October 20, 2014

On our anniversary

Today, Mr. Fresh Daily Bread and I celebrate 24 years of marriage.

Don't run, this isn't going to be your typical sappy lovey-dovey post. I promise. In our years of marriage, my husband and I have tempered each other's natural personality. There was a day I would have been sprinkling my post with rose petals, unicorn farts, and rainbows. That isn't today. Instead, I smashed a fruit fly in my computer screen and quickly disposed of his carcass.

I want to discuss what 24 years of life with the same person can bring. The good, the bad, and the honest.

I've never found a person more annoying in my life. Nor have I ever appreciated the ability to know what's coming. Those quirks, those compulsions, those rules. I tend to be the sort of person who flies by the seat of my pants. I deal with things as they approach me, head on. I'd totally lose in a disaster preparedness competition. Maybe. I am a planner, but not a predictor. I am the sort of person who decides what the weather will be by stepping outside, not watching radar or Weather Channel. That attitude has burned me as often as it has served me. I know that Weather Channel watchers can testify much the same. Weather, much like life, is not predictable.

We have two children. I often tell them, "this is a life lesson", when they have to deal with difficult circumstances, whether it be a group project, an aggravating teacher or a difficult friendship. You figure it out, and life doesn't stop because things aren't perfect.

Little did I realize that marriage with a complete opposite would be an ongoing life lesson. Upon reflection, we've oft commented that the first year we were together, if we were not married, we may not be together. But we'd made that commitment and dangit, if our stubborn arrogant selves weren't going to admit it, we were going to get through it. It was tough. Nobody tells you that, but I will. It was tough that first year of marriage.

You'd think it got easier as we went along. After year one, things sailed smoothly. We both worked, continued our educations, and built our savings accounts. We took great vacations and though our time together was limited, we made the most of it.

Then we decided to start a family. We had very carefully discussed it ahead of time. My career wasn't moving forward quickly and his was. We knew it was time to figure out what was next. We had our firstborn and with his success and our years of saving, I quit my job and took on a new one. Raising our daughter.

On a personal level, it was a huge adjustment for me. I had been very devoted to my job and my fellow co-workers. I loved what I did, but knew it was time to head in a different direction. I had to figure out who I was again. I can remember spending time with a former co-worker, a few years later, sharing some of the projects I had undertaken (including a stained glass window I made) and the co-worker telling me I really needed to get a life.

I didn't say anything at the time but I was stunned.

I wanted to say, "Why is my devotion to my family and finding side hobbies any less indicative of having a life?" But it gnawed at me. I knew that my brain was restless. As much as our family meant to me, I realized a little piece of myself was dying daily.

I decided to make my dream come true. As a child, I dreamed of writing. Of arranging words on paper in a way that people wanted to read them. My decision to pursue freelance writing as a career was not a "mommy-blogger" motivation. It was an angle that fit an audience I knew intimately.

You may be wondering why I'm still not discussing my marriage or anniversary, since that was the headline. The fact is, I am, but just not in a way that is expected. I am married and in many ways, yes the two became one, but in many others it's been a journey of being myself, losing myself and finding myself. All in the midst of being a partner.

Time moved forward. That baby is an adult and has an almost adult sister. And our marriage has been up as often as it's been down. We fight. We disagree. And in the end we concur, there is no better way to walk through this world than together. We balance each other. Two opposites. A save the world hippie and a process minded efficient engineer. We came together and somehow have made it work. There isn't a day that goes by that he doesn't tell me a better way I could do something and there isn't a day that goes by that I dismiss his fears and compulsions. We look at the weather differently. There are days he studies his radar and carries coats and umbrellas, unnecessarily, and days I step outside and do the same.

But in this journey, after one half of my life, I don't know how we'd have done it without each other. I cannot imagine a day I don't wake up with my husband and I don't want to. Our life has worked. It isn't always pretty and it isn't always precise, but it's ours. I'm not a romantic, I'm a realist. And our life together is much better than it would have been apart. I'm grateful for our journey.

Happy Anniversary to my partner, my bud, and my sweetie.
It's our day.

October 1, 2014

Is this for a grade?

When I'm not pounding like a maniac on the keyboard writing or trying to find someone who will pay me to write, I substitute teach. In my state, I can teach any grade short term, which is defined as less than 5 consecutive days.

I teach in two local districts and due to my daily schedule, usually stick to middle school and younger. I've discovered that with high school classes, I'm more or less a test or study hall monitor. I don't really get to learn or teach a thing. 

This week, I was substitute teaching middle school Social Studies. The classes were American History and World Civilization. I enjoy the refresher course in things learned in ages past. I remembered things I knew about Ancient Greece and Sacagawea. In some ways, it reminded me of the scene in the movie Big, when Tom Hanks played a 12 year old who became "big" overnight. He was at a dinner party and the host's son had a question about the three ships that Christopher Columbus sailed (Nina, Pinta, Santa Maria), and an adult pipes in about seeing the same documentary. 

As we reviewed a video and I passed out review sheets to compliment the video, several students piped up and asked "is this for a grade?" I paused. I honestly didn't know if it was for a grade or not. But in shock. I said, Does it matter? Would that change your quality of work? Would you not look for the right answers if it was?

I was not as stunned when the next class had the same question, and I quickly answered that I wasn't sure, but that at some point, it would be, so why not get a jump on what you need to know now?

The overriding concern with grades and scores reminded me of the changes in education. To be fair, grades have always mattered, it is how we could tell how much we had learned. It is a way for the teacher to know what they still need to teach. But the underlying tone that if the lesson wasn't for a grade, it wasn't important really struck me. Shouldn't all our work, whether we are in first grade, high school, college or life be done as if it mattered? As if we are being graded? As if we could assess what we knew and didn't know? 

It struck me as odd that students would gauge how hard they worked on whether that work would be measured. And if it wasn't going to be measured, it wasn't worth the work? Something got skewed in our educational system where we only teach what will be measured and we only work if we are going to measure it. 

To sit in a classroom with the opportunity to learn something new for free, what a gift! 
Or we could just hope that  someone who did learn about it makes a documentary.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...