Diapers and Dragons

Friday, December 17, 2010

Grace Notes

This has been a hard week. You'd think that having two snow days to start out the week would make it Teh Awesome, and it kinda sorta did, but driving on the Worst Ever In People's Memory roads wasn't a great joy, and the last couple of weeks have tended to be full of Stress! Stress! Drama! while quite short on Sleep! Blessed Sleep! Also, imagine the fun of trying to cram five days' worth of work into three before the students flee for a two-week break. Fun Times.

So stomachs have been clenched, muscles have been knotted, and teeth have been gritted. Needless to say, tempers have also been short.

Yesterday, in fact, MTL arrived home in a horrible mood--the worst, he confessed, since we've been together. My mood wasn't sunshine and daisies either. At one point, while trying to convince the %&#()@ cabinet drawer to get back on its runner and slide back in dammit, I slid back against the opposing cabinet, lowered my head to my knees, and let the tears just flow for a little while. It's all just the buildup of everything that has been going on, especially with The Dark One, and work stress, and extended family stress, and reaching a point of Deep Core Stuff in therapy, and....yeah.

Fortunately for those around us, MTL and I are self-aware enough to clamp down on our tongues and do our damnedest to Think before we React when we're highly stressed. I won't say we didn't trip up a bit last night, but there weren't the rages or tempestuous fights or OMG EVERYONE JUST GO AWAY moments that could very well happen at times like that.

Thank God. Which I mean literally, because I believe He helped, even if it was just having our guardian angels lay a finger on our lips from time to time so they didn't open until we'd had a moment to think first. And I'm also thankful that He gave us each other, because being able to debrief with and vent to and comfort each other goes a long way toward making it all survivable.

Today...well, today is a new day. MTL didn't get much sleep again last night, but I did, so at least one of us has some renewed energy to deal with Stuff. And it's the last day of school before Winter Break. And my students are being very sweet.

You know, it tends to be elementary teachers who get the cache of holiday gifts (which reminds me--OOPS) more so than secondary, but sometimes we still get a little something here and there from kids who want to suck up love us. My kids know my weakness. Oh yes, they do. A dear former student who was very sad to discover she would  not have me for honors English 11 this year showed up a couple of days ago with an adorable frosted sugar cookie man. Today another student handed me a heavy gift bag that contains a massive box of fancy European cookies. Yet another gave me a box of six Godiva Truffle Bars and a $10 Godiva gift card. (The girl is GOOD.) And knowing my tenth graders, I'll most likely have another few gifts as the day goes on.

But you know what my favorite gift was today? The handwritten note that accompanied the Godiva. Inside, it reads:
Dear Ms. [TeacherMommy],
So I swear to god, I'm not just kissing ass when I say this, but, thanks for being the first teacher in 5 years to make me love English again.
It used to be my favorite subject and I'm not sure what happened, but I'm actually starting to enjoy it finally.
So thanks.

I really need to start scrapbooking all those kinds of notes and cards and emails and whatnot. That's the sort of thing to pull out on the rough days.

Life is messy and difficult and sometimes overwhelming, but it's the little things that matter. The notes of appreciation from students, the kisses and cuddles and You're so pretty, Mommy! from my kidlets, the teasing from my stepson that says he is comfortable and affectionate with me in his own way, the I love you! on the phone from my younger stepdaughter, walking out to a car scraped off and warming up each morning thanks to MTL, the look in his eyes when he sees me, the words of appreciation and love that he gives me for the things I do to keep this crazy family up and running, laughter around the table while we eat or play UNO...

And above all, the sense that as crazy as life can be, I am Home.

5 bits of love:

Katie said...

I personally believe that teachers should be sent on tropical vacations over Christmas breaks. I know I have said this before but I really don't know how you teachers do it. You amaze me.
The letter from your student was priceless and it has inspired me to write one of my own to my English teacher from 11 & 12th grade. I treated her poorly because, you know, I KNEW EVERYTHING and she didn't know jack shit. (Ugh. I could punch myself for that behavior.)I need to apologize for that.

Hope things are back to stressless-ish (is that a word?)soon.

MomZombie said...

I hope you get sleep and some relaxation during your break. Oh, and happy birthday before I forget. Hugs from across town.

mom said...

I like grace notes -- glad you have them, and glad you know where they come from. It is no small thing to think first before speaking when the stress level is going through the roof! And that is one huge grace, to get that letter just now from that student. Do that scrapbook!

GingerB said...

Well done you, for biting your tongue. I've been a bit shouty lately with a boatload of stress riding on my back, but now both girls are sick so I have to stop yelling about small stuff . . . boo. I love crazy person thank yous!! I recently Got a "God Bless You as You Recover" card (I was not actually ill or compromised in any way yet) really to apologize for her own behavior, and a gentleman in court said "first I want to tell you that you are the least condescending judge I've ever appeared before" and I think actually guffawed in open court. I am glad you are appreciated, at least some of the time!

4everalway5 said...

You can do it! And you're right, He is a great helper in our times of need when we let him be. Just remember, your blogger friends are here to listen when you need to "detox."

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