I put a countdown on my board for my kids this week.
13 CLASS WEEKS UNTIL THE AP TEST AND 6 UNITS TO GO
(On a side note, I also taught about Roosevelt's "Big Stick" diplomacy to 3 classes of 16 year olds. Thank you for your pity. I can still hear the Beavis and Butthead-style chuckles....huh huh....she said carry a big stick...huh huh)
Underneath that, I wrote, 14 WEEKS UNTIL MRS. Z'S TEST. I figured they'd might as well know that I also have something big and intimidating looming in the distance. Something that right about now makes me go, "WHY did I do this to myself?" Kinda like what they are all starting to think, too.
I get asked "why" I do this stuff a lot. To me, it's like asking why I blink my eyeballs every few seconds. It's not a question of why I'm a teacher. A mother. A triathlete. It's just part of me. I wouldn't be me without these things.
But you know what? Sometimes it's not easy.
Actually, lots of times.
Okay. The truth. Pretty much all the time.
I find myself often saying, "How do I do this?"
How will I do this?
How am I going to keep this up until May? And remain sane?
Is it really possible to be a mother, wife, friend, teacher, AND athlete--all at the same time?
Sometimes other people ask me how I do all these things. And the short answer is, I don't really know. Day by day, I guess you could say. There is no secret. There is no recipe. You make it work the best you can. Sometimes, I cry. And sometimes, I cheat like crazy. By cheat, I mean I use meal-assembly places for dinner even though I love to cook and am damn good at it, if I do say so myself. It buys me a few extra minutes to play Buzz Lightyear with Bug. I have a lot of help from my family--I'm lucky to have pretty much one of the most generous and helpful husbands in the universe. He'll "sense" laundry and do it. He'll see that I really need to get a long run in and take control of the fort so I can skip out for a bit. You either make peace with the fact that housework will not get done, or you get some help. I realized that workouts will be less about socializing and more about getting to know myself. And I further appreciate how wonderful it is to have good friends to swimbikerun with--when I had all the time in the world I don't think I realized just how important that is. Now I make an effort to do one "social workout" a week, even though it's pretty hard to schedule. Lately it's been one every-other week and might have to go longer as work is going to pick up. But I know they are out there, and they'll be there, ready to ride and run with me when I can.
This has been a true exercise in letting the small stuff go. That's never been easy for me. I'm getting there, but it's definitely a work in progress.
Bottom line: this is very difficult and often overwhelming. But I love it. I love every second of every part of it, as much as it frustrates me from time to time and as much as I often question whether or not I'm good enough at any of it.
I love watching my students right about this time of the year, when they realize that there's no turning back--it's time to put the proverbial mental miles in, or pay the consequences. And most of them choose to put the miles in. It means extra hours for me after school, but I honestly don't mind. Watching them do what they need to do over the next three months is why I got into this line of work, anyway.
I love watching Bean taking her first steps. When we get home from work, I change as quickly as I can into my PJ pants and we all head downstairs. Bug makes me "dinner" with his kitchen and all the "food" we got him for Christmas, and Bean and I practice walking. Sometimes her little feet go too fast for her body and she spins out of control and starts to fall, face first. But I'm there to catch her. And she always giggles when she falls forward. She can't wait to get back up.
(I know that feeling all too well. Sometimes my feet just can't keep up with everywhere I want to go, either.)
Watching her giggle when she falls reminds me that falling means you are making progress.
Falling means you're going somewhere.
This is one crazy, simply amazing, simply exhausting journey I'm on. I'm not sure if I'm doing this right. I don't know if any of us really ever do.
All I can do is hold on, hope my feet catch up to the rest of me, and keep going.