School Starting

Let me be clear, I was excited for summer.

I was excited to can sta

 

y up later and sleep in more frequently. I was excited that I wouldn’t have to plan weekday outfits the night before. I was excited to have opportunities to travel and see far-flung family members. I was excited to spend time in the garden and at the park. I was excited to read books and play games.

But now I am just as excited for school.

When I was a kid, I liked

 

the freedom of summer, the untetheredness. The fact that it barely mattered what time of day it was, or day of the week.

But I there were things

 

I

 

did not enjoy about summer.

I saw my friends much less frequently. My closest friends were almost always the ones I went to school with. I played sports and did 4-H with other kids, but I didn’t spend the necessary time with them to forge the same bonds as I had with my classmates.

The lack of structure I sometimes love? Also frequently proves to be my downfall. Without places to go and people to se

e, I will stay home without pants on. That’s fine every now and then, but it’s not something I want to make a habit of, and it’s not my favorite thing about my

 

self. And when I have no externally imposed structure, when I’m the one who has to create structure and enforce it? That’s a challenge for me. Sometimes I wonder how I get any

 

thing done, not because I’m so busy, but because I struggle with self-discipline, follow-through, and taking initiative at home.

11949837731247653085school_hallway_gerald_g-_01-svg-medFinally, I missed recognition. When I was a kid, I missed school because I was good at school. I could get A’s and sometimes even rewards for good behavior. I did not get the same recognition at home; I didn’t get graded on doing chores or get kudos for not killing my siblings. Not that my home life was particularly bad, but I received constant validation from my teachers and much less consistent attention from my parents. I felt like I was a much better student than I was a daughter. And I had one of those decent childhoods. For many of my students – many of our students – school is the place where they are treated best. I have a great home life now, but I also really enjoy the mutual acknowledgement, respect, and even love I build throughout the year with my students.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, halfway into September, despite the tiredness and the worn-out vocal cords, I still feel like I’m back where I belong.

 

What I Did Over My Summer Vacation

Summer already seems like a distant memory, and I am totally okay with that.

In the beginning of the summer, I debated with myself whether or not I wanted to do at least weekly reflections on my blog, the way I did weekly reflections during the school year. Ultimately I decided to give myself a break from blogging. (Additionally, I decided that I wanted to pay less for my site, so the blog will have fewer bells and whistles going forward.)

So what did I do over break? Well, primarily I relaxed. I went out of town a couple of times. I played more than a few hours of video games and watched more than my fair share of Father Brown and Star Trek.

In late June, probably because of all the video games and Netflix, I also set a goal of walking at least ten thousand steps per day. Since June 30th, I have met that goal on all days but one. (And that day involved a family emergency and many hours in the car, so I’m very willing to forgive myself for it.) I’ve even continued it into the new school year. Walking a mile to school and another mile home really helps me reach my goal. Today, I was halfway to my goal before eight o’clock. I may have to increase it!

I continued volunteering for some organizations I was already involved with, most notably the Glamorgan Castle Crusaders. Glamorgan Castle is a local historical building, but it is not a museum – in fact, it’s where our school district administration is headquartered! The Castle Crusaders work together with the school administration to share and upkeep the building. This summer I worked on their social media, set up a separate Google Voice number for them (so people don’t have to call the school secretary to ask about tours!), and built a website. Turns out, volunteering is a lot of work! I’m looking forward to continuing to help.

I also volunteered for the local community garden association, but I reap rewards very directly from that seeing as I have a few plots myself! My favorite things we grew this year were root vegetables, particularly beets (which I pickled and shared with my mother) and carrots. Our carrots were so ugly but they smelled so good! Plucking them from the ground was truly hard work, but it was extremely satisfying.

My personal life was touched by both sorrow and joy and everything in between. There was one particular week in July where we had a family funeral and a family wedding in the very same week.

My spouse and I met the challenge of reorganizing our home life when he got a new job. Previously he was employed part-time as a college professor, meaning he had a lot of work he would bring home and do when it was best for him. Now, he has a nine-to-five full time job, bookended each day by a commute more than twice as long as his previous one. So he has less time at home, but he doesn’t bring work home anymore. He spends more time in his car and more money on it, but he also earns more money now. Previously our housework duties were divided up differently; I have had to step up my game in the chore department. I had really dreaded it, but now that school has started, it is less perceptible by me for some reason.

Now that we’re actually a solid two weeks into the school year (three and four day weeks count as solid!), I’m realizing things have changed, and I want other things to change too. My weekly reflections served a purpose before, but I think I want to change their structure or format in some way. I want to spend some time to mull it over.

I am very happy with how I spent my summer, despite always feeling like I could have always done something more or something better. I am also very happy to greet the school year, for once feeling ready for anything.

student-1666118_1920