March 21, 2015

Mental Health Day

Being an elementary school teacher right now is stressful. Wait. Allow me to rephrase. . . 

Being an elementary school teacher is ALWAYS stressful.

Not just because the kids are just rebounding from cabin fever. 

Not just because it is almost the dreaded standardized test season (AGAIN).

Not because summer is coming and the kids know it.

And believe it or not, not just because of the current political climate in the Badger State.

The maniacal mixture of all these elements can be overwhelming to say the least.

Add school stress to that of the lovely responsibilities and emotional roller coaster I experience as my sister's guardian, especially this time of year.

Not just because doing her taxes can get wacky.

Not just because she is also recovering from cabin fever.

And believe it or not, not just because she pulls out a new bag of terrible behavioral tricks just when she's seemingly making significant progress.

This crazy concoction is not only overwhelming, but frustrating and defeating.

And then there's fatherhood. . . .which by the way is the BEST STRESS I could ever ask for.

Put everything together and I needed a mental health day. . .badly.

Luckily, I got one, even though my day was pretty booked.

The Tyke Hike I led this morning was amazing and inspiring, even if Embry's terrible two tantrums came a few weeks early.

An impromptu meeting regarding my sister's behavioral progress (or recent lack thereof) went well. I am actually cautiously optimistic that it might even make a change. Remember, it often gets worse before it gets better.

Though the meeting did lead to me missing out on meeting up with some college chums I would have loved to see, it did provide an opportunity to make a memory that will stick with me for a long time.

I re-lived my childhood today. You see, living a block away from Underwood Creek, I spent countless hours there, doing all sorts of things. I enjoyed stick races by chucking a chosen stick into the water and cheering it over the waterfall. With my father by my side, I sprinted down the street to get to the creek to count the cars on the train zooming along the tracks that run parallel to the water. I caught dozens of frogs with my cousins, My cousins and I would also trek along the water's edge to view graffiti that decorated the freeway underpasses. I remember collecting railroad spikes and other assorted and random items that washed up on the cement shores of the concrete creek every time a huge rainstorm allowed the water to overtake it's artificial borders.

To me, "the creek" is my childhood. Today, I was able to re-live it through the eyes of my daughter. We had a few stick races and she always gleefully won. We saw a train. 63 cars. No frogs or graffiti today though. But memories for sure.
Bye Bye creek!  Until our next adventure. . .

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