Weekend Coffee Share, Bridge to….

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Natalie the Explorer. I’m enjoying matcha green tea, hearing the birds singing outside, dog at my feet. London Grammar plays in the background. Oh, that voice. This is thinking music, certainly appropriate for today.

I know, I should just celebrate the onset of my summer, but I’m still dealing with a year of big changes, so my goal right now is mindfulness and enjoying each little good thing in my life.

School’s out and summer is beginning. The afternoon hours after the students left on the last day were quiet; I felt like an empty nester all over again. The kids are our reason for being there, and now there is just clean-up before summer begins. There were a few times that afternoon that I got to sit and laugh with some co-workers in the clean-up, paperwork part of our day, but they are hurrying on their way out. I was unmotivated to get it all done.

This year certainly is unlike any other, and maybe I just need to emotionally put it in its place: the fear we felt going in-person, the struggle to communicate in a mask, the joy when I first successfully got a laugh out of them and the moments they trusted me and opened up in writing. They grew so much. I have moved slowly in packing it up, but I feel I’m making progress and still have Monday to finish.

Things that got me through the day this school year: Student-shared art and my attempts at positivity. (It helps)!

I will carry many of these memories with me, and the goal is that I will see these kids on campus next year and know that I gave them a step up in their progress toward the future and furthering their education. The cycle will keep renewing, and there will be a new crop of students next year for me to reach, or simply, to understand.

My family life is also very quiet. My mom and I are very close, but sometimes I need conversation with someone more my age or who understands what I go through, the need to excel in my career, desire to have financial stability and be able to plan for a future, yet be active in my personal time. She is having cataract surgery mid-June, so I’ll be able to help her with that. She hopes to fly to visit my brother in N.C. this summer, as well.

I’ve made good plans for the summer so far: besides, of course, walking the beach or visiting the dog park with Bixby, plane tickets were purchased for Rochester, New York for a 5-day stay with an old friend in July. She has invited me before, but this summer is the best time to go. I’ll also get a low-cost trial at a new yoga studio and go several days a week. I’ve caught up with some old friends and we’re going to hang out this summer.

There is still the matter of an I-Fly certificate; I chickened out after seeing their waiver, but it’s my goal to just do it this summer, and to have a great story to tell. 🙂 Then, there’s the matter of the quiet in my house; my son is still not answering calls, but I know he’s reporting to work. I don’t want to be a stalker mom, but I had always reserved time to go places with my son, even if he wasn’t talkative. It’s different for me. I don’t know how this situation will resolve, but I just need to have faith that it will. Something to work on, for sure.

It’s becoming clear that each season must pass to make room for the next. I have not been happy with the turn my life changes have taken, but there is always opportunity to grow. As a poet I recently discovered (Mary Oliver) wrote, “For some things there are no wrong seasons.” As it should be for me.

So, I took this morning slow today, because I could. I sat on the porch a few minutes, but the heat is something else today. I still have some work to do on my short story, Crossroads Diner, and Saturday exercise/cardio needs to be next on my list. Thank you for stopping by and allowing me to ponder. How was your week?

Weekend Coffee Share, Shifting the Perspective

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Natalie the Traveler at https://natalietheexplorer.home.blog/2021/03/26/5-themes-for-a-fun-week/ . The day is warm, and the coffee is on ice. Agnes Obel croons in the background to increase a calm, cool, collected mood. It has been quite a week.

I am not only dealing with rambunctious kids overwhelmed by the scent of Spring , the encroaching state tests, and my own allergies, but some family stress has given me hard lessons in parenting. You do know that once a parent, you are a parent for life, right? It is so hard to stand back when they are going through a hard time.

You cannot create peace in someone else’s mind. You can only be an example of how you will not let their sparks of agitation burn your calm down.
It is exhausting to think and not react, to feel love even when you feel spit on. It’s also hard to let go as a parent, and to acknowledge the hurt and the love you feel, leaving space for both at the same time. Suffice it to say, I felt disrespected by my adult son (24 going on 12) and told him to save up, he had two months to move out.

He decided he would apply for an apartment right away and try to move out next week. He has his eye on some cheap apartments just down the road. He will have to ride his bike to work, as he has not gotten his own car since the accident that totaled his car and gave him a brain injury three years ago. He does need to experience true independence, so I know I cannot talk him out of it, and part of me does not want to. Yet part of me does, and I am not listening. I start to worry.

Worry is one of my traits and character flaws. It is distracting from real-life tasks. I am working on meditation. Trying not to ponder too much on whether he’ll take his meds as needed and be careful where he goes, eat healthy and live a healthy life, not the partier lifestyle. I could worry on any little thing, so the meditation is pretty necessary for me right now. I have an app called DARE (an app that addresses anxiety), and there are some really helpful meditations or information sessions there. Worrying about the future is a waste of time.

Flashback photo. Many cherished memories!

I am not just a parent. I am a writer, which is mostly consisting of blogging right now, and that’s just where I am at the moment. In looking at my life right now, I have to shift the periscope for another perspective. I am an English teacher of middle schoolers, and I mostly enjoy that. Still, I have to make myself remember the good that I instilled in my son, and believe that all of it will overwhelm the headstrong stubbornness of a young adult. While I have expressed that work can be stressful, I always try to maintain an accepting atmosphere in my classroom and to build relationship, to know them and make them feel part of a community, and that can be so rewarding!

