Recently, I've seen a lot of my friends on social media sharing past posts and/or pictures they'd shared on the same day one, two or even three years prior. These images of time past and words of yesteryear always catch my eye--I think I was a sociologist/psychologist in a former life. I read the past and ponder: How have people evolved or regressed? Do their past statuses/photos give a glimpse into their present predicaments? (Yes, I must have too much time on my hands!)
Often, I conclude not much has changed in the way people think and live from year to year based on these snapshots or "timehops." They are still "happy for summer to begin," "can't believe my baby is getting so big," and "sick of Chicago weather."
What would my own "time hop" look like? Time for a little self-psychoanalysis!
ONE year ago, I was immersed in teacher education at an NEH Seminar at UC Berkeley studying about WWII: Life on the Home front basking in the joys of perpetual learning. I remember feeling euphoric going back to college, if even for a week, taking in so much information and gaining teaching inspiration. I could hardly wait to get back into the classroom to share all I'd learned with students and fellow teachers. Ah, the memory feels like a warm hug. I was content and eager in my profession.
TWO years ago, I committed to improving my overall health and eating habits. I'd done the research and decided I would eat clean and green. I spent hours at farmers markets with my family. We discovered new fruits and vegetables none of us will ever eat again. Pinterest stole my heart, and I pinned and pinned and pinned some more. I went to yoga classes and bootcamp. By the summer's end, I'd only lost about 5 lbs. (I guess I used too much butter when I sautéed the veggies).
THREE years ago, I wanted to spend every waking moment of summer with my oldest who was going away to college. I convinced myself I would teach her all the things she'd previously ignored before she entered college, and we'd part with confidence that we'd done it all and I'd taught her right (I am a teacher after all). You saw coming what I could not (or choose not) to see---EPIC failure. Instead of time together, my daughter needed to see and commune with every friend she'd ever made. She slept away from home more than she'd ever done. Her refrain was "it's my last chance to ...." You would have thought she was dying, but really it was me who was dying a bit. I spent the summer sulking, wondering where I'd gone so terribly wrong and how she'd survive because I hadn't finished life's important unit/lessons. Fortunately, she lived through her freshman year and so did I. Some of those lessons came through the school of hard knocks. Some came over the telephone with hours of weighing options and giving advice. Precious time and lessons learned.
NOW, I am back to walking everyday and veggies are in heavy rotation. I am learning through several PD books on instructional coaching and implementing reading and writing workshops, through podcasts and twitter chats. I am spending time with my favorite teenagers and imparting lessons on the fly---they, too, HAVE to see every friend almost every other day, and not because they are leaving for college but because their parents bore them. I am planning our two week European vacation to visit our daughter who is studying abroad in Spain and will be a senior in college this year. I am readying myself for my next challenge.
Time hops, but I guess I have remained grounded in my own past predicaments and I'm okay with it.
'Now that the Union is no longer in danger,
now that the North and South are no longer enemies:
now that they have ceased to scatter, tear, and slay each other...'
What is now, when now is not yet?
Now, we divide. Now, we stake a claim. Now, we wave flags of dissent.
Now, in blood-shed wider than the Mississippi, the red sea does part.
Yet, do we face our visceral hatred of ourselves and humanity.
Yet, do we acknowledge history, so brutal, ever-present and boiling over yet again.
Yet, not yet.
'let us strive on to finish the work we are in;
to bind up the nation's wounds;
to care for him who shall have borne the battle'
A past incomplete. A series of not yet.
Hold on. Sit tight. But no one has made it right--yet.
A present void of now.
She walked away. She looked so carefree with 45 pounds of God only knows and I wasn't checking. As bad as I wanted to hug the fear out of me and the naiveté out of her, I knew to at least keep the goodbye simple. A peck on the cheek and a 'don't forget to text us' would have to suffice. Any lingering would belie my true feelings.
I had done the math (even though math is my least favorite thing to do). She would arrive in Dublin by midnight. She'd have enough time between flights to send an update text, stretch her legs, go to the bathroom, update her snapchat story, people gaze and if she was feeling daring, and I'm sure she would be, guzzle an Irish beer before the rooster crowed twice.
The clock silently ticked like a bomb fraying my nerves. What if the plane crashes? What if she loses her passport? Did I remind her to always keep her travel pouch hanging in front of her and not across her body? What if she forgets to charge her phone? What if she gets lost? What if she gets kidnapped or adult-napped? Didn't the movie "Taken" happen in Paris her next destination?
Finally, a happy-go-lucky 'made it! smooth flight. lots of food and great movies. very techy airport' text arrived. I could breathe again.
More math. The flight to Paris was just over 2 hours and with her layover she'd arrive in Paris at 4am CST. I had four hours to sleep, if I could call it that, before the next update.
4am and nothing. I wake my husband whose snoring suggests he is not having a problem sleeping nor does he have any anxiety about our baby, who is really an adult, trekking the globe all by herself.
"Kayla hasn't text yet and her flight should be in by now. Can you check your phone to see if you got a text?"
He turns and looks at me blankly as my comment and question slowly register. He turns and grabs his phone from the nightstand.
"Nothing, yet. Give it at least an hour before you panic." He should have just said give me another hour to sleep before you alert me again of your panic.
What had we done? We sent our daughter to backpack across Europe with people we didn't know, to some lands and tongues foreign to us and her. She'd always been the one to break out of the cocoon long before I was ready to release her. Was she truly ready to go it on her own? When would my fear dissipate? Would I feel better when she arrived in Paris because I had studied abroad there and had some familiarity? Would I feel better when she arrived at the hostel? Or when her friends arrived the next day? When she arrived in Spain where she was fluent?
4:43am - a text 'got lost because I could not read the abbreviated metro station stops but found someone who spoke Spanish and they told me where to go. hostel is nice. also guys keep coming up to me and talking in French. I have no clue what they are saying, so I just nod and walk away.'
I smile, and send back a voice recording "Je ne parle pas Francias. Je parle Anglais et Espagnol."
An adult, who will always be my baby, walked away ready to take on the world.
Documenting my evolution by filling in space and matter one word at a time.