I started the morning by bringing two mismatched shoes to school (It’s Monday, isn’t it?), and had to walk around in my socked feet all day, twinning it alongside every other twelfth-grader in the building (I’m definitely the coolest teacher ever, they just don’t know it yet). Did I mention that the left shoe had a giant hole in the toe? That’s why I had to buy another pair of almost-the-same-but-payless-no-longer-carries-them moccasin slippers by American Eagle. (The question is, why do I still have the old pair?) But I only had one of the new shoes, and one of the old ones (with the hole in the toe). And I was pretty certain I could feel a new hole coming on the heel of my left foot’s sock. (The same foot? Really?)
But we can move on… Three previously absent students were back in class today. This is good. Really good (Plugin: it’s never really a good idea to miss school). So I have to catch them up in math class. But it’s a substitute teacher (again?) and the kids were all gone on different days (did they plan that?). So now I’m teaching three different kids three different lessons in a freezing cold hallway at a little desk with big chairs (I may be dramatizing for effect here… it’s not really that bad at all. And I’m always cold). And none of them are getting it (I don’t blame them. It’s math). But they all need help at the same time. And my mind doesn’t flip that fast between estimating (round up to 60…) and double digit mathematics (add the tens then the ones). If only she didn’t have a tendency to stare off into space… (now round up the number 27) and he took less than 60 seconds to write the number “45”… (like forty tens and 5 ones) and she stopped pretending that she didn’t know how to count by 5’s …(somehow it’s not the same when you don’t actually start counting with the number 5, by the way).
But all of this okay. Honest. I like helping. No – I LOVE helping kids learn. (EMPHASIS added for truth). Maybe I’m just bothered by the bad tasting “floaty” that keeps making it through my Contigo lid (When was the last time I washed that thing properly? Can you even totally wash every crevice in there?). So my coffee isn’t perfect, but what is that? Not a big deal.
By recess I’m working with a group of fourth graders, and I’m beginning to understand how annoying of a chatterbox I was in school (the talking never stops the talking never stops the talking never stops….) and I’m silently apologizing to my teachers, and my parents, and my classmates, and the bus driver, and to every poor soul that ever asked me “How was your day?” when all they ever expected was a “fine” in return…
But it’s not that bad, because by the time I return to the classroom post midday graze (aka Staff Lunchtime Retreat), I’ve got a fresh cup of hot chocolate (just a mug this time – no chances), and I hardly notice the sticky part of my heel that seems to find face time with every spill on the school floor. The regular teacher is back, so things can get back to the chaotic normal of a third grade learning experiment, (called a classroom) with paper inuksuks and social notes and bird reports (and yet they all look a little like a pigeon….).
Several times in the afternoon I feel like I’m forgetting something, but I just juggle what I know (and what I think I know, and what I might need to know) and keep going. Not unhappily. But also, not without noticing that when I got home, I still hadn’t folded yesterday’s laundry (or was it from the day before?) and the unfinished puzzle on the table seems to be more UNdone than when we started (honestly, I’ve never finished an entire puzzle anyway).
But here’s my thought:
All of this is perfectly all right. In fact, it’s actually kind of wonderful.
After all, isn’t this the best of Grace – being able to go through an “average” theres-always-something-little kind of day?
Because it means I’m breathing the air.
It means I’m experiencing the mess.
It means I’m blessed with LIFE: the raw, unpredictable (and yet somehow sometimes boring) kind of life, full of holes, bad coffee, and oddly shaped bird drawings…
And it’s real.
And it’s a gift.
The forgiven, graced, day-by-day Life: something no chatterbox-turned-teacher-writer-wannabe can ever earn on her own or ever hope to gain through any amount of mathematical estimating or laundry folding. Instead, I’ve been incredibly blessed with a few moments to look back and reflect on the past 14 hours. And in the end, I am amazed at how all of this somehow fits into His (out of this world) intricate plan.
Even with my mismatched shoes. And my overuse of words-created-by-hyphens.
Life is messy. Annoying. Resinous. Sleep deprived. Illogical. And full of post-live’m parentheses and mixed tenses (now none of my school friends can point that out).
But it’s God-given and God-graced.
(And I love that).