Memorial Day Monday

In terms of titles, that might be the easiest yet.

Here in the states, we celebrate Memorial Day today in honor of those who have given their lives for our freedom. Many families simply get together and grill, or other things. While I didn’t travel home to see my parents as I had a yoga training this weekend, my mom has always used this weekend to visit the cemeteries and leave flowers for our ancestors. Coming from such large families on both sides (my great grandmother, the one I’m named after, had something like 12 siblings, while my paternal grandfather had 14 (15 counting the baby who died), but we’ve really narrowed down our flower placement. Typically we’d go to four cemeteries, thought I’m not sure what the total mileage is on the round-trip.

I’d hoped that mom and pops would wait til next week to visit but they finished on one of the nicer, rain-free days last week. I’m sure we’ll visit in the fall as well, and since I won’t be teaching, I can go with them whenever they take their jaunt. I’m one of those who enjoy listening to old family stories, and they never get old.

In other news, a friend came in town last night for a date and we met for a drink after his date was finished. It’s really impossible to state how important it is to have someone you can share your darkest, deepest thoughts with and not be judged. He’s one of the few people who believe me when I say I’m resigning, so we discussed education at length. (He’s also a teacher working on his doctorate, so he understands).

I also found out a dear old friend I’ve known since the first year I was a counselor at a diabetes camp for teenagers passed away overnight. She was such a beautiful soul. The image she left me with is her beautiful, bright–and very ornery–smile. K., you will be missed, my friend. Rest easy.

Most of my weekend has been spent still trying to wrap my head around the realization that in a little over 24 hours (totaled over 3 days), I will never “have” a classroom again. So wild to think back to my first few years and how I craved having my own classroom, after two years spent subbing, and two years spent teaching in a janitor’s closet. Yes, I had a janitor’s closet for my first two years teaching high school, with 10-12 high school kids trying to fit in a room the size of a household bathroom because the district I taught in relegated ESL teachers to tutor status so they did not have to pay us salary or give benefits. I remember days where my larger Latino girls had to sit on the countertop of the sink and I stood all day long outside the door trying to help them understand. District educational negligence aside, time with that group of kids still holds some of the most wonderful memories I have. In those days, I wasn’t afraid to go to houses and churches and have dinner with families and take the kids to the movies for a reward for a good grade cards, along with their elementary brothers and sister that I had later. There were gangs, to be sure (I learned that the hard way, don’t ask how), but there wasn’t a fear of being shot because I was a white teacher in the wrong neighborhood like I have today. Maybe I miss those family connections as much as actual teaching these days, who knows?

At any rate, it was a blessing to have such a beautiful day to sit, expand, and reminisce over people I’ve shared life with. A true Memorial Day of sorts. Thanks for checking in! Hope you were able to do the same. Here’s to an even better week!