Monday, March 21, 2011

In and Out of Reality...

It has been over a week since I last posted...mainly because I was out of town but also because I wasn't sure what I wanted to say. I have also been a terrible commenter. I am reading blogs, but often quickly and at moments when I do not have time to leave comments. But now I feel I have too much to say, go figure.

I definitely feel like I have been swinging back and forth from my reality to something that is someone else's reality. Sometime this is good, sometimes not. Last week I escaped from my own daily self and flew to Seattle for the National Art Educators Association conference. I went in search of my teaching mojo since it has definitely disappeared since I lost my boys. Just like my vacation to Florida, being in another place that carries no association with William and Ethan made it easier to just be. The heaviness of their memory stayed at home. I definitely thought of them and talked about them with friends at the conference who know what happened, but the pressure of grief was not there.

What was there was me...the amalgamation of the old me and the current me. Just me, as an art teacher and explorer of a new city. I learned new things for my professional self and got some time to be a tourist in a place I had never been. (FYI...I now love Seattle.) I was re-energizing on many levels and gave me some excellent alone time as well as quick visits with other art educator friends.

I was also grateful for the escape from work. Things have been tense lately for a variety of reasons connected to the politics of being a teacher/public employee. Budget approval time is never fun for a school district. Worrying about what will be cut from funding is stressful. Additionally, I have been working with out a contract for several years. The union and school board are at an impasse with pending mediation. This means the union asks teachers (the members) to participate in actions. We can not strike but subtle protests of the lack of contract are being made (which I won't go into details publicly) and this ups the stress because not only must I do my job, do the best I can for the students but also work with in the recommended actions. And to be perfectly frank...I don't need extra stress. I barely function as a human being, little lone a teacher responsible for the art education, safety and well being of my students. Yes...I believe in fair treatment, fair pay and all that my union is fighting for...but the bare minimum is all I have to give and it is all I have. If I give anything more than that I will be either a puddle on the floor, a raving mad woman or worse. Granted no one has called me out on not "doing enough" but the peer pressure is palpable. I am just waiting for the moment for someone to comment about my participation in union activities. I am usually polite and reserved but I am not so sure I will be if pushed.

On a side note, the other teacher who lost her 24 year old son the same weekend I lost William and Ethan is returning to school this week. I can't remember if I have mentioned her here or not, but her son died in a tragic accident while teaching in another country. I think of her often and I found out she made a quick trip in to school today before she starts back on Wednesday. Even though I did not see her today, it brought back memories of my first time walking back into the building, the tears and the discomfort. Our stories are vastly different but grieving our sons is something we have in common. I hope her return goes well. It is so very hard.

Ya know, reality kind of sucks.


  1. I'm glad you were able to enjoy your trip to our neck of the woods. I am above the border, but I LOVE Seattle too. It is such a beautiful city, so many things to see and do, and GREAT COFFEE!! lol It is nice to get away to somewhere new with no "reminders", and get a small reprieve from the grief.
    I suspect that you and the teacher who lost her son will be able to offer much support to each other going forward. Knowing what she is going through, she will probably gravitate towards you for guidance (not sure if that is right word, but I hope you know what I mean). At least I hope that is true. I hope you can each find support from the other, as I find support from all the DBM's online.

  2. I wish I could have gotten away with you. It seems to have done you good and I'm glad of that.