We had a welcome session at school this evening for next year’s specialty center freshmen. A nice, easy-going event during which students were able to meet teachers, ask questions, get their summer reading assignments, learn about clubs. I was hoping the improv club I am helping spear-head would have shown up.
Oh well. Not that big of a deal. For dinner, I ate a Tropical Smoothie wrap while sitting in my car in the parking lot and listening to NPR. I know that I was fascinated by the article. I just wish I could remember what was being discussed. I know that I really wanted to remember it.
But as I walked into the building, my head started aching from a barometric-pressure headache because of the evening storms that were building off to the southwest. In the east, the direction my classroom faces, the sky was brilliant blue and open with clear sky and possibility. To the west, dark clouds banked against the horizon, created a steel wool world heavy with rain.
As the world turned around me and I headed into the building, I could feel the weight of the day pull on my shoulders. The fatigue that I don’t know that I have earned but still feel because last night my daughter kept on coming into my husband’s and my bedroom, complaining about belly aches and anxieties that she was going to throw up. Last night was a collection of dreams that felt more like nightmares.
Last night was optional sleeping and deep-heavy thunderstorms that I missed because once I fell asleep, I stayed in a deep, hard slumber that never felt restful.
This morning, I learned that my county is planning on switching school start times, of having elementary school children attending school starting at 7:45 and the high schools beginning at 9:30. In some respects, the incredible levels of dismay that I experienced was nearly blinding. I was thankful that my son would only have one year of this before graduating. And, at that point, I hope that he will already be going to community college more than high school.
My daughter, though, will be a freshmen.
Many high schools start at this time. I can see some of the possible benefits, that the time between school closing and the start of sports will be shortened. That students will sleep in and feel more rested.
Or will they merely stay up later and continue to play with their phones and not sleep despite what the CDC recommends?
High schoolers are not exactly known for their logic. A scientific study proved that high schoolers and adolescents struggle with making logical, comprehensive decisions.
Oh well. That is another day. And this decision is far outside my reach or ability to change.
The meeting at school went well. Students swarmed the cafeteria area and asked their questions and the older students did their best to comfort anxious parents and children alike. I stood and watched the evening unfold and rubbed the space above my eyes and tried to relieve the building pressure that made everything feel a bit off.
As the evening wrapped itself into a conclusion, I left the building to a darker collection of skies and I felt almost a sense of exultation. The storms were arriving and the pain hiding in the back of my eyes might finally be relieved.
On the road, the rain started falling, heavy, thick drops filled with the promise of summer. Thunder rumbled and the road blurred into streams of tar and concrete and water and I was merely skimming the surface of everything.
The times might be changing, literally. The year is coming to a close and I watching my family grow and change. The Girl is talking about joining National Junior Honor Society and debate club next year. The Boy is practicing for volleyball. My children who used to shun after-school activities are becoming more and more active in their respective schools.
My husband is four to six years from retiring from his first job and will start taking classes next fall. And with this change I will adjust the parameters of my life because…well because. Because I love him and I am watching his job literally wearing him down.
And I really do mean literally.
As the rain fell against my car, flooded up along the windshield and shuddered across my window, jazz music played from my radio and the rain became a baritone percussion that played in a stumbling counterpoint to the strict rhythm of the music.
Spring rains always make me think of promises, of change. In my front yard, I ripped out a garden that I loved but couldn’t care for. I have too many responsibilities and looking at a weed bed became too much of a reminder that I am stretching myself too thin over the boundaries of my life.
So I changed. I ripped out the rose bushes and the butterfly bush and gave them to my neighbors and I pulled out the yard fabric and declared myself free of the mess. I tossed down grass seed that still hasn’t sprouted and Pat is going to build in a couple of raised garden boxes for our blueberry bushes so we’ll remember to harvest.
I am simplifying my life and the rain tonight reminded me of my promise to myself. I keep on pushing myself backwards. Give into anxieties and doubt myself and not do what needs to be done.
Outside, the thunder has just rumbled against the night sky and I feel like God is reminding me that this is what I’m supposed to do.
Tomorrow, I will send in my university application, the paperwork. Tomorrow, I will collect my courage and finish off the work that I have started but just won’t do. Because I am afraid.
Tomorrow, not now. Because right now, I am an hour from bed and the university offices are closed. But I can listen to the rain fall and remember that I can do this. I can do this. I can live and not be afraid.