Sometimes sadness has its own poetry

At around 5:30 this evening I found myself crying, alone, in my classroom.  It was the first time that I’ve ever cried at school, even through all that I survived last year in my program.  I had just sent a couple of emails declining professional development opportunities because of an impending visit from my mom and grandma, who is awaiting the results from the removal of cancerous breast tissue.

Ironically, earlier that day, another teacher on my team lent me a book to read to the students called The Lemonade Club, where a child has Leukemia and her teacher has breast cancer.  Reading the book aloud to the students pushed me to the verge of tears, as I thought of my own family and watched 90% of the students respond with our hand signal for also having a connection.  In quietly sharing our sadness together through this book, I found myself feeling more connected to my students, which oddly compounded my own sadness as I felt some of their pain too.  Somehow, I kept the tears back for the sake of my students.  But, sitting in my classroom, tired, surrounded by work, and reminded of the book as it sat on the ledge of my whiteboard, I let myself cry and it felt surprisingly good.

Crying amidst the brightly colored posters and joyful displays of learning created this strange duality for me of life’s emotions.  It reminded me that in life there must be balance and that maybe conscious sadness is as important to living as conscious happiness.  Oddly, crying left me feeling the most alive that I’ve felt in the past few weeks.  I think sometimes I put too much emphasis on happiness and not enough on just allowing myself to feel what is around me.  I was left with an awareness that sometimes sadness opens our eyes to the fleeting beauty of life as long as we don’t allow ourselves to dwell there indefinitely.

Sitting in this scene of colors and stimuli as I cried this afternoon was a little surreal…   But, on the bright side, my beloved world map carpet finally arrived today after school!

It is hard for me not to look around my classroom and feel the joy on the walls.  So many pieces of myself and my students, smashed together.  I love the huskies that they colored in, each one different and imperfect.  I love that Matilda, our end-of-day book, somehow found its way into the picture, (it migrates).  I love the spelling wheel and the theatrical afternoon game show that it represents…  I could go on, but you get the idea.

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