Lately: An Exercise In Positivity

Last night Savannah had her first dance class. When she let go of my hand and shuffled over to join four other tutu-clad girls on the mat – like it was nothing, like this was what she was made to do – my heart exploded in countless directions. She’s taking lessons from the same woman who taught me fifteen years ago so I’m still trying to unravel the proud and fearful “coming full circle” knot that’s been stuck in my throat since yesterday.

This morning I received the sweetest e-mail from a past student who’s currently in Iowa City studying to become an English teacher. In it she thanked me for challenging her to think outside the box and for inspiring her to go into education, adding that if it weren’t for my class she never would’ve taken an interest in creative writing. Being on the receiving end of a college assignment I myself remember so well had me battling nostalgic tears, giving the aforementioned knot in my throat zero chance of dissolving.

Every time we read “Masque of the Red Death” in English II I find myself wishing I could thank Poe for teaching it for me, and this year is no exception. Infectious diseases, masked figures, and untimely deaths … it’s like he wrote it just for high school kids. They love it. I love it. We love it together, and that’s made for some pretty stellar moments in the classroom this week. Poe, if you’re listening, you and your dark storylines light up my life – or at least my otherwise PG lesson plans.

This year for the first time since starting my teaching career six years ago I bought a new school wardrobe – new shirts, new pants, new shoes, the whole dang works – and, holy cow, I’d forgotten how far a little ego boost can go. In the morning I actually look forward to opening my closet and getting ready and during the day I find myself feeling happier and more confident. I know looks aren’t everything and I certainly don’t consider myself materialistic but, guys, I could get use to this whole self-care thing.

My little brother asked Geoff and I to join him at the rodeo this weekend, and while we’re not much into bucking bulls and barrel racing horses, who can resist an invitation from Mr. Cowboy himself? So despite our already-packed schedule and lack of appropriate western attire, we kindly accepted. The kids are staying with grandma and grandpa that night (alleluia!) so the first item on my rodeo bucket list is to eat an entire stick of cotton candy without interruption. I anticipate exploding fireworks and trumpeting angels.

Molly’s new favorite thing is singing. The best part is that she sways from side to side while she does it, like she’s rocking herself to sleep or jamming out to her own one-man party. The song selection is still up for debate, as her mumbling melodies sound like a cross between a drunken version of the ABC’s and an amateur remix to “You Are My Sunshine.” Regardless, it’s pretty much the cutest thing ever.



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