She rushes out of bed with the noisy static of the alarm urging her to ‘get a move on.’ Stumbles out of the bedroom door and slips as quietly as she can down the stairs. Knowing full well, she is already pushing it for time. Time is not her friend these days…always urging her to hurry, hurry. Faster. And she is already going as fast as she can.
But it is still not enough.
Into the shower and out. Running up the stairs. Down the stairs. From bedroom to bedroom. Checking a lesson plan in between times for something she forgot from the night before, all while brushing hair, laying out clothes and washing a dish or two. Then back to her closet to grab the first outfit she thinks about on her way there. Thank goodness it’s clean. And near the middle where she can reach it.
Never mind her hair. Nothing a clip or two can’t fix.
And all too soon. It’s ‘out the door’. Grabbing toast, coffee, armloads of books and other essentials as she makes a run for it. Children trail along after.
She drives carefully. Her coffee mug still full. But she feels pressed for time. Already. Her eyes are glued to the road ahead. If only she could just get there faster.
She arrives. Parks by the door. Buses will not arrive for a few minutes yet. She should be safe. The girls straggle behind her as she marches to the front entrance like a military sergeant. Pretending she’s punctual (HA!) , sheaddresses the early birds with a quick “hello.” And then, down she goes. Staight to her classroom. Last minute plans await.
She finds the paper she’d forgotten about last night. The math manipulatives. “Is everything in order?” Ah! But of course…she was in the day before, and then up late last night until her eyes could barely see through the slits. She’s good and ready. Settling into her chair, she punches in her login and password. Downloads the files she needs to print. And then she’s off. Rush, rush, rushing out the door.
Hustle, Hustle, Hustle! Always running. Always feeling chased by that ominous clock that continues to tick, tick, tick away the minutes, hours and days.
Is life always to keep up this frantic pace? She feels defeated, and it’s only 8:15 a.m.
She is in the office now, asking for favors. If she doesn’t leave soon, she’ll really be late. She finds a colleague and makes her heartfelt request. She knows she cannot possibly do one.more.thing. Or she will be worse than late: she’ll be a disappointment. To her colleagues, and mentors who await. So then. She runs. Out the door, down the steps, to her van.
And she pushes the pedal, maybe a little too fast. But she finally feels she can start to relax as she settles into the rhythm and flow that is the typical distance commute. Thanks goodness she doesn’t have to do this every day! But, it is somewhat relaxing now that she knows the worst is behind her.
She’s semi-relaxed. That is, until she calls her Husband for confirmation of the exact meeting time, via him checking her e-mail. Over the phone. (Don’t worry, my Police Officer Friends…she’s got Blue Tooth.)
And she shudders to hear him say the words. “It starts at 9:00 a.m.” Because the inevitable is now upon her. The meeting at which she is to speak this morning will be starting exactly fifteen minutes earlier than she had allotted for her arrival time.
Oops, she’s done it again. She’s late. For a meeting that hasn’t even begun yet. But she knows already. She.is.late. Because she has become an expert at figuring out just exactly how much time she needs to fit in far too many things every morning and arrive just under the wire.
This girl’s a professional over-achiever. And she’s done this a few too many more times than she’d like to admit. It’s a skill, people. Believe me. I know this girl!
And when she sheepishly slinks into the meeting room, after having gone to the wrong room first- a meeting for intermediate teachers that she probably should have stayed at and just pretended to be part of (it, co-incidentally, started at 9:15 a.m. A much, more convenient time to start a meeting, if I might say so myself)
But nevertheless, when she slinks into the meeting she’s SUPPOSE to be attending, and makes apologies, yadda, yadda, yadda. She feels like such a loser. Because she wishes her sorry life wasn’t so ruled by a clock. And she knows. She’s so much more than just a LATE GARD, as she’s been affectionately labled.
Late is just another word for methodical. And I like methodical better. It speaks to her other personality traits and deflects attention away from her overwhelming tardiness.
So when she gets up to present her topic (which, by the way, she absolutely WINGED because the table discussion covered everything she had typed up to say…#thisonlyhappenstoher), she decides to follow her heart and speak about primarily those things of which she is passionate: students, and learning and reading and writing and making real world connections between all four.
And to her great surprise! (And might I add ‘surprise’ to ‘gratefulness’ which also comes to her much, much later, when she is reflecting on all these things.) So that. She actually feels like what she’d said in her ‘fly-by-the-seat-of-her-perfectly-clean-pants’ presentation was better than what she’d planned to say. And so she decides that following her heart is a better thing to do than following a prescriptive set of notes. And she forgives herself for being late. As did her colleagues. And even more than that, they went overboard making her feel so loved and appreciated with their kind words and genuine appreciation. That she felt genuinely humbled and so blessed.
And so she decided. That she would bury her alarm clock in the backyard.
Because some days are just better. When you just slow down and embrace your weaknesses. And some days are better when you embrace your imperfections. And love yourself in spite of your flaws. And some days are just better because of someone else’s kind words. And commendations. Praise.
And some days, you just have to give up running yourself ragged.
And just breathe. And suddenly the day just seems better, somehow.
And all it took was words.
So she said to herself, “One just never knows what a difference one’s kind and heartfelt words might make in the day of another. And because one never knows another’s story and situation, one should always make use of every opportunity to use her words to make someone else’s day a little brighter. A little better.”
That’s what she said, she did. And then she went out. And did exactly that (did exactly what she said) for someone else.