1. Insight. I had an important insight about my son’s recent behavior and was able to find the right words to articulate it to him. He was furious for about 10 minutes and then came to tell me I was right about everything. Naming it is often three-quarters of the battle around here, and this is a big one. We’re getting right to the core of what hurts the most. I know we’re going to be stuck here for awhile, but now I understand what’s going on and we’ve got some words to talk about what he’s feeling. My insight helped him have his own insights–and even put them into words. “It’s hard to accept love from you when I didn’t get what I needed from my first mom” and “It’s hard to feel like I deserve to be loved.” He went outside to shoot hoops for awhile and calm down, then he came back to tell me one more thing he realized: “I do deserve love, and you need to keep working with me so that I can believe that.” Gladly! I’m pretty sure anybody who lived in my house and saw what it was like on a daily basis to parent my son would think I was absolutely crazy to say this, but there is nothing I love more than being his mom.
2. Unfinals and Finales. It was finals week, and two of my classes elected to have unusual finals. In Digital Literacy, we borrowed the unconference edcamp model and had an unfinal. We ate and talked and figured out where we’ve been and where we’re going. And we ended with a picture book! (Thanks, Carrie Gelson, for introducing me to this wonderful book!)
Just the right message for the conclusion of our class: Change the world!
(And Beth Shaum, if you happen to see your Twitter handle on the whiteboard, that’s because I was telling students about your Ignite presentation and the cool stuff you do with your Instagram!)
In British Lit, we had a Finale–don’t forget the “e”–with lots of food and creative presentations, art, and games focused on the 1000 years of British Literature that we read. I generally don’t believe in final exams, but these two classes convinced me that finals can be awesome.
3. Winter Break. I always have big plans for winter break–#bookaday, #workoutaday, #bakingaday, #writingaday, #amazinggourmethomecookedmealaday, etc. You get the idea. The holiday is so busy with kids and Christmas and crazy (holiday+trauma kid=CHAOS), so my big plans don’t always come to much. But in theory, I’ve got a month ahead of me to read and write and cook and do yoga all day every day. I’ve got stacks of books and recipes, writing projects bubbling around in my head, and plenty of yoga DVDs.
4. Work. The end of the semester always makes me reflect on how grateful I am to have work that I love, work that I find perpetually engaging, challenging, complex, rewarding, work that is intellectually, emotionally, spiritually fulfilling.
5. Beautiful spiders. On Thursday morning, I saw this tweet from Tristen:
I had no idea what a Layla was, but hey, our final was a creative finale, so if she needed to bring her Layla, I was all for it. Besides, I thought maybe it was a typo for laptop.
But it wasn’t.
Tristen’s Layla is her pet tarantula!
I don’t like spiders. I never have. I tend to scream when I see a small one in the house. But I do like doing things that scare me, and there aren’t a lot of those that don’t involve heights. So I marched right up to Layla and admired her. And found a surprising amount to admire. Tristen is really, REALLY into her spider. She spent the class holding her and did her presentation one-handed so that Layla could have the other hand. And THEN Tristen said the magic words: it was okay for other people to pet or hold Layla.
And so I did!
I had no idea that holding a tarantula was on my bucket list, but it was! And now I’ve done it.
Layla was very lightweight and soft and had the most adorable little hooks at the ends of her elegant legs to help herself hold on. I’m sure there’s a name for those little things, but I don’t know what it is. I had sort of imagined that Layla would have been de-venomed before becoming a beloved pet, but no.
And the very best part? I tweeted Tristen later to thank her for introducing me to Layla and letting me hold her, and this was her response:
Isn’t the world a wonderful place?