Tuesday, December 25, 2018

No choice but to pause

At Christmas
We have no choice but to pause
As shopping halts,
Traffic dissipates,
The focus on gifting fades.
No choice but to pause
As we think of
Those we love.
Our children,
Their children,
Our nieces, nephews, cousins,
Our friends.

No choice but to pause
As we think of
Tables, pews, couches,
Where we once sat,
Places where we gathered
To celebrate family and friendship.

No choice but to pause
As thoughts of those 
No longer in our lives
Fill our hearts
Like my mother
Who would have been 88 today,
My brother, who would have
Gobbled too many gingerbread.

In just a few hours,
The hustle and bustle of returns, bargains.
Works, business, travel, adventure,
Will overtake the pause
Of Christmas
Yet thought of people,
Rather than gifts
Will linger as today's pause
Gives way to tomorrow.

Friday, December 21, 2018

The Days Are Getting Longer

I remember feeling rushed for time on this darkest day of the year, the first day of winter. I remember crating lists for the grocery store and for gifts while attending faculty or team meetings. I remember waking up in a cold sweat not sure if I could get "it" all done before the big day. I remember still needing a tree and still unsure of gifts. I remember feeling pressured to make the holiday "great" for others. I remember feeling rushed and wishing I could add a day to the calendar.  I remember feeling sad as the holidays descended on this darkest day of the year.

This morning, on the darkest day of the year, the first day of winter, I was stuck in traffic for nearly an hour due to a car hitting a utility pole on a major thoroughfare. Later, I watched a pricey Ferrari scoot around traffic in order to get ahead of the crowd. This afternoon, the darkest day of the year, the first day of winter. I watched an SUV skirt under the descending gates of an oncoming train.  He/she made it with seconds to spare.  I could feel the tension and stress in each of these drivers and am grateful that while stressed, I do not ever remember traveling so fast or taking such risks on tdays are his darkest day of the year. 

As the Grinch states so well, Christmas will come without ribbons or tags,  It will come without packages, boxes or bags. 
As the Farmers Almanac confirms, tomorrow is going to be longer and brighter! 
As Annie sang and as those of us who have lost or been desolate know, the sun will come out tomorrow.
As the calendar promises, there are still 4 days for whatever needs to get done.
As store managers promise, stores will open early tomorrow and in most places, on Sunday, and on Monday.
As those of us who have been around the block a few times know, the days are now getting longer and there will be time to get done what must be done....and the rest of it really doesn't matter...

As those of us who have been around the block a few times know, Christmas will come will come without boxes or tags.  Christmas never comes from a store. Christmas may be a date on the calendar; the real meaning of Christmas is a celebration of hope and new beginnings.  
As Clarence says in It's a Wonderful Life, "Each man's life touches so many other lives.  When he isn't around, he leaves an awful hole."

Hang in there.  Don't drive crazy.  Don't rush safety. The days are getting longer, for sure.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Good-bye Students

I've had hundreds of antsy young readers who finally cracked the code as the year came to a close. I've had  scores of reluctant writers who finally transformed an idea into a text as the year wrapped up. I'm always sad to see the year of learning and growing come to an end.

I've had many eager grad students and a few reluctant ones as well over the years, Sometimes, I'm lucky enough to have students more than once in their journeys to be effective teachers with strong research-based foundations and abundant teaching strategies. I'm always sad to see the semester of learning and growing come to an end.

I've gotten mugs, soaps, and a few poignant thank you notes over the years. It's those notes and the reflections that I treasure as they remind me that while our paths diverge at the end of the semester, our shared journey has made a difference.  

I got one of those notes today.

"Thank you for always believing in me and empowering me to become a better teacher..... It is very emotional for me to say goodbye"

That, sums it up for me as well. As another semester comes to a close, I know I've done my job, but it is very hard to say good-bye!