Thursday, August 23, 2012

Slip Sliding Away

Many, many years ago, while living in Flagstaff, Arizona one brief summer, my friends and I rode our motorcycles out to a place where there was a natural water slide.  I can't remember how long it was, but I do recall wearing the bottom out of my bathing suit as the force of the water rushed me pell mell down the rock canyon, one of the most fun experiences I still recall in my fuzzy old brain. (The amazing internet allowed me to find what I think was the area, called: Slide Rock  When I went to the website, I discovered that it now costs $20 per carload.  I was there in 1970, and I don't think we paid anything!)

Those were carefree days.  The only rush in my life was the water, and I had no problem letting go and allowing myself to be swept along with the current, grinning ear to ear as I enjoyed the ride. I was almost 20 years old, traveling from job to job, hanging out with friends, and wasn't concerned about what tomorrow would bring, as I knew whatever happened, I would be fine.
My thoughts exactly in August, 1970
We also visited the Grand Canyon, three of us hiking to the bottom, taking turns carrying our three backpacks, two with food and sleeping bags, one with my friend's two year old son. (Randy was heavier than the food and sleeping bags, and although he did walk some of the time, it was a super long trek for a two year old!) As the Grand Canyon hike was my "good-bye trip"  (I got on a Greyhound bus for the return to Oregon soon after), I've not seen either of these friends since the end of that summer, and often wondered what happened to them. Randy would be 44 years old!

Where did those lazy, hazy, crazy days go?

Well, I guess the short answer is that I eventually grew up, settled down, got married (more than once), started a family (also, more than once!), and returned to college repeatedly until I finally graduated at the unbelievable age of 50 (32 years after my feeble attempts at beginning!)

Looking back, with wise (or at least, wiser) eyes, it is difficult to stop myself from viewing my life as rushing days, followed by too short nights, slip sliding away.  I want to grab hold of these last precious days of August, clinging to them for all I'm worth, but day by day, they are slipping through my clenched hands. I want to plant my feet and shout, "No! No! NO!!" to the seductive call of the classroom.

Oh, I know you're wondering about that "seductive" business, but it's true.  Look it up.
Seductive: adjective - tempting and attractive; enticing . . .

The best part of being a teacher is the beginning of the year: a fresh start, with new students, brand new crayons and colored pencils, unmarked notebooks, a sparkling clean whiteboard, brimming with confidence, excited about trying new ideas.  I am weird, but I love arranging the classroom, moving things around, creating a welcoming learning space. Once I'm there, I can't wait for the kids to show up.

We have a traditional "meet the teacher" evening (next Thursday) a week before school begins.  I love meeting the kids and their parents.  I have five returning families this year, siblings of earlier years, and I'm excited to see them again. I love the first days of getting to know everyone, creating our classroom family.  I love teaching.

But this year, I'm just not quite ready to give up my time at home, and that somehow seems selfish. (although I don't really care!)  I am blessed with a career that I enjoy, and that allows me to have several weeks "off" during the summer.  How wonderful!  Except this summer wasn't exactly restful, and I think that is why I'm dragging my feet about returning to the classroom.  For the first time all summer, I've had a couple of days to myself at home.  I forgot what this is like.  It's heavenly to putter around as long as I want, fuss with rearranging furniture as I give the floors a thorough vacuuming (which may not happen again until my next "break").  I'm leisurely sorting through odds and ends, cleaning out cupboards and drawers, and enjoying this time with no conversation except "Move, Nikki" as my dog has an uncanny way of lying directly in my path, regardless of what direction I plan to take!

I went in to my classroom once last week, and this past Monday.  Kailyn did my bulletin board, as it is tradition that one of my daughters does this, and it's been Kailyn for the last several years.
We found the owls cheap, and decided, it's a theme!
Fantastic tree she created, don't you think?
I went in for a while yesterday to help a teacher friend move her classroom, but didn't even turn the lights on in mine!  Instead, I went and got a haircut . . .

Last night Kailyn called from Ellensburg to tell me about her volunteer practicum experience.  She met the teacher on Tuesday, and will spend the next six weeks with a 4th grade classroom.  She was bubbling over with enthusiasm, excited to be involved in the process of beginning the year with a teacher other than her mom.  (And I mean that in the nicest way!  She always loves helping out and meeting my kids in the fall, but this year, she will be in a completely new situation in Yakima.) I was excited along with her, even though I'll be missing her capable presense in my own classroom this year!

And, last week, Jess left for Australia. There was a whirlwind of activity in the days leading up to her departure, with last minute clothing purchases (her "teacher" wardrobe) and last lunches and last suppers!  

David, Jessica and Kailyn at Menchies for Jessica's
"Farewell, I'm off to Australia" dessert night.
Whew! After packing and weighing and unpacking and
repacking, her suitcase made the 50 pound cutoff, barely!
Good bye, just prior to the slightly tearful hug from mom!
This time it's just for 12 weeks.  Much easier than an entire year!

