A Slight Shift

This week was the last week with students. It was also my first full week without my student teacher all year. I had been nervous that I just wasn’t in the mental state to handle it by myself. But it turned out it was the best thing for me. We were able to be joyful together as a class, celebrate each other and our year, and enjoy our time together. I felt bonded to them and frankly, more like myself than I have in a while. We laughed together. We danced at the bowling alley together. We sang on the bus ride together. Even the bus driver commented on how much fun it was to drive us around. It was good, innocent fun. This last week kids were doing a memory book that required them to write a page about their teacher. It was so wonderful to hear their comments, like, they love when I get silly and make them laugh, or that books are my favorite thing (true!) and that I like to make up silly songs to give directions. Then they all started singing silly, random, non-rhyming songs about cleaning up, like I often do. They noted I often say, “Okie dokie, artichokies,” or “Ready Freddy.” I got big hugs good-bye on the last day as well as some lovely, thoughtful thank-you cards. I felt joy and I felt loved. Mostly, I felt seen.

What an amazing gift it is to be truly seen. I really felt invisible at the end of my marriage, and for a long time before. But my students saw me. Innocent, kid-friendly parts of me, but me. I’m proud of the way I teach, connect, and bring joy to my classroom. That my students could articulate it made me feel seen, loved and appreciated. It made all the difference this week.

It also, I think, helped shift my thinking. I’ve noticed that X came to mind a lot less this week, and that swirly feeling of anxiety in my stomach when I do think of him popped up almost not at all. My dreams have been bizarre, but not a reliving of his abandonment. And I’ve had a five hour stretch of sleep each night this week! Getting a weighted blanket may have helped, and the improved sleep may be helping me think more clearly. But all in all I have felt a slight shift. I notice a bit more lightness and a bit more confidence. I even have started to see a return of some optimism for my future. I’m starting to feel excited about returning east. And while I’m sure this doesn’t mean the bad weeks are over, having these good, strong, positive weeks provides some reprieve that I’m grateful for. Here’s hoping the good weeks grow in frequency and the tough ones are fewer and far between.

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