They have become my least favorite days.
Ironically, they used to be my favorite. I believe them to be important. I don't believe we have made them effective enough to be important just yet. Therefore, they have become my least favorite days.
Today, while sitting through 8 hours of talk about students, data, interventions, schedules, needs, etc. so many thoughts went through my head,
- "I don't believe what that person is saying. Where is the data to back it up? Saying you have data doesn't matter, Bring It To The Table."
- "If I could write the schedule anyway I wanted to, life would be so much easier."
- "Seriously - there are SIX students to target. SIX. How can we fathom not getting them ALL to grade level?"
- "Am I fighting this battle alone, because I am the interventionist? I thought these were OUR kids."
And the mental griping could have gone on and on.
A brief interruption by the school nurse, pale as a ghost, looking straight at the principal - no other eye contact made, serious eyes, steady voice, "Can I talk to you, please?"
And my thinking was detoured, "Hmm.... Nurse isn't serious EVER, something is really wrong. I wonder if one of the DCD students had a massive seizure? Would she interrupt him for that? Maybe one of the kids that has been in the hospital with pneumonia lately is not doing well. Would she interrupt him for that? Hmmm..."
I returned to the meeting I was sitting in and we continued checking kids off the list, making simple changes to schedules here and there.
About 30 minutes or so later, the principal returns. I am lucky that I have gotten to work closely enough to him that I know what his face looks like when he has been teary-eyed, when his emotional side comes through, and when he has had to be the supportive human that I so appreciate in a leader.
My mind exits the meeting again, "No eye contact, and he is definitely teary-eyed. Please, God, do not let us have lost a student today. Please, please, God, let our students be safe. Oh, good, he's back in the meeting - making eye contact and contributing to discussion, things must be OK."
Once again, I return to the meeting, my brain breaks today are excessive, but thankfully, I am working with some spectacular people who could very easily continue to exist without me. (That IS the best part about my job.) We finish up with our work, and I am feeling exhausted and my to-do list has grown to what feels like an infinite number of bullets, all of which need to be ticked off by Tuesday morning, which, really, means by 3:45 on Friday afternoon. I gather my things and walk out the door.
I walk into the hallway of the main office with the nurse, who happens to be my next-door-neighbor in the main office.
"I can honestly say that the look on your face when you came to get the principal, and the look on his face when he returned to our meeting, was a dead giveaway that all is not right in the world. I hope that all is going to be OK with the world," I said, knowing that we have a great relationship - mutual respect in full force, so I know she knows that I am a huge fan and am not scouting out information, just wanting the best for our school family.
"All is not alright with the world," she says, and her skin goes pale again, "I know I can tell you, but our Dear Friend got the call today, it's Breast Cancer."
My heart skipped a beat - the bad kind of skipped a beat.
My eyes filled with tears.
My head felt like it was in a vice.
I am so selfish. I spent the day internally whining and complaining about things not going my way; about the part of my job that I enjoy the least, which right this very moment, I can actually say that I love anyway! I have NOTHING to complain about.
I am so human that at times, I can't even try to be anything greater than a selfish, unsatisfied, whiner. My life is good. So good that it could probably be considered close to perfect. I have nothing valid to complain about. I am surrounded by loved ones. I have suffered the loss of too many loved ones, but I have been loved by, and I have loved, too many people to list. What a waste of time to get caught up in griping about the things that I only dislike because of my bad attitude, or lack of sleep, or ...
Today was a crappy, selfish day, and I am embarrassed by what it took for me to realize that. As I sat down to write tonight, the first thing I had to write was an email to Dear Friend. She had left for home before I had gotten out of my meetings today, and the only thing I could think to do to right the wrongs of my day, and the days that I have not been as supportive of her in the past two weeks as I could have been, was to be honest.
Dear Friend - I am sorry. I am sorry that this is going to be part of your journey. I am sorry that I have not been the supportive friend that I would wish to be for you in these past couple of weeks. I am sorry that I made assumptions about why you just haven't been you. But, more importantly, I need to tell you that I love you, and I am praying for you, and I will be walking alongside of you on this journey. I will pray for you, and I will be part of the team that gets you through each upcoming step.
It was a painful, painful day.
But at the end of it, I will be going to bed knowing that I have been fully me, I have prioritized love, and I can do a better job tomorrow.
Tonight - for all those willing, I ask for prayers for Dear Friend - prayers of comfort and peace as she faces the greatest fear of her life.