There are moments when the walls come closing in on you, when you’re certain you can’t keep going, when you feel like you’ve had your fill, when you‘re certain you just can’t take anymore. Those moments are usually followed with the realization that none of it is your choice. It’s just not your call. Do we have a hand in making it all happen? Sure, but we don’t get to wish it all away. It doesn’t work that way. Never has. Never will.
I’m fed up with the red tape we’re all tripping over as educators. We get in the way of ourselves, finding new ways to self-destruct, all while watching what we’re really here for slip through our fingers. When all is said and done, though, we’ve only got ourselves to blame. These monsters we create – numbers taking the place of data, and paperwork taking the place of people – are our masterpieces, idolizing objectivity and mocking subjectivity.
Blessed beyond measure, and far more well off than most people, I still think anyone with even a basic understanding of money would only be honest calling me a financial train wreck. I never regret spending a single cent both supporting and even splurging on my two daughters; however, two divorces, alimony, child support payments, debt, and necessary expenses can create some tight situations. And, when you work your way through bankruptcy, and you hope to find a light at the end of the tunnel, another thing comes to cozy up with you in your lap. Having only yourself to blame doesn’t make the blow any softer.
Woe is me. Sure. Whatever. I have a lot of stuff going on. We all do. I struggle with my work. We all do. Here’s the thing, though: None of it matters. Relishing the challenges along with the celebrations is what makes it real. All that really matters is what we make of it, how we choose to embrace it, and where we let it take us.
It wasn’t that long ago that I stressed to no end how to prevent my oldest daughter from being interested in having a relationship with anyone beyond me, her mother, her sisters, her step-parents, her family, her friends. And, by friends, I mean, of course, FRIENDS. That stress moved to attempting to determine how to delay her interest. Finally, it moved to figuring out how to accept her interest. Parenting is quite the animal, and taming and controlling the animal isn’t the goal – Caring for, teaching, learning from, and loving the animal is the goal.
So, there I was, working with my oldest daughter to support her creative idea in asking her boyfriend to the Sadie Hawkins dance. Laughing with her about her word play, feeling excited about how to help her make it all go well, helping her pick out some matching t-shirts for the dance, and even picking up and dropping off some tacos as part of the lunchtime proposal. Heck, I was waiting anxiously to find out how it all went (I even had to text her since I couldn’t wait for her to let me know in her own way, in her own time). Now, I can get into my issue with this and other traditions at schools, and I can rattle on about my concerns with the school mascot, and I can share a lot of words about healthy and unhealthy relationships, but all of that can and should be for another time. You can count on the fact that I’m still going to, and always will, guard her and my younger daughter as well with my life. Still, this stuff, other stuff – it’s what we make of it. Truly, it is, all of it. Cherish it.