Sunday, September 20, 2020

I wrote the first post today after a hiatus of almost four years...

 I woke this morning after that dream and felt I needed to write it down.  My first thought was to dig out a notebook and write it there, and then I thought of texting it to a fellow teacher-friend, and then I realized that I could write a blog post about that dream and share it.

 I haven't written on my blog in... a very long time.  I looked, and I realized that the last time I wrote anything on this blog was 2016.  And so much has happened... and yet... so much feels the same.

  I worked, I slept, I ate, I did all the things I do--except for write.  I didn't write about any of it.  I don't have such a huge following here that anyone noted that I hadn't written anything in a long time--or, if they did notice, they didn't comment or ask or wonder in any way that I could tell.

  It's amazing that it's been so long.  I have no excuse, no real reason why I stopped writing, except that I didn't feel like it.  I didn't feel as though I had 1) anything to say and/or 2) anyone to listen to me say that I had nothing to say.

  So, if you had wondered about me at all, now you know the truth.  I was living my very routine life, and the very routineness of it all made me think I didn't have anything to talk about (or anything that anyone would want to hear/read about).

  I still don't know if I have anything to talk about that is worth reading, and I can't promise that I will begin writing on this blog again with any regularity, but I at least now have let you all (hi, Mom) that I still know how to post something.

  I am still building cathedrals and looking for ponies, and, I hope I can say this: 2020 must have a lot of ponies to find, what with all the digging through ... we're having to do.

I had a horrible dream about school...

 School dreams.  Every teacher I know gets them.  Usually, the dreams surface before the start of the school year.  The teacher is inappropriately clothed in front of class, or he/she forgets the lesson being taught, or some student is refusing to do what the teacher is asking.  All these are normal school dreams, and all teachers have had them (and more) at one point or another.

  This year (2020) has added to those dreams, brought on by stress and fear and the unknown.  I've seen my peers on Facebook talking about their horrible school dreams, and I commiserate with them, for I've had those, too. 

  And then I had this morning's dream.  I've had dreams before where I had dreams within dreams (I am not assuming they're prophetic), but this felt so real.  I dreamed that I had missed school--that I had fallen asleep and not awakened at my three alarms.  I dreamed that I walked in to the school at the end of the day once I had actually woken up and realized I'd missed it, only to find the administrators all waiting for me to explain why I had missed school and had not called in to get a sub.  

   I explained first to one, then another, and then yet another (all not actual administrators for my school, I realized, once I awoke and was mulling it over) why I, who had perfect attendance for most of my long teaching career, had just "skipped" without contact.  To make matters worse, there was a school board meeting (in my classroom, which was kind of like my that should have clued me in to the fact it was a dream), and I was going to have to go before the board to explain my dereliction of duty.

  My dream excuse was this: "I woke up at three in the morning and couldn't go back to sleep, so I got onto Canvas to do some work and plan for the day.  I then must have fallen asleep in front of the computer, but I didn't realize I'd fallen asleep.  In my dream, I got up at my alarm, got showered and ready, and left the house as I always did.  I even dreamed I carpooled with my carpool buddy and listened to her audiobook as we drove to school.  I went to first hour, took the kids' temperatures, and started my lessons.  I went through the whole day in my dream, teaching the virtual kids on zoom while also engaging the students in my classrooms, all the while answering emails from parents and students about how to fix their computer issues at home or to explain for the fourth time how to find a particular assignment.  

   "I did all the things: grading, adding new content to Canvas to keep it interesting, emailing a student's parent about his grades and why he was failing, eating a cold and hurried lunch in my classroom so I could make some phone calls to the virtual students' parents about how their children weren't following the behavior expectations on zoom, and keeping track of the attendance and participation of all the kids on the umpteen spreadsheets I've had to create so that I could document all of those things.

  "At some point in my dream about the school day, I explained, I woke up to find myself still in my PJs, sitting in front of my computer, and realizing by the light streaming in the window that it was well into the day.  I looked at the clock in the bottom right corner of my computer screen and realized that the school day was almost over.  I panicked and reached for my phone.  Surprisingly, I had received no phone calls from anyone at the school.  Could I have mistaken the day?  Was it the weekend?  I checked the calendar in the bottom right corner of my computer screen and realized that it was Monday--not a day off.  Cringing inside, I shakingly called the school, and the secretary said I was expected to come up to school for the school board meeting."