It seems I may fail with some, but others, and even some whole classes, seem to feel the strength of community or at least appreciate my efforts. I believe in them as well. Some are so brilliant! At times I make corny jokes and tell them the teaching platform is just practice for my future live comedy career. 🙂 I can get going and talk fast, I always thought it was anxiety brain but my doctor thinks it could also be an attention deficit. I talk about these things with some of my students. Many of them know what these issues are like. Perhaps I can be a good example of functioning regardless. (So I hope). 🙂

When I relate to my students, I sometimes forget my worries. I get the feeling of being a stepping stone and learning experience in their lives. To let them know I’m glad to see them, I use my imagination and call them my little rays of sunshine, bright shining moonbeams, dragons, or butterflies. (Their choice). Some do not identify as the assigned gender. I have had to learn this; It is 2021 and I’ve been teaching 21 years. Things are different now. I must be mindful of whom I call a boy or a girl. So I’ll say, ‘Boys and girls or NBs (for non-binaries), listen up!’ They approve. I purposely called someone the wrong name who just laughed, then I started adding the wrong name behind his real name, and he just laughs.

Yesterday, I had another student request that I add a syllable to their name! I thought it was sweet, a way I can make someone feel special. There are some really bright kids in some of my classes, but they are all special, just in different ways. So, of course I’ve added a syllable which happens to be what her dad calls her, so she likes it! Now I have more to remember. I’m always trying new things to be sure I challenge the brightest gifted children while using strategies to motivate those at grade-level or just getting there. It’s safe to say, they challenge me as well. I appreciate that; my job is not boring, my life is challenging and motivates me to wake up daily. Those who may misbehave at times also challenge me to always show acceptance, one of the most important things in life.

Not only that, but the Newspaper Club I am sponsoring at school provides an outlet for ideas. It seems to decrease the burnout I could get from FSA test prep and prescribed teaching methods as well as antsy Springtime behavior in middle schoolers.

I feel I have digressed, as I often do. It’s just that, these extra syllables and NB nicknames as well as the bright students are giving me good moments that will become memories during the challenges of my life….as well as lessons learned. It is a wonderful life when you can teach others and keep learning from the experience as well! Maybe it is actually possible I am reaching these students socially and emotionally and building an accepting community. So now let’s shift the periscope again to another perspective that can also be viewed brightly: I have many reasons to be grateful, and raising a son who has been a challenge is just one of them. Maintaining an accepting relationship with him but giving independence shall be another, I am sure.

Smile and think of mad possibilities when you’d rather give up and take a nap.

Thank you for reading my Weekend Coffee Share! Writing is so cathartic for me. I also love poetry, where I can just feel things and be completely metaphorical if I like. Maybe you can tell by my love for butterflies and dragons. 🙂 I can be either, depending on my mood. I am allowed. I hope you have a wonderful week!

Their Gift. #poetry

Their Gift, (c) 2021 by Pamela Schloesser Canepa

The butterflies float in as if on wings of a dream

Gentle, colorful, flying free.

The dragons are solid and walk in with a smile, golden-eyed, shaking their scaly tails…they are strong protectors, ready to defend.

We try to forget that we sit behind screens and talk through masks, I envision a magical landscape of pretend.

The moonbeams are also here to inspire as a muse, shining in the dark…never to be invisible, for they would refuse. Quiet and calm, yet a source of light.

The shining stars are here, tranquil or verbal, they will not be smothered, you can’t dampen their might

They keep us all awake and make the future landscape bright.

Signed,

A busy, inspired, challenged Middle School teacher navigating a pandemic landscape.

#WeekendCoffeeShare. Business as Usual? Nope.

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share! I’m posting a little late, but I already got in my Saturday exercise. That’s a good excuse right? My drink is matcha green tea today, what’s yours?

Having had my exercise means I got some fresh air for at least 30 minutes, and it’s a nice, mild 70 degrees, so I’m dreaming, dreaming there’s a little bit more sunshine, and the world has returned to normal. Dreaming that I could be at an outdoor music festival today, smelling fried food, hearing loud echoes of the music of my choice while I sit back and lose track of time, feeling the rays of sun on my face.

But things have not gone back to normal. I’m teaching in the midst of a pandemic, sleeping horribly, and lacking focus to the effect that it’ll take 5 plus years to write another book, and I get so distracted when reading. I’m not my usual self. I still find things to laugh at, though. I’ve always been a survivor. How do I thrive through this, though?

1/20/21 My coworker & I in our pearls honoring the first female Vice President!

I’ve been trying to show more appreciation to those I love and to my friends and co-workers who lift my spirits. While being careful with teaching around kids, I’m trying to help start a new club at school. There are lots of sweet, awesome kids also in school during this pandemic, longing for the social-emotional connections they miss. While I want us all to be safe, I hope we don’t have to stay home again to do it.

I’ve been prepping all week for my yearly observation like it’s business as usual, and I’m feeling positive about it, because some kids still love to learn. I see some kids acting out at school, though. I hear the frustrations of new teachers, and I sometimes struggle to react positively. That’s where I’m at right now. Sometimes, dark or absurd humor helps.

Despite feeling a sort of writer’s block, I do write poems now and then in certain bursts of reaction. The most recent was in response to something I’m planning to teach next week. Please visit the post and read my short poem: https://pamelascanepa.wordpress.com/2021/01/18/day-and-night-poetry/

I love teaching poetry…one more thing to be positive about. Despite arthritis flaring up in my hand, I’ve been able to type this post. I was able to go over a mile this morning. Our nation had a peaceful Inauguration Day! Let’s focus on what’s good today. I hope you all are well, and taking any bad news that filters through in stride. Have a great weekend!

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