mental health

Kindness

In the past week I have seen kindness in many shapes and forms. Each instance was in plain sight. Could everyone see the kindness? Would anyone react and create their own kindness towards others?

Some interesting questions I asked myself. Instead of wondering about the potential domino effect of kindness that could happen, I decided I should write a blog about kindness hoping kindness would be multiplied around the world.

Today some friends went caroling for the holidays. They visited a few sweet elderly ladies. One was struggling after the loss of a spouse of a lifetime. The other battles dementia. The music lifted their spirits. No matter if it was lifted for seconds, minutes or hours. The kindness lifted spirits of those who needed it most. Examples like this show me that hope is still alive today. 

Last week I witnessed an elementary-age school girl who wanted to raise money to buy kids toys for Christmas who were less fortunate. She drew hundreds of pictures and her parents helped her sell a digital copy of her art to buy the toys. So many toys were bought. This little girl’s kindness will make the holidays extra special for so many children. In addition she restored hope in many via the internet of goodness in the air. What an amazing story to share. 

Then there is the kindness in friendships. I am so lucky to have friends who are always there to support you when you need them most. The friends who help you in tough times but also celebrate with you in good times. Kindness and friendship work together in unison. 

In a world of chaos why not be kind? Kindness matters. Please read this short post and think of how you can offer kindness in your area. How can you support the elderly? How can you volunteer at a food pantry? How can you help guide somebody who is struggling? Think kindness today. Set a resolution for kindness in 2021 and every year thereafter.  

Be purposeful. Be intentional. Spread kindness like you would spread butter on bread. Offering kindness is free!

dare to be different

Growth

This year I grew a lot. I physically grew a lot when I added that extra Corona cooped-up-all-day poundage. I grew emotionally when I battled the loss of many loved ones in isolation amidst a pandemic. I grew socially by deepening my connections with those around me. It was a growth year for me overall.

Growth doesn’t have to always do with money or wealth to define success. Growth happens in many stages of your life when you are most vulnerable. It’s the sweet spot of vulnerability that allows for the biggest growth to happen in my mind.

An area I challenged myself to grow this year was unlikely. Many shook their head in wonder, disbelief or just a bit of a why attitude. That’s okay. Let others wonder and watch while I grow. While I grow in many ways.

As my mindset shifts so do my priorities. As kids age, time frees up, and exploration begins. The mature adult in me gets to try to conquer new things that may have been out of reach with kids in tow or otherwise.

My future is bright for many reasons but one area I’m most excited about is growth. Look for future posts on growing from nothing to something. From something to big things. I am for sure a visionary. Hope you stay tuned for my growing tales.

It’s also a good sidebar note – when you grow others may notice. It may ignite a spark in them to level up. It could be your child. Your coworker. Your friend. Anyone observing from a distance. Growth can be infectious.

working women

A Day in the Life (These Days)

People sometimes ask me if I like my job.

My answer used to be an enthusiastic “yes!” How can I not love a job filled with reading to kids, writing with kids, doing research and helping them grow into readers and learners?

These days my answer is different. Lukewarm, at best. I get up and go to my school every required day. But I am not excited about it right now. What used to be a positive, welcoming place is now filled with “spread out!” and “don’t touch!” Books turned in are quarantined in a special room on carts until they’re safe to touch.

Instead of kids drifting in and out of my classroom throughout the day, they can only come to the media center once a week during their assigned time slots. They come in, stay in line, sit down in the distanced chairs.

They watch my whole, real face tell them a story on video while they browse tables of books with their eyes, not hands. (I no longer have a clerk to assist me, so I “clone myself” with a video screen.) If students want me to open a book, I prop it on a random page then keep moving. When they have their selections they head to the desk. I scan a barcode instead of them typing their own numbers. No touching! Then they return to the exact same seat.

Instead of laughter, the most prevalent sound is the *psst* *psst* *psst* of food contact surface spray. I scrub. I shuffle books. Gloves on. Mask on. Smiling with my eyes as best I can.

I miss my job. I miss spontaneity. I miss special projects. I miss idle chat that leads to great ideas. A few fewer rules. A few more smiles.

A highlight of the week is when I do carside book delivery to the digital learners. Some drop by twice a week. Sometimes I get to wave to the kids in the back seat and tell them I miss them. Last week a parent held up her phone so I could Facetime with her son, waiting at home for more books. I’m not the only one who is missing something.

