Steady in the moments

At the end of the day, I would love to have a little 2 minute film reel of all the moments I loved. I could pick a cheerful little song for the background music and watch the moments replay. A lot happens in the 15 hours I am awake, and I grieve that I cannot store all of the wonderful things in my mind. (However I am also equal parts relieved I can’t remember everything…I teach in an elementary school…there are some things you just want to forget). Anyways, wouldn’t a “Moments Film Reel” be so cool? Some hilarious ones. Some uncomfortable, but still funny ones. Some cute ones. Some tear-jerking ones.

I guess all that would entail is us all having videographers follow us around every hour of the day and then taking a quick break to put the video together and then sending the file at the end of each day.

I bet this will be the norm by 2022.

Anyways, here are some of the moments that have been happening in my life lately:

Moments of being scolded

I have been scolded by strangers on two separate occasions very recently. Yesterday, I was getting my nails done and was bouncing all around, up and down fidget style. Phuong (this is correct spelling because I asked him) asked me a couple of times to sit still but I kept forgetting. After a couple of reminders, Phoung gently but firmly grabbed my arm to make me still and asked me to stop moving. This was after I got into trouble for using soap when I washed my hands when he said he told me no soap. Phuong and I had a rough afternoon.

I was also scolded at the car wash by the car wash guys. Car Washes typically go anxiety-free for me…unlike oil changes, but this time I had a full-blown brain freeze. I pulled in and literally forgot how to go through a carwash. I panicked. I couldn’t remember if I put it in neutral or turn the car off or accelerate. I froze. I had no idea what to do. I couldn’t ask because the gentleman were busy spraying the car so I began to get super heated and nervous. I decided to press the gas instead of put it in neutral and that was the wrong decision. I was scolded, but the sounds were so muffled because of all of the noise, I don’t know what they said.

Moments from the Classroom

1st grader: What is that wetness under your arms?
Me: Pit stains. I am sweating like crazy. They are called pit stains.
Other 1st grader from back of the room: I THINK THOSE ARE AWESOME!
Me: Thank you!

My new, very strange way of keeping students engaged and encouraging them to participate and raise their hand with answers is to Play the weirdest game show around. I will ask a question and if a student answers correctly they receive one of my signature prizes:
-A plate of nose hair
-Ears full of cottage cheese
-Socks full of mustard to put your feet into
-3 Hamster teeth
-Mailbox full of toenails
-An extra belly button to put wherever you want
-permanent whiskers

Clearly the students do not receive any of these disgusting things. The troubling piece of this is that since I have started “handing out” these horrible prizes, I have had more student engagement and participation than ever before. Kids are falling out of their seat to see what weird combination of gross things I can come up with to give them. It is the strangest thing I have ever done. My room sounds like an arena of excitement/horror.

Me: (shows pictures on the screen) ¿Qué es?
Student: Es un regalo
Me: Muy bien, you have won an overflowing cup of earwax!
Class: Shrieks, groans, screams, in laughter.
Me: **gives no reaction whatsoever* continues with next question.

I lose control for about 1 second as they react to the “prize” but then they are so excited and eager to hear the next one, they quickly bring it back under control. I realize this engagement strategy has nothing to do with teaching them Spanish…but it keeps them engaged and excited and participating as they learn Spanish…and saving me a lot of money on legit prizes. If you are a teacher and would like a list of gross game show prizes you can award your students, let me know.

Annoying moments:
My entire water bottle spilling into my purse without me noticing. Daylight savings time. Being stressed out by all the rules of driving (seriously who can keep them all straight?!) Hitting red lights. Post Office being slow.

There were…

Happy Moments:
Sunshine
Warmer weather
Tons of love
Amazing friends
Running outside
Joy
Breakthroughs with kids
Moving conversations
Words from Jesus
Good coffee
Peace

Sad Moments:
Loneliness
Loss
Bingewatching Netflix
Stress
Sadness
Anger
Too many donuts
Grief
Confusion

Life is all of these moments. The amazing ones that give me goosebumps and the terrible ones that bring me to my knees. All of us experience all of those moments in some capacity.

The moment used to define me. Whatever “moment” was happening at the time defined who I was. A year ago, in a moment of sadness or loneliness, I was a sad and lonely person. I couldn’t see pass the moment. Or through the moment. Or behind the moment. Or ahead of the moment. I stayed stuck in the muddle of feelings and emotions and let them become more than a moment. Instead of realizing that these moments are fleeting, I would remain in them, blinded by them.

That’s not how it is supposed to be. A moment of sadness, even a long moment of sadness, doesn’t change who I am. Moments of heartbreak and confusion don’t make me a heartbroken, confused person.

I am a healthy, strong, full of life, energetic, confident, people-loving person that has moments that aren’t always all of those things. Sometimes they are really hard. And really sad. And really confusing. But they don’t change anything about who I am.

The moments aren’t going anywhere. There are going to be moments that make me fall off my chair in laughter, and moments that make be crumple into the arms of a friend in tears. Staying steady in whatever moment is something that took me 24 years to get a handle on, but it was the greatest thing I ever learned.

Because guess what? This moment, whatever we are going through right now, is going to pass. And another one will come. Deciding who you are outside of whatever the situation or “moment” is the most freeing, empowering and liberating feeling in the world. Moments ain’t got no power on me!

How many times did I say moments in this post? I am over that word now.

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