Way Too Much Introspection for a Birthday Post #sorry

My birthday requests: strawberry shortcake as is tradition and time to think and write.

Tell me if this is normal, but at pretty random times throughout the day, [usually when it is very inconvenient to jot down notes] inspiration hits me with a deep thought or a realization about something. I tell myself I'll write it down in a post as soon as I can...and then when I finally have time to sit and type, my mind is blank.

May the 6th has always been my special day. I remember a birthday treasure hunt, probably on my 4th or 5th birthday. I remember getting a bike with a banana seat. I remember yelling out my bedroom window pretty early in the morning on May 6, 1991, "I'm EIGHT!!!" I remember sitting down to mom's enchiladas and strawberries, cake and whipped cream year after year.

But thirty-seven birthdays? I'm for 100% sure I don't remember that many. I look in the mirror and really don't know how this happened. I was in college yesterday, right? It wasn't long ago that I was sitting in Pastor Fred's Bible class. One year should earn its keep, should fill its days, should not blur so much.
There have definitely been stages of grieving over the past two months of quarantine as disbelief and depression have taken turns. Maybe a quick description of my new #teacherlife would be therapeutic. Ever since March 17, my students and I connect via Google Meet in the morning for about 15 minutes, sharing what we had for breakfast and saying hi to pets, talking about the plan for the day, and then having prayer together. The rest of the morning is spent answering questions via chat, watching their computer screens with Go Guardian, reminding students of missing work, and video chatting to help with math questions. I don't stop long for lunch, staying available for questions, then spend the rest of the afternoon grading and providing feedback. It's a lot of screen time and sitting, which is not what I would normally be doing.

My role has gone from public speaking and director of engagement with real human beings to online facilitator and more literally, hen-pecker. All the fulfillment from a vibrant classroom discussion or group learning experience is gone. Now I'm just watching them get distracted with Hangouts or YouTube and trying to virtually pull them back to what they should be doing. All day long.

I actually had a job teaching online years ago and hated it! This isn't what I signed up for.

[We hiked Saddle Rock on Easter Sunday, bringing treats with us!!]
I think it's the feeling of loss that's the hardest. I can write a paragraph about all I have to be thankful for, but can we just for a minute sit in the loss? #acknowledgethefeelings

I was twenty-two once, full of ambition and optimism, looking for love, zooming through college syllabi, riding many miles on my bike, and hanging out with best friends.

I think shortly after this was when life started to blur a little more, to speed too much. Student teaching was really hard, then moving to the big city and getting a real job, then getting engaged, then five bridesmaids waving me off and away to the rest of my life. Friendship was never the same after that. Marriage too soon became parenthood and only for about seven years was life slow enough to feel things. Even then the distractions came often and were intense. #tempers #pottyemergencies Nap-time was when I checked in with myself, writing posts here on my blog. These were the years that I found a lot of meaning in photography and mission trips. This part of my life feels so past tense. I was a traveler. I was a photographer. I was a blogger.

Then, I became a preschool teacher. Working part-time meant less homemade scones and less trips together. Then, we moved to a new city. Moving away from built-in neighborhood friends and more work for mom because of our three house payments really took a toll on the whole family. Now, we only travel during summer and school holidays and our only friends are at school or church. It feels like a lot of loss.

There are a lot of things that I used to do, but I've traded them in. I was a quilter. I was a baker. I was a writer. Now, I'm a teacher. Now, I'm the mom of big boys. How did that happen so fast? Why couldn't we have stayed longer and soaked up the goodness?
Turning 37 with boys almost 11 and 13 just feels extremely surreal. How is this amount of time passing even possible? And if it is possible, it just doesn't seem right. Turning 37 in the middle of a quarantine while teaching online is even more unreal. Are we all really even alive at this point? The days are more blurred than ever, with eye fatigue and everyone experiencing loneliness.

I think the bottom line, the feeling that trumps all feelings, is that if life isn't lived to the fullest than it shouldn't be allowed to pass. Now there's no doubt that I'm an idealist. WOW. The secret is out. This is why taking photos and videos and blogging meant so much to me in the early mothering days, I think. Because it felt like the days were slow and rich and full.

Every time my family cooperates for a photo or a walk together, but heart swells. That's when I feel most alive. I need to smell the lilacs, I need to feel the wind, I need to have meaningful conversations with people. Days without meaning turn into ones and zeros that are only good for computer code and shouldn't add up to more birthdays. 

Thanks for listening. #vulnerabilityhangover

I met half of my goals for April -- riding 15 loops and baking homemade bread. My classroom will have to wait for organization. #toobusystill

Goals for May:
Ten mountain bike rides
Updated photos in my frame
Plan a Thanksgiving trip! LOL