Gratitude in December
So I’ve been sick most of this fall. For the past four weeks, after an initial visit with a naturopath, I’ve been off all dairy, gluten, and nightshade plants, chicken eggs, and a number of other foods (most of which I don’t eat anyway, thankfully) that might irritate my immune system. I recently ended up with a sinus and ear infection following a simple cold. The antibiotics the doctor prescribed were so strong they knocked me out, almost literally. I am starting to feel a bit better, and despite the health issues, there have been so many things to be grateful for:
- While walking the Green Lake Pathway of Lights, we heard a crash nearby. An older woman walking with her husband and dog had tripped over some rocks into a ditch beside a pedestrian bridge and scraped her head on the rocks and branches. People surrounded the ditch with their flashlights shining down to illuminate her injuries; one woman held the dog’s leash so it would stay near its owners; others called 911; someone called from the top of the bridge for a coat to cover her; others told those in the small ditch to put pressure on the wound. I slid down as far as I could and handed someone my clean stash of tissues (a pocket necessity for winter noses), which he placed on her head. As I got out out of the embankment to help Alan with the kids, I heard a woman saying she was a nurse and could help. The kids wanted to talk about the incident over and over, and I was grateful to have had the opportunity to teach the kids that in emergencies, we become helpers.
- Nicole helped the kids write this letter. It’s possibly the best letter to Santa I have ever read.
- Last Monday I went as usual to our neighborhood coffee shop to grade for an hour. After ordering my tea, I realized I had forgotten my wallet. The barista waved it off, saying, “It’s fine; we know you.”
- I asked our school secretary to weigh an envelope of health-related documents to see if I had enough stamps on it, in an attempt to avoid post offices at all costs. When I then asked her where the nearest post office box was, she said she drove right by one on the way home and took the envelope from me.
- After I nearly passed out right before first period due to the antibiotics, my colleagues and administrators gave up part of their day to cover my classes because it was hard to find a sub once school had started, and told me not to worry about it. Our secretary (see above) made me promise to call her once I got home safely.
- The following day, one of my former students e-mailed me some cat videos to cheer me up because she heard I was sick.
- On Friday, my freshmen discussed the Ferguson case, the protests, and race in America. I did some up-front coaching on how to talk about controversial topics and how to ask questions and respond in ways that open rather than shut down conversation. The conversations were not easy. There was not universal agreement. But they maintained respectful attitudes and were using terms like “white privilege” and “us vs. them” in ways that made me so proud of them, and so hopeful about our future.
- Nicole sent me this text on Friday: “So this morning we went to the play center and they had awesome bounce houses. The kiddos were climbing up and sliding down but there was a younger kiddo trying really hard to get up but couldn’t make it. She was probably just under 2. So Audrey, Jamie, and another kiddo at the top pushed and pulled and helped her reach the top. It was so cute. And so awesome.”
- When I tucked Audrey in the other night, she asked for a hug. As I stood up, she said, “This hug is gonna be in your heart. And it will be there when you go to work.”
- Jamie, usually the earliest riser, has started a habit of running into our bedroom to snuggle with me. The others often follow. Anyone who wants to donate a king sized bed plus a larger bedroom to go with it, please contact me.
- Theresa as “Doctor Mouse King” gave my ears some medicine to help me feel better.
- Our Elf on the Shelf, named by the kids “Alice Santa Chugana,” asked the kids to help Santa by donating some stuffed animals to the Healing Center for kids who need hugs. They did (though when we actually got there with the bags of animals, the kids were a little sad to let go).
- We took three 3.5 year olds to The Nutcracker in Bremerton, and not only did they love it, but also they were super awesome audience members. They love pretending to be Fritz, Clara, and Drosselmeyer, and listen to the music over…and over…and over…
- We decorated gingerbread houses at Daddy’s work (Audrey asked for every candy piece she picked up: “Can I eat this?”)
- We saw Diving Santa at the Aquarium, decorated our tree, put up Christmas cards from family and friends, read Christmas and Hanukkah books, and though my house has been pretty much a wreck, we have been present in the joy of this Season of Light.