Friday, June 13, 2014

The Rollercoaster Ride of this Life I'm Living

I love rollercoasters.  While they scare the living shit out of me, they also are exhilarating and make me laugh out loud.  And the pictures are just too much.  Check out this post from BuzzFeed and try not to crack a smile.

Now try and tell me that a rollercoaster ride is not one of the best metaphors for life.  You can't.  Not if you are breathing anyway.  Let's look at my week, for example.

In the past seven days I've experience the calm and quiet of solitude while out for an 8 mile run at 6:00 am.  The very same day, I delighted in the celebration of my sister-in-law's baby shower and learned that my husband's extended family is continuing to grow, which will result in my daughters having a ton of cousins to play with as they grow up.

Then I received an email message that made me cry for hours, which resulted in my opening up to my other sister-in-law for the first time about some emotional stuff I've been working through.  The sadness of the message marked a turning point in my relationship with someone very important to me, and I felt a stronger bond with my husband's family at the end of the weekend.

That same day, I received a message from a former student who confided in my about a heroin addiction that he is trying to recover from.  I fucking hate drugs, and I hate heroin for all of the lives that it destroys.  I'm scared for him, but I'm trying to support his efforts to be sober and healthy, and he seems to be keeping himself on track.  I so wish that I could make his choices for him, but that's just not life, is it?

Tuesday I ran a 5K, and I kicked my ass!  Man, I was so proud of myself.  Is that wrong?

While these numbers would be a disappointment to many, by my standards, they are  impressive.  Like HOLY SHIT impressive. It's actually my life time personal best.  Last June my girlfriends and I did a 5k, and before the race started one said she hoped to get an 8 minute mile.  I laughed, since I was walking the 5k.  My best times have been somewhere between 8:30 and 9:00.  I'd accepted that I would never break the 8:30, and even that was a stretch of my endurance and strength.  Then I somehow banged out this bitch on Tuesday night, and I immediately texted said friend and my husband.  I had to take a screen shot of the results because I am SURE it will NEVER happen again.  

Wednesday might have been the all time high point of my teaching career, when a student's grandmother visiting from Illinois came in to present the class with a homemade lane cake.  Yup, the cake that Miss Maudie made for the kids in To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.  It took K.K., the grandmother, two days to make the cake, and she didn't simply deliver a cake and say enjoy.  She sat down and began sharing tales of her childhood.  K.K. grew up during the time of segregation and recalled the times when the KKK had burned crosses on her family's lawn.  I had chills as she spoke.  It was as if Miss Maudie or Harper Lee herself were sitting beside me.  I wish I had recorded her visit, but I will treasure the memory of both her stories and her indulgent and delicious cake.  

Riding the high of the coaster's upswing, I delivered books to Book Ends Book Store in Winchester, MA yesterday.  What a delightful little store.  Of course, I posted the pic on FB, and I have 40 likes from my amazingly supportive friends.  
It's been a good ride this week.  I've laughed and cried and curled up in fear.  As all rides must come to an end, I find myself both excited and saddened to celebrate the conclusion of my dear friends's tenures as teachers.  As with most things in life, tonight's party will be bittersweet.  Though I'm typically one who likes to see the glass half empty, I'll pause for a moment to refocus my perspective, given that I have had such a kick ass ride this week.  Yes, the ride will come to a complete stop.  We will all have to get off, but we can also rush back to the entrance and take another turn at it.  That's life man.  As long as we are living, we get to ride this coaster.  We get to fly and soar and twist and fall and dip and scream and cry and be alive.  

I'm getting back in line...and I'm going for a front row seat...and throwing my hands up!

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