Jess sent me this photo yesterday.  I believe it was taken in her room, just before leaving for her first day of student teaching.  I think the reality of where she is, and what she is doing, along with Kailyn's pre-teaching experience, really hit me this morning as I was writing this post.  

Time is indeed . . . slip sliding away.


  1. What an exhilirating post, Sandi! I love it! Good luck to the girls; I am sure they both will have a wonderful time doing what makes them happy. I am glad that you, too, have a niche in life that makes you happy. Teaching young children can be so rewarding.

  2. Hi Sandi, Enjoy your last precious week before you dedicate your time to the classroom! I remember those days and think of all the other teachers going back at this time of the year. Your welcome bulletin board is awesome (great job Kailyn)! Some of my Grands are already back and have called to tell me how awesome their new teachers are. Teachers really are celebrities in the eyes of children. Good Luck to you and your daughters as you all meet classrooms of new students full of anticipation.

  3. Hi Sandi, You have lovely daughters! Enjoy this last little bit of time before your school starts. Our schools started today here.

  4. Nice haircut! Getting ready to return to the classroom after the time off... it seems like it would be hard every year. I have teachers I remember from my own childhood who will always be a part of me. You must be that kind of teacher, too.:-)

  5. Dear Sandi, as I was reading the first part of this posting, I couldn't help but remember the end of last summer when Kailyn was helping you get ready for the new year. You had that knee operation last year (I think in early July or so) and the recuperation had been difficult and you were feeling a little low.

    Now, time has slip slided away and you are within yourself at a different place. You know, as DJan said, you must be--you are--the kind of teacher who remains in the memories of your students. To touch so many lives for good--whether it be at the end of a summer in which you experienced physical pain or a summer in which you saw the beauty of Europe--is to have been part of the great creation of Oneness. I so admire you. Peace.

  6. Slip sliding away is a great metaphor for how I have been thinking about life lately. I have let the entire week slid into oblivion without accomplishing a thing. I think that is one great aspect of teaching. You do have a schedule. It allows for time to relax, rethink, reclaim, reenergize, and reenter. That is what you have been doing. After retirement, I find I really miss the schedule part of life. I love the freedom, but miss the structure. Enjoy the new year. I know how it is to feel that dreading of going back, but there is such a spirit of expectation also. Love those kids. I know they will love you.

    I love the new hair cut!

  7. What a year of change for you!

    When you start feeling that way about the start of school (as I did), it is time to look seriously at what you want to do with the next year. At the time I had two toddler granddaughters, and instead of investing in the lives of other people's children, I decided to invest in my own little babies. Good luck.

  8. And it seems to go by quicker the older we get right? School started last week here, if you can believe that!!
    You had an adventurous summer that's for sure.
    Love Di ♥

  9. Yes, it certainly is for all of us 'oldies'. It is so hard not to regret its passing but I keep telling myself that I must live in the present. Not that I always listen!

    Your daughters are lovely girls, all grown up and a credit to you. And I love your cheeky, broad grin. You don't seem to be too unhappy about life in general.

  10. Good luck this year to the both of you! I am doing owls in my room too. :)

    I hope you have a great start. I am wishing for a few more days of some R and R, but next summer will be great for that.

  11. Hi Sandi - thought I'd left a comment here but evidently it didn't 'take'. Thrilled that Jessica is in Australia - just wish that we could turn on some nicer weather for her - it's been so cold!

  12. "Walking into the Light" has been included in the Sites To See for this week. I hope this helps to point many new visitors in your direction.

  13. One of your best posts ever. I can relate to all of it, but I especially love your slip-sliding analogy. You've made me miss the summer that isn't even gone from the rearview mirror yet. And once more I'm in awe of the two beautiful and accomplished girls you raised. The welcome back board is so cute. What will you do next year I wonder.

    And I LOVE your new hair. I can hardly wait to see it in person tomorrow.

  14. I know what you mean about summers sadly slipping by- my 2 are back to college and school this week after such a lovely summer. Fascinated to hear your Flagstaff 1970 memories. I was there in '93 in Oct and it was a snowstorm we drove through to get to thw Canyon! Hope all goes well with you all.

  15. Well yes I get that. It's wonderful to watch our kids grow up and a bit scary to realize a phase of our life is quickly shifting to a new and unfamiliar one. While In Europe I saw lots of young couples pushing modern prams and I was recalling how when I was a kid I wanted to be a mom and do just what they were doing. Now that's behind me. I never had made any plans beyond that. Now I am beginning to. I must redirect my energy to the next phase of life and find a way to enjoy it. It's coming along bit by bit.

  16. Sandi Ive missed a few steps in the blogging world because I traveled more than ever. I loved it but now reading your post reminds me of how much I miss that beginning with the pupils each fall. I guess the teacher stays in us always. And I also understand that it gets harder to go back as the years move along. Natural I think. Just enjoy the new batch while you can. Someday you'll miss those days. I do.


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