Where the inside of my mind leaks onto the screen.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Saving the Butterfly

The dream. The meaning.

I'm straightening my classroom when a student calls my attention to a mason jar filled with water. In it is a butterfly, clearly dying due to being submerged in water.  I stop everything to handle the odd but small situation. When I unscrew the lid and reach in my hand, I pull out not a butterfly, but a palm-sized black dog, gagging on the butterfly stuck in its esophagus. 

I reassure the distressed little pup and the student and commit to doing what I can to save the butterfly. I coax the dog's mouth open. Unable to make any progress and afraid to stick my hand down the throat of a dog, I scoop the poor thing up and rush to the vet.

I recall that this vet will see any patient without an appointment and charges a flat rate of $160. Proud that I have enough money in my savings to swipe without negative repercussions, I move confidently toward the counter.

Then I realize I am about to need the dog's immunizations records. I certainly don't have that, so I prepare to beg forgiveness and just offer the dog's age as the best I can do.  But then I realize I don't know that. Flustered, I take the last step toward the receptionist as I silently reach the conclusion that I don't even know the dog's name.

Dread fills me as I process what hinges on this moment: the life of a butterfly, the comfort of a tiny puppy, the peace of mind of the identifying student. Despair fills me when I comprehend that unless I can provide the basic information to check this dog in, I will be denied access to the help I so desperately need.

This is when I wake up. And as with so many dreams I have, the real meaning is clear. I have been so incredibly stressed lately with a class with so many needs I simply can't meet them all. Additionally, I worry constantly about what impact being separated from their dad is having on my kids. Unsolvable problems with effects rippling into the futures of so many little lives. And though I try, I simply cannot access the basic information necessary to save them from harm. Any of them. And now that distressed little dog's face is emblazoned in my memory. My fears looking back at me through puppy dog eyes. I awake wondering if I could have saved any of them but knowing that at very least, the butterfly was unsavable from the start.

Friday, November 8, 2019


I got to do a thing for the very first time today.  I got to get my kids ready for school and wish them well at the door.  That's right.  I'm not going to school today.

It hasn't stopped me from obsessing over everything that needs to happen in my classroom today.  But for the first time in my teaching career, I won't be the one doing it.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Artists Challenge

I was nominated by a friend to take part in a theater/artist's challenge to post 10 pictures of moments I felt fierce while performing. But I can't. 

Theater right now for me is a sore spot. My mental health is much improved when I leave those memories shoved tightly down in the brain box I am using to compartmentalize like a champ.

Theater hurts. Because I chose to leave a place I loved in the name of "doing the right thing," and I don't actually think it mattered. Because my goal to be a highly sought after music director in my community was right within my grasp, but Kirk's move to Georgia meant I have had to turn down five paying offers at three different theaters. Because the world of community theater has changed over the last ten years, and I don't have the right communication style to direct in the new landscape. 

I do feel fierce. It just isn't theater that gets me there right now.

I feel fierce when I check my kids' grades and they collectively have no missing work. 

I feel fierce when I meet my savings goals. 

I feel fierce when I look at my postcard collection and know I bought some of the myself. 

I feel fierce when my kids look through my ChatBooks.

I feel fierce when I explain a facet of ADHD in a way that clicks for someone. 

I feel fierce when I fight for the underdog.

I feel fierce when I beat David at a game.

I feel fierce when I watch my kids choose activities that aren't video games.

I feel fierce when someone recognizes my efforts in my classroom. 

I feel fierce when I vote.

No, it's not the challenge Jose intended, but it is the life I've got. And it looks like I have plenty to be proud of!

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Ode to the Bonus Dad

Today he did far more parenting than I did. He brought the kids to school, and he was the one who turned around mid-trip for hot glue when the big project got damaged on the ride. He picked the kids up from school when I, frantic and harried from a quick transition from theater auditions to a parent meeting, barely had time to say hello.

Presumably, he made dinner. I don't know because I am not home yet. I am off to teach the voice lesson that allows me to afford Alex's tennis lessons, and I am missing all the family time.  

Soon, he'll coax the lethargic teen into actually moving and will run him to baseball practice 30 minutes from home. This I know because I gave him the rundown of today's tricky schedule, and he asked, "What can I do?"

I will stagger home exhausted near 8 pm tonight, and this man will finally get to spend a little time with the woman he fell in love with. That time will likely be spent discussing the kids' highs and lows of the day and preparing them for bed.

When Dylan knocks at 9:30 with a minor complaint, he will compassionately address it and move mountains if necessary to help Dylan feel cared for.

Today, he did more parenting than I did, this man who has made room in his home and his heart for a circus he never planned on.

I can't wait to get home and tell him how much I appreciate it.

On Hate

Things that don't annoy me:
- others decorating for Christmas early
- the pervasive presence of pumpkin spice
- pickles (yes, I said it...)

Things that do annoy me:
- people turning the internet into a slog of meaningless complaints

And here's why.  I have a ten year old that "hates" everything. He throws the word around like beads at Mardi Gras. I spend a solid portion my existence trying to imbue him with a little tolerance.

I have a classroom full of eleven year olds to whom I attempt to impart some social skills. We work on avoiding name calling, and oh how I try to teach them not to use group labels as insults.

Then I use social media, the playground of the adult world, and I see hate, name-calling, and insults slung at will. Yes, amongst friends, it's generally faux hate. But I guess I am at a loss for when hating things became fun.

Can we go back to the days when people ranted on their blogs and Facebook was for sharing pictures of our food?

I hate.