Cheers, Prayers, & Love

Dear Slicer’s,

Although March seemed to d r a g, my time with you all seems to come to an uneasy, abrupt halt. There were a few days I fell silent during this time, but for the most part, connecting with such a large group of individuals who felt my pain and discomfort and kept me smiling and laughing throughout it is a big part of what kept me grounded during this time. I will surly miss reading about the days that so weirdly resemble mine. I will miss posting my sulky, defeated posts and hearing that others, too, feel the same- but we’re all in this together. I will miss reading the positives and the hopes for when this is over. I will miss having something to actually do… even if I don’t get around to it until 8:30pm.

Thank you all who reached out, commented, liked, and shared with me; I will miss our connections throughout the rest of the year, but always look forward to the return the following spring. I hope you all stay well, happy, and healthy and find new things to fill your days- new hobbies, new laughs, “new normals”… we will get back to our “old normals”, but I know every one of us will have a “new, old normal”- one that is different, maybe more purposeful or even more fulfilling. I look forward to hearing about it, reading about it, seeing it.

As for me, I’ll be spending the upcoming days/weeks/months with Rello- who really seems to have a love/hate relationship with the fact that I’m now here all the time. We will continue to binge Netflix and switch back and forth between classy wine nights and the all-too-not-classy Naturdays. I’ll keep firing my shots at the range until they close that down. I’ll be setting up my target tree outback for my throwing axe. I’ll be cleaning my house every other day and more than likely live in a jungle by the time all my plants start sprouting and growing. I’ll keep running every morning and evening, eating my chocolate, and trying my jeans on every 2-3 days. I’ll keep online shopping while assuring my dad that I’m not spending too much money. I’ll hopefully get to start doing some sort of “teaching”- what that will look like, I still have no idea. I’ll keep being a smiling face to the kids who Zoom call into my sessions and only cry when no one is watching. I’ll continue my girls nights via FaceTime and creating silly TikToks; and I’ll keep looking for that silver lining, the purpose for all this, the reason, the message He’s trying to deliver to me, personally, as well as to this world.

My cheers, thoughts, and prayers are to all of you, tonight. Be well, and know that I am forever thankful to this group during this time.

 

Giving in

“Learn to become sensitive to the quiet as well as the clamorous pulls on your energy, your time, your emotions. You are becoming connected- to yourself, the universe, God, and others- in a way you have never been before. To deny these pulls is to deny the connections.”

How powerful it was to read those words today. The world we are living in right now, personally, professionally, as a community, and as whole, is very, very different than what we’ve been used to.

It is both quiet and clamorous- and both energies are effecting our time and emotions; both energies are connecting us to ourselves within, the universe (and even the space within the walls we’ve had to confine ourselves to), God (or whatever/whoever you have faith in) and others- your family who you’re now spending more time with, your friends who you may check in with more often now, your coworkers, neighbors, and even strangers- we are connecting to so many lives- even during this social distancing.

Give in to the pulls- the little “coincidences”, the “gut feelings”, the words you read that speak to you. Let yourself feel, connect, and react appropriately. We all need something to believe in, connect with, turn to for hope…be sensitive the energies around you and listen to what they’re trying to tell you, go where they are leading you, and learn what they are teaching you.

Today I became an adult…

1.5 hours

4 pieces of paperwork to review

3 interruptions (bathroom and 2 handfuls of M&Ms)

and only 15 phone calls to my dad!

Can you guess what I did today that finally makes me an adult?

 

 

My taxes. 🙂

New hobbies

Gun range

Fishing

Tomahawk throwing axe

……if you need me I’ll be practicing these skills in my backyard until further notice. Boys better watch out when this quarantine is over and they decide they want to take me on a date L.O.L.

But for real, I’ve been wanting to do these activities for a while- but haven’t had the time, or always chose something else to do instead.

With all this down time now, I’ve spent a ton of time at our local free shooting range practicing my shot with my new Ruger LCP II. It’s perfect, and I’m 100% happy and confident with my decision to purchase this.

I bought myself basic a fishing pole (literally $8 at Walmart) and other necessities for this sport. Maine lifted the fishing license requirement until May and cleared open water fishing early, so I’m out scouting little ponds or streams to cast a line- for literally no other reason than something to do outside. I don’t plan on catching a fish; though if I do, I need practice on letting them free so this will be good for me.

I clicked “add to cart” and then “buy” today on Amazon for the throwing axe. I had one a while ago, but someone took it- so no better time than now to get a new one! I have a plethora of trees beside/behind my apartment and plan to create some sort of target on one one of these upcoming nice days. I love getting that perfect throw.

All of these things bring me joy, and I feel really good after partaking in their fun. Along my journey of dating and “finding myself” I’ve come across these awesome activities that I’ve wanted to “perfect” for a while, and now I finally can.

In the meantime, I’ll also be working out 2-3x a day and taking great care of my hair/skin/and healthy eating habits.

You could say I’m going to be pretty bada** when this is over.

First date “get to know you” talks will be quite entertaining.

 

I SAW THEM!

I SAW MY KIDS TODAY.

I cried.

I laughed.

We talked and giggled and waved.

Some were curled on the couch with their pets.

Some were sitting at the kitchen table with a paper and pencil- eager and ready and thinking they were going to learn something new today.

Some were outside in the fresh air with the blue sky and clouds filling the screen around them.

Some were loud and funny,

Some were quiet, shy, and well, scared.

We went over the highs and lows of the past 2 weeks,

We shared what our days look like now,

They asked questions, while my broken heart tried so hard to calm and soothe their anxious minds.

“Will we pass third grade?”

“Who’s going to teach us what we’re missing? You or our fourth grade teacher next year?”

“Will we go to school in the summer?”

“What about the MEAs?” (testing….TESTING….THEY WERE WORRIED ABOUT TESTING)

“Can I do more math?”

….These kids wanted to go to school.

They missed school, learning, and their friends….and ME.

Their cute giggles and scrunched noses, mixed with toothless smiles and anxious waves pieced my heart halfway back together.

It will not be whole until I am able to hug each of them.

Making time

What I’m learning during COVID-19:

Make.the.time.

Make the time to drink water- be aware that your body needs more of this than you’re probably giving it.

Make the time to create a “self care” morning routine