So Many Firsts

The first time I rode in the front seat of a car was when I was on the way to get stitches.
Thanking my older brother for the injury, my mom reclined the front seat.
Bleeding from your face is never a good thing,
But getting to sit “shotty” before your brother does, is.

The first time I ate a deep fried Oreo was a few days ago.
My date paid for them.
We were both surprised by the softness of the cookies.
They were served with vanilla ice cream and She let me take the last bite.

The first time I realized my friends were not always friends with one another was in middle school.
I was forced to choose lunch tables.
My friends from elementary school called me a trader,
But making new friends was fun and exciting.

The first time I got bit by a kid I worked with was two years ago.
I reached across his body and his personal space was intruded.
I didn’t yet know that you’re supposed to push into the bite rather than pull away,
So I walked away with a bloody bite mark on my skin.

The first time I stubbed my toe I don’t quite remember.
And I don’t remember every stubbed toe since then,
But I can recall the feeling-
-That feeling of your gut churning,
Your body tensing,
Your face wincing,
And your mouth dropping.

And I remember that that feeling isn’t only given by stubbed toes and bent fingers.
Your gut can churn out of stress or hunger.
Bodies can be tense without knowing why.
Your face can wince in the morning sunshine because, sometimes, things are just too bright.
Your mouth can drop from mouth-breathing due to allergies.

And when that all happens to me,
I remember the first time I ever got to ride in the front seat.
I picture my date’s handsome face as she pressed her spoon into the Oreos, ignorant to their softness.
I forget about have to choose friends and remember that I have many friends who have chosen me.
And I remember that sometimes pushing into the problem is better than pulling away.
I remember this is the first time I have had so much responsibility for kiddos in a classroom,
And I realize that stress comes along with the job…

But so does joy.

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Now I Get It.

Now I understand why grocery shopping was a task and not a treat for my mom. My mom works in the schools as a speech therapist. Recently, I’ve started student teaching in a special education pre-school. From  the time I hit my alarm in the morning to the time I get home, my life revolves around those little kids and all of the adults and lessons that come with. By the time I get to the school (around 8:15) I have already chugged coffee, tried to eat breakfast, and contemplated how wonderful a nap sounds. When the children arrive, my day gets flooded with legos, story books, imaginary play, and my personal favorite, sand tables and play-doh. A short break for lunch is filled with exchanging toys for more developmentally appropriate ones for the afternoon class, getting visual signs ready, preparing paperwork, and making any copies or filling out any form necessary for my seminar class wednesday nights. After those kiddies load onto a bus or into a car at the “end” of the day, it’s my job to tidy up the classroom, prepare lessons for tomorrow, and talk with my wonderful mentor teacher. It’s not the end of my day yet.

I get back home around 4:30 usually, ready for food and a nap, however, when there’s no food in the fridge and I have a packet due for my seminar class tomorrow night, neither one of those things are possible. Unless, of course, I go grocery shopping. 

I never make lists. I walk isle to isle picking up anything that seems like it might go along with anything else I have in my cart, wait in the always-too-long line (why don’t they hire some more employees instead of using those dreaded scan it yourself machines?!), pay, and drive home. Then I must unload the groceries, make dinner, eat dinner, clean up the mess I made during dinner, and then sit down only to realize I have to print off sheets to have my mentor teacher sign, start an intensive project for my seminar class, and shower.

Showering will probably be the thing that waits. Who needs personal hygiene when you’re working with 3 year olds?

Right now, it’s not even 9:30pm and I feel like my eyes are ready to close and seal up until morning. Right now, I can fully relate to my mom, passed out, mouth open, snoring on the couch at 6pm before we even ate dinner. The tiredness is real. The workload is real. My life is about to get real.

There’s no more of the downtime between classes or classes on monday and wednesday and that’s it. There’s not more coddling or holding my hand as I rush to finish projects. The procrastination I tend to love and rely on will finally bite me in the ass hard enough for me to not get a degree.

Spending everyday in a classroom these last few weeks, gaining respect from the staff around me, and taking more of a lead roll in that environment has made it set in: this is going to be me. This is me. One day, I will be the one creating the welcoming pictures and activities for the little kiddos as they walk into the open house with their parents and meet me for the first time. I will be the one coming up with disciplinary actions for kids with behavior issues. I will need to cut, print, paste, and set up all of the classroom posters and signs. It will all be me.

I always knew I was going to end up being a teacher after all this schooling, but it hasn’t been until now that I started actually picturing myself being one.

Up until now, I said, “Pfft. We need food on the table, grocery shopping is a must!”

But ya know what? Sometimes days are too long and there’s too many things to do and your eyes get too heavy to stay awake. So, sometimes, grocery shopping can wait and left overs will have to do. That’s what happens when the teaching kind of tired gets ahold of you.

On Moving

We are the dust bunnies-
-The doors that hangs a little more crooked than our friends.
She has me locked at the hinges.
We are time bombs with long tickers that have yet to be lit.
We don’t fit in cardboard boxes but we both know how much my cats love them so we bring them home anyway and unpack.
We are the balls of tape-
-The not so sticky, sticky part.
She is the packing peanut that static clings to my shirtsleeve.
We have so much space left to fill with our togetherness.
We are the new house keys on an old lanyard-
-The fresh paint on uneven walls.
She wipes me clean like windex.
We are the messing up of a freshly made bed-
-The first time your head hits the pillow moment.
She is the first shine of light through the blinds in the morning.
We are hot coffee all sugared up-
-The scrambling of eggs.
She is my favorite breakfast.
And my favorite goodnight.