Historically there have been dozens of calendars used by civilizations and religions around the world. They all center on their own significant events, whether spiritual, astrological, or business driven. Today may be Sunday, August 18th for all intensive purposes but in my world I am on the cusp of a new year. This week my students come back to school and this past week’s preparations in my classroom will lead to the faster tempo of “back to school.”
I’ve always been grateful that my life follows a yearly rhythm. Each fall I get to start the new year with a blank slate. New students, new parents, new instructional ideas, no mistakes. It’s only with my fellow educators that I can use the phrase “last year” and they understand that I could very well be talking about something that happened three months ago. Wednesday night is my New Year’s Eve. It is generally celebrated by trying to get to bed early and struggling to quiet my mind and reassure myself that, yes, everything is as ready as it can be for Day 1. As with any New Year, these final days leading up to it lend themselves to a lot of reflection about the year I am putting behind me, more specifically the summer I am putting behind me.
As I reconnect with colleagues the standard questions is always, “How was your summer?” I’m finding it difficult that perhaps the most significant part of my summer, completing our foster care licensing classes, is something that I’m still not sharing with a lot of people. Mr. Something and I are telling people if they happen to ask us about children, but I’m not quite ready for the work announcement until we have a better idea of our timeline. So, I smile, I tell them it was quiet and relaxing, which it was. I did a lot of reading, please don’t ask me to recommend books because most of my reading was countless pages published by DCFS about types of abuse, trauma, the importance of family, community, and culture.
Another Blank Slate:
Over the last few months Mr. Something and I also continued to prepare our second bedroom for the arrival of tiny humans. After redoing a second hand dresser last spring the room sat untouched until school was out. As I shuffled furniture and prepared the walls for painting, I realized that this second bedroom of ours was very much a blank slate. We have lived in our house for 5 1/2 years but I struggle to even recall even 2 or 3 significant memories that take place in that space. It served as an office for a while, but upon receiving a laptop from my district, I rarely found myself sitting at my personal desktop computer. At some point we flipped the room with our loft area and it turned into a TV room. Again, it was rarely used. Mr. Something and I don’t often do things in separate parts of the house. When we are home together we like to be doing things together.
So, my blank builder-white walls became the soft grey of gentle rain. (Who is lucky enough to get the job of naming paint colors? Who wouldn’t want to sleep in a bedroom covered in something called gentle rain?) The walls were practically flawless given the lack of use the room has received over the years, but suddenly it was becoming a real room. I took down the tension rod that held up the white curtains that were left over “closet doors” from my junior year dorm room and installed actual hardware and a pair of Ikea curtains that I’ve had my eye on for months. With some colorful paper lanterns from WorldMarket, it’s taking shape, and the promise of some incredibly significant memories to come is making our little house feel more and more like a home.
So, how was my summer? Special. Exciting. And exactly what I needed to prepare for the “New Year” to come.
(In the meantime we are in week three of waiting to hear back from our agency supervisor so we can find out who our new licensing rep will be. I’ll call again tomorrow…)