Exhaustion. Conflict. Perspective.

Wake up. Go to work. Try to live through the day unscathed. But that is impossible as my day is filled with young children and their stories, trials and tribulations, dramas, ecstasies, disappointments, injured body parts or feelings, personal traumas, disgrace in front of peers. Everything in Kindergarten in a GREAT BIG DEAL and never happens on an adult’s timeline. (It shouldn’t.) Everything in Kindergarten is and should be about stories and connection, and those things take time. IMG_7403

But there is no time. We have to get to lunch before we’re reminded not to be late to lunch. No matter there was a fit in the middle of reading and we have to figure out how to wrap up a lesson and get kids in jackets and handle shoving in line, hitting in line, “she cut in line!” walking like a snail in line and emergency pee situations in line on the way to the cafeteria that would take a short statured adult about .30 seconds to do.

Here’s an apt analogy. Kindergarten is like a your most chaotic morning getting your one or two kids awake, fed, teeth brushed, lunches, homework packed, project carried delicately on the way to car so it won’t get destroyed, dealing with sibling issues in the car, each child’s insecurities and sensitivities in perspective, dropped off on time or mostly on time, and then getting yourself to work on time. If you are like my friend from school that teaches Kindergarten FT and has 10 kids of HER OWN you get a lifetime pass, and your mornings are something I cannot conceive of and your patience is a blessing directly from God and you have angels following you around, clearly.  My friend is so completely calm all the time, I just want to sit next to her as meditation.

Oh my GOD just typing this I thank God for letting me be done with 90% of active parenting duties. My personal live-in teenager is here only half the time and is 14, so my caregiving duties mean shoving food at her and reminding her to bathe, along with sage wisdom about life that I dispense whether she wants to hear it or not.

BUT. I’m going to keep complaining because I am not as big a person as my friend. I am weak and desperately imperfect and all I can do to solve my problems is to write about them. And this is my blog and if you didn’t want to listen to my perspective you wouldn’t be here. I never alluded to being perfect or having all my shit personal baggage unpacked and solved. And my friend is usually embarrassed when I compliment her. SHE’S THAT AMAZING. It is my life’s path to teach with teachers so much calmer and better than me. Thank you, God.

BACK TO ME. So, after the crazy day with a room and school full of other parents’ kids I go home. Attempt to not let my hard day, frustrations, fears, anger, joy, aching stomach or uneasy bladder from no trips to the restroom today create a fight with family members that include an adult male I adore, four pets I adore, and a teenager I adore and is only there every other week.

I try to stay clear, focused on the good stuff. Make something to eat for family members. Put a new roll of toilet paper on the holder because no one else ever seems to notice. Wash and fold 3 loads of laundry.  Notice dog bedding is disgusting and needs washed, wash that, too. Take out recycling. Wipe counters. Clean up after dinner. Maybe drink a class of wine while folding laundry or putting dishes in the dishwasher. Attempt a moment at personal time on Pinterest, doing Tarot cards, praying, drinking water, or watching a short thing on TV. I may look at my guitar with longing but currently have no energy to do something I’m not very good at (no matter how I love it) and everyone else already went to sleep an hour ago anyway. Fall asleep on the couch sitting up. Wake up a hour later snoring and finally go to sleep.

Repeat. It is SO HARD.

Who am I to think this is actually bad?

Programming, clearly. Because what I listed above is actually LIFE and is amazing. It is beautiful and full.  How lucky and blessed I am to have a life so full of potential and with people that love me enough to want to tell me their stories, eat my food, trust me to wash laundry or do the dogs’ toenails? How lucky can I be to have the privilege to spend my day in a building filled with learners that are (mostly) happy to be there, with smiling co-workers that smile in the face of defeat and are overjoyed at my joys?

It humbles me completely and makes me realize how blessed I am. And I have to pause and have some perspective for the moments when things go sideways and there is conflict. Most of the time this insanely intense story I live in balances itself and things go pretty smoothly. I have some seriously worn pathways from my beginnings that tell me that at any sign of conflict or dissent I should a.) run or b.) try to be the fixer or c.) give up what I want for the greater good.

Running doesn’t help because I take my drama with me. And now in the days of social media and texting, whoa nelly, watch out, because that might just be the worst idea ever.

Fixing doesn’t work at all, even though I usually fall into the trap of thinking it will. I try to fix things to fit how I think they should be most of the time, not how is best for the other person or people. I have to work really hard to see that my job is not to fix anything. It never works.

Giving up doesn’t help either. It just makes me into a martyr because I get pissed off that no one knew what I wanted, and now I’m a passive aggressive jerk that has a story in my head now of “I never get what I want.”

I’m calling BS on myself . IMG_7402

While the term conflict generally is associated with negative encounters, conflict itself is neither inherently good nor inherently bad. In fact, engaging in conflict can have positive effects on relationships and organizations. Managing conflicts well is a sign of maturity.                    -from Hearst Publications

I cxan just have a conflict. I can just say what I felt and what I need and let the other person say what they felt and what they need, recognizing that it is NOT my job to worry about what the other cperson might not be saying or c overanalyzing them. Oh I’m so bad at this. I have an entire chess game of social interaction in my head, with every plausible outcome already mapped out and I’m completely sure you have a million hateful things you’re thinking about me and I am trying to come up with a solution and story for every.one.of.them.

You are probably just pissed off that I was late for our lunch (I will always be and I’m sorry about this character flaw.) or I forgot to text you when I said I would, or I misplaced that handout you gave me for the second time and now am asking for a third,  or I was grumpy in the morning and didn’t greet you kindly.

And you, being of more sound mind and body, can just get pissed off, and move on. I hold onto it like it’s the magic goose’s golden egg, as Bilbo’s ring, as Harry Potter’s soul to Voldemort. I don’t let go very well.

But I’m working on it.

In totally separate news, I went for a walk with my exceptionally tall 18 year old son and our dog today, and for the first time in our lives, I cannot keep up with him at my regular pace. I have to walk double time to keep up. It is so beautiful to see him grow and be a man and be so amazing in every way.  But it also stabs me with painful sadness of how quickly life moves on.

Thank you, God.

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