• Lee-Ann Meredith

What Does a Bud Need?

The weather forecasters are saying today will be partly sunny. We’ve had a couple of weeks of rain-- heavy, cold, soaking rain, the type my sister Nora calls “grass watering rain.” We even had snow last weekend. We’ve had minutes or even a few hours of sun.

Right now, the sky reminds me of the shaving cream stratus clouds my second graders used to make on their desks. Since second grade desks are rarely pristine, the shaving cream clouds always has a sort of grayish tint. The best part of this activity was the smell and the fact that their desks were indeed clean afterwards, with the added benefit of perhaps knowing which clouds were stratus clouds.


This weather has certainly affected my mood. I find it almost amazing how much. The moments when the sun peeks through the clouds, I feel myself stand up straighter and my mood brightens. There is part of me that says that the darkness is a time for inward reflection but I am about inward-reflectioned out. I mean how much is a girl supposed to put up with? How reflective can I get? I’m not one of those shiny circles you stick at the end of a driveway to tell you where to go. I prefer a more balanced plan of reflect, then act, reflect some more, then act some more. I suppose this is some type of lesson. Then again, it might just be the weather.


While some amazing things have happened the last couple months, a lot more have been exercises in patience. I alternate with the desire for movement, gratitude for all I have, and moments of dark frustration. Fortunately, the latter has been less often than the others.


I substituted four days a week for a maternity leave position in fifth grade. This included writing lesson plans, plans for the substitute on the day I wasn’t there weekly, grading papers, and dealing with the sometimes extreme behavior of fifth graders. (Ah, tweens! They are way more knowledgeable than I was at that age thanks to technology.) This was especially draining and made me resentful, as I was paid a day-to-day substitute wage. I don’t like being resentful, it eats at my soul. Oh, I did gain many blessings ixed in with the resentfulness. I won lots of knowledge, some of it in the “I will never again” category: take a long term subbing position, be a classroom teacher, teach middle school, blah, blah, blah. What I gained in bucket loads was the opportunity to build a long term relationship with some amazing kiddos. I got to teach astronomy again, something I forgot how much I loved. I was reminded that my teaching “muscle” and teacher’s intuition are still there, and can kick in without much thought. I learned to love this somewhat difficult group, which was the sweetest gift of all.


I worked with a group of teachers to bring mindfulness to their classrooms. My focus is on using mindfulness strategies as a management tool to give the kids the gift of self-reflection, calm, and hope. It was such a rewarding experience. I was blown away when I visited the school six weeks later and saw how the teachers had taken what I taught them and run with it. It is about the best compliment a teacher herself can receive. It was an amazing gift. If confirmed that this work is my life purpose.


In the process of that, I wrote a manual of techniques. I am now in the process of creating you tube videos. My grandsons and tutoring students are so impressed that I will be a Youtuber. I think that is hysterical.


Still, my condo has been on the market for over seven months. Ugh! That has been a big source of my despair filled moments. I long for a week of simply leaving my mess everywhere. We have dropped the price several times. I will probably do it again this week. The crazy thing is that, after around 40 showings, there has been very little negative feedback. It has mostly about the fact that the building is vintage, or there is nowhere to grill. Nothing about price, or something I have the ability to fix. Hopefully, the right buyer who loves the vintage charm and doesn’t need to grill will come and snap it up. I don’t really understand why I have never loved or felt at home in this condo. I have had plenty of good times there. I have made a contingent offer on a new place. Fingers crossed, please.


I will take this grey winter as a gift wrapped in a learning curve. Although I resist it, dread it, I will try to remember that it will not last. I will decorate it with the laughter and love shared during these dark days. I will recall my ten-year-old grandson telling me that he doesn't need to come his hair because Mick Jagger doesn't comb his, then asking Alexa to play "Moves like Jagger" while dancing around the room like, well, Mick Jaggar. I will laugh when I think of the response on fifth grader gave for why she prefers tablets to books -- a book can give you paper cuts. I will savor all the hugs I receive from the kids I work with, and the friendship I have with some simply amazing people. All of these things fed my soul as the dark days persisted.


I wonder if this is what a bud feels like when it finally pushes through after a dark winter underground. Do they gain nourishment from all these things? Is this what causes the growth-- the warmth of laughter, the surprise of accomplishment, and the love of others?


But right now, I have to go as the sun has pushed through the clouds and I need a walk in the sunlight of hope. I feel the need to unfurl and open my leaves.



What lessons did you learn this winter?


All my love,

Lee-Ann

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