   And that's how I ended up in my dream, walking into the school building, feeling the dread of what was to come causing my heart to beat erratically and my knees to shake. I walked up to the first administrator to give my excuse, and I wanted to ask why no one had called me, why no one had bothered to check to see if I were okay since I had not missed a day for illness or non-school related reasons for many years.  Instead, I meekly told administrator after administrator that I had not shown up for school because I had, in my dream, already been at school.  And then I had to speak in front of the school board to convince them I should not be fired, all the while knowing that there was nothing I could do to change their minds.

  And that's how I woke up this morning--disturbed and worried and, ultimately, relieved when I realized it was Sunday.  And then I checked my phone and saw thirteen emails from school.  Sigh.  I certainly hope that dream wasn't prophetic.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

I miss being a grandkid....

      I was watching an episode of "Farmhouse Rules" I had recorded on my DVR, and I found myself in tears. That is not usually the response one expects from watching a Food Network television show. While Nancy Fuller was making cinnamon rolls for her grandkids, I had a bit of a meltdown: I miss my grandparents. One set of grandparents lived on a farm on the outskirts of a Midwest college town; the other set lived in a cozy suburb to a big city next to an even bigger lake. It was the best of both worlds for me; I could enjoy the country life and the city life whenever I visited.
      I remember the fun we would have when we would visit the farm. In the summer, my sister and I would get to play outside in the fresh country air. We'd ride on wooden horses that we would drag around the acreage or the orchard or the barn. We'd go out to the cow pasture or into the corn crib or out to the garden. It was heaven. Grandma would make simple but wonderful meals: dinner would be Iowa-cut pork chops, fresh corn, and creamy mashed potatoes. Dessert would include angel food cake slices with fresh strawberry sauce or cookies and ice cream. Breakfast would be toast and scrambled eggs with orange juice or cereal with ice-cold milk. I remember her making cinnamon rolls, too, which is one of the reasons Nancy Fuller's show made me cry. I have so many great memories of spending time at the farm. Being a grandchild of farming grandparents made for a great time. 
     And then we'd visit the grandparents in the big city and get to experience all that entailed. We'd go to the museum or the zoo or a ball park. Summer was filled with parades and summer fests and traveling around all of the wonderful places in the big city. Or we'd stay at home and play in the pool in the backyard. If it got too hot, we could go downstairs in the cool basement and play lots of fun games we'd make up. We'd help grandma make yummy baked chicken and rice pilaf or Swedish meatballs and mashed potatoes (usually just for Christmas, but we could convince her....). Dessert would be ice cream or cake or cookies we helped her bake. Breakfast the next morning would be cereal or waffles. Belgian waffles. With syrup or strawberries or powdered sugar. We'd spend evenings playing board games or, that one Christmas, making a gingerbread house and having to send people to the store to get more ingredients. And the grocery store wasn't the only place to visit. The shopping! We could go to a mall that was bigger than my whole town; I swear it. Okay, maybe not as big as my whole town, but it was big. We would go shopping, well, at least window-shopping, and try on fashionable, cool clothes and experience the big city life.
        Spending time with either set of grandparents was a blessing that I don't think I took advantage of; no, scratch that, I totally know I didn't take advantage of it. I remember time spent at the farm wishing I were at home so I could go to the pool with my friends. I remember time spent in the big-city wishing I were at home so I could go to the local library to get some silly book. I particularly remember one summer we got to spend an entire week in the big city, but all my sister and I wanted to do was hang out at the house and be sullen pre-teenagers. Grandma and Grandpa got a bit miffed with us, in fact, and told us that they might as well send us home early since we weren't going to have any fun.
      What made me sad while I watched the show today was that Nancy made special pancakes with sausages in them so that her grandkids would have a special memory of spending time together with her. It was a poignant moment for me because I do have those special memories of spending time with my grandparents; however, I also try to push those memories into boxes that I store in the back of my mind because, while they are wonderful and happy memories, I'm sad. My grandparents are gone. I won't get to make new memories with them ever again this side of eternity.
       I'm not good at being vulnerable or open with my grief. I'm much better at hiding the sadness behind busyness or hermit-like behavior. Too often, I allow myself to stop feeling the grief instead of pushing myself to feel it so that I can move forward. One of the reasons I haven't written in my blog for so long - I have no idea if anyone even noticed - is that while my blog has been a way to communicate to whomever wants to see it, I didn't want to share.
        Maybe I was supposed to watch that show because it's time to start thinking about and sharing those memories with those who want to know them. In fact, I should probably share this with family who know exactly how I feel. Maybe they'll read my blog.