It feels safe. And from that place of safety, I can grow to be who God most wants me to be.
I have not always felt safe. I have the kind of mind that lives in the past or in the future. The present? It’s too frustrating. Here in the present is where the reality lives. The messy house. The lack of funds. The fears over my son’s Tourette’s. It’s also where my greatest joy lives when I remember to lean into it.
- A delicious cup of coffee at 530am with my morning prayers
- A beautiful new office to dream in
- A husband who works very hard to be on the same team with me these days.
- Trader Joes pumpkin spice samples and old ladies at Costco who hand out burrito squares and tell me about immigrating from Cuba. (Sidenote: Has anyone seen One Day at a TimOne Day at a Time on Netflix? Rita Morena plays a Cuban grandma in this remake and she is amazing! So funny!)
As I edge closer and closer to 50, I’m becoming more and more aware that my present only need be frustrating when I make it so. When I choose to accept reality exactly as it is… when I commit to being someone whose goal is to give to others, not take for myself, things feel perfect.
Last week, in a special day class, I had the kids begin home room by talking about what they were most grateful for. Most kids couldn’t think of anything (minus the few who were thankful for Fortnight and Sephora) so I created gratitude for them. “How about, you are happy for your sweatshirt, because you’re not cold?” or “How about you’re grateful for the free breakfast you are eating because now you can concentrate.” From there we went on to study the solar system and discuss why Pluto is more than just a Disney character and no longer considered a planet.
“I wonder if he feels rejected?” I quipped, following it up with, “And your phone will soon be rejected by YOU who will give it to ME if I see it again.”
With the phones safely stored away in oversized sweatshirts we finished the class. At the end, a short boy with floppy brown hair ambled up to me. He looked into my face with amber eyes and mumbled, “Ms. Frizzle, I’m graaaful fa mefily.”
“What?” I asked, having no idea what he said.
He repeated in a soft whisper, “Ms. Frizzle, I’m graaaful fa mefily.”
I still couldn’t decipher it. “One more time, sweetie,” I asked, leaning in even closer.
“I’M GRATEFUL FOR MY FAMILY.”
He walked away then, big smile on his face.
And if I chose to look back, he’d see one on mine.
And maybe a little tear. (But don’t tell anyone. I work with Middle Schoolers. I don’t want them thinking I’m going soft.)
Until next time…
May God grant you the serenity to accept the tics you cannot change, the courage to change the tics you can, and the wisdom to know the difference.