Or the other afternoon when I had a spur-of-the-moment takeout picnic with my daughter at the park. As I was leaving I heard a girl’s voice scream in excitement “YOU ARE THE LIBRARY TEACHER! YOU ARE THE LIBRARY TEACHER!” Then her little sister, a new kindergarten student, joined in the hollering. We waved excitedly. From a distance. Even with the mask, they still see me and I still see them.

I’m determined to stay positive and try to keep connecting to kids at a time when everything is about separation. When the kids watch me tell a story and laugh at the right parts, I know I am still reaching them through all the rules and rigamarole.

The Roaring 20s, I tell myself. The Roaring 20s.

perspective

How Close is Too Close?

I went to dinner the other night at a local restaurant. We were seated at the center table. No masks required as we were dining. Seems simple. Just the new normal we are used to.

Then my daughter said “we aren’t distanced like we should be.” I looked around. What did she see that I didn’t? I mean I’m telecommuting most days while she is in physical school distanced and masked 8 hours a day following rules, new rules and more rules each day. Her perspective is clearly different than mine based on our exposures to date. Weird that the child is teaching the parent.

She said “this table isn’t 6 feet. Those booths are not spaced. It’s not distanced like it should be.” Wow. I paused and thought to myself how much she has changed due to the pandemic. Will we ever get back to normal? Will I actually be able to hear a waitress ask me about my order where I can understand her without a full mask?

My elderly mom was dining with me. The menu was a scanned barcode. That’s pretty high tech for her but it’s the only option. She can’t see the screen as well as me to order. Sigh. Sigh deeper. This is what is normal. Will there be a return of paper menus?

The next day my daughter calls for an early dismissal from school. A neighboring student is potentially a covid exposure. “I can’t sit in class for more than 15 mins or I’ll get close contact,” she said. What? “If I get close contact then I’ll have to miss social activities.” What?

So today I learned about close contact. Secondary contact. Confirmed cases. Contact cases. Exceptions. Rules. Suspected cases. And. And. And. I’m exhausted just digesting this information. Technically I knew these scenarios but not up close. To the point of sidelining one of my family members.

It’s football season. Homecoming. All the things high schoolers look forward to. So many instances of socializing being scrutinized, cancelled, postponed and so on. I’m going nuts keeping up with changes on the calendar and it’s driving me bat shit crazy that it’s emotionally hitting my kid.

Spring was tough enough with isolation for a teen. Now a new level of toughness is needed to combat the stress and anxiety that’s goes along with adapting to so much change in your formative years. The years of milestones. First kisses. Dates. Driving. Team sports. School events. College visits.

I am hopeful that the new year brings peace to not only my child but all kids enduring so much stress as a rippling effect of the pandemic. Developing brains can only handle so much and parents are also battling their own demons in the workplace, on the home front and just in society in general.

Just my random recap post. The blah of the week and it just started with just 6 feet. How much difference 6 feet can actually make. And how my differences could be so different than another’s. #perspective

family

9-11 or 911 or…

As the days approach 9/11 I reflect back on this date for many reasons. For me, my reasons are nothing like those who lost loved ones that day many years ago and I acknowledge that. 

What I do get to think about is what I was doing on that day, who was with me and where I was at that stage of life. How the world seemed at a standstill after that event shattered the world. Similar to the blank state of mind where we have been stuck with Corona of late.

My parents were visiting for my middle child’s 1st birthday all those years ago. Unable to fly home due to the safety concerns. Almost 20 years later and more turmoil in the world. Again flights are limited or not recommended. Another date I’m missing my dad that I had with me in that memorable time but not today.

My son’s first birthday. How far he is from that pure innocent child at such a ripe age. Now a maturing adult navigating life in such a complex world. Not realizing he lived through 9/11. Twisting around looking at my daughter who wasn’t even born yet. She doesn’t even recognize the magnitude of 9/11. She has toured the area in NYC but still lacks the depth of my experience on that same day. Just interesting to think about.

When I titled this article 9/11 or 911 I did it accidentally but then wondered if there was a coincidence that the date 9/11 was chosen due to the significance of 911 or emergency call in our society? Maybe that’s a dumb question but honestly it’s the first time it hit me front and center. I’m sure the backstory is in one of the documentaries but I hadn’t really acknowledged that point until now. Almost 20 years later.

Maybe I have always thought of this date in different ways and didn’t notice that coincidence. What do you remember about this date? How are you impacted when the date surfaces each year? Do you see any similarities to the pandemic of today? Just a food for thought post. Looking back almost 20 years to see how the world has changed and how much people in your life evolve in such time.