There is no easy way to write this blog. My other entries have been easy to write, easy to think about and process, but this one just isn’t. To be honest I’m not even sure I’m going to publish this, it may just be for my own sanity, but either way here we go. Part of what’s unique about my job is that I get to teach two different age groups, high schoolers and preschoolers. My program is through a technical high school that trains high school students who want to be teachers when they’re older. It’s a way for them to get hands on teaching experience of their own, under my supervision, while they are still in school. This way they graduate high school with some actual real life experience and perspective about what kind of teacher they want to be. They also earn college credits at the same time. It’s a pretty wonderful program, but I am certainly bias 😉 In order to get them this experience we run a preschool program 3 days a week. The high school students are the “teachers”and we have 3, 4, and 5 year olds enrolled in preschool. It’s absolutely amazing. What they all learn from each other (the bigs and the littles!) just blows my mind. The bond they form is remarkable and genuine relationships are built. That’s why Thursday was one of the hardest days I’ve ever had as a teacher. I had to explain to my high school students that one of their preschoolers from the previous year had been diagnosed with cancer. It felt like the world stopped spinning. 5 year olds aren’t supposed to get sick! They aren’t supposed to have to go through this type of thing! How unfair can the world possibly be?! My heart broke for this little girl and her family, it broke for myself as a mother, and it broke for my students. They were devastated. I could see the world all of a sudden just didn’t make sense to them. This little girl so full of life and energy (and boy she had energy!!) was suddenly facing a demon no little girl should ever have to. I was charged with having to make this “okay”with my students, and you know what? I couldn’t do it. I tried to. I tried to keep it together and focus on the positives, I tried to smile and provide them comfort. I tried…and then, we cried. We cried together, and we cried hard. It turns out they didn’t need me to be strong, they didn’t need me to make it okay, they just needed me to be there. We processed, and cried, and laughed, and cried, and finally decided that we’re going to support this little girl in every way we could. The kids leapt into action. Posters were made, pictures were taken, plans were arranged for cards and glitter and make up and sparkles to be sent to our little princess girl. These students blew me away.
The reason I felt the need to blog about this was that it provided a moment of clarity for me in my own journey of health. Sometimes it’s okay to just cry. It doesn’t make you weak. It doesn’t make you less than. It doesn’t mean that you are letting the illness win. It means your human, and that’s okay. During my journey with POTS and dysautonomia I have tried to stay positive and focused on recovery, and that’s served me well! But, I learned that day that it’s really okay to let my guard down for a minute and feel what’s really going on. Just because I do that it doesn’t mean the positivity is gone, it means I’m human. The world is a big, huge scary place that sometimes just isn’t fair…and it’s okay to let myself absorb that.