Sunday, December 4, 2016

It's the Small Stuff That Counts

Last week was refreshing - a stop and consider type of refreshing. The kind that realigns your heart and mind, allowing your perspective to broaden. First, I realized I have only two weeks of the college semester left, that I've essentially made it to the end! All that crazy almost done. Hard to believe, but such a relief.

Then my son had a sleep over birthday party. I set a limited number of 12 year old boys who could crash at my house, but my husband said "No, invite them all." When I bulked (I don't "do" bigger groups of younger kids well) he said he'd take over the party. And that he did. I made sure the party had what it needed and hung out for happy birthday, then split. (Yes, I came back and spent the night listening to nonstop chatter except between the hours of 3am-6am, so I didn't totally abandon my husband to the mob!) But what a husband. Knowing I have limits to what I can take with a huge group of crazy younger kids, he was more than willing to take over and let me escape for the craziest part of it.

And escape I did, thanks to one of my best friends answering my picture and rhetorical question on IG about needing to escape the number of running, noisy bodies in my house. Hang out time and a movie and just a really nice night. It is rare to find people you can completely be yourself around. I have foot in mouth disease - the bad combination of a big mouth and a strong-will - so it's refreshing to find someone who knows who I am and I don't have to replay the night in worry later.

The weekend was also shared with a family friend who comes by once a week to watch movies with us. He owns over 2,000 movies and we've currently been binge watching our way through seasons of Survivor. We've been at it for 18 months now and we're on season 23...that's 11 1/2 years of Survivor! It's always a great night when he is with us - we usually eat dinner or have snacks and cheer or yell as needed at competitions that are years gone. Lol.

And the moments that started the refreshing of these past couple days were with my students. My Seniors, the majority of whom were my Juniors last year, started presenting their "Things That Happened to Me" slideshows last Thursday and finish up tomorrow. Based on Oskar Schell's photo book of the same name in Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, I asked them to choose a combination 20 pictures of their own and internet that show me who they are. I don't think I've enjoyed any other project as much.

Can't put up my students' pictures,
but this is where we meet.
My Seniors told me where they've been and where they're going; what they've failed and what they've accomplished; what makes them laugh and what makes them cry; who they love and who loves them; how the world has changed them and how they want to change the world; how they're broken and how they've healed. They've shared their families, friends, pets, jobs, favorite colors, hobbies, interests, secrets, and dozens of little things in between. I've enjoyed every word of every presentation the past two days. How could I not?

According to the state of Pennsylvania they're my job, but to me, they're simply my kids. And soon enough, after two years in my classroom, they'll be graduating. So this week, for now, I am going to enjoy my time with them and all they're willing to share.

Yes, we have work to do, friendships have tough times, my kids and their friends can be a crazy bunch, my husband and I may not always be so mindful of each other, and my current journey is CRAZY, but it's the day-to-day where life happens - memories are made, lessons are learned, and lives are fortified.

It's the small stuff that counts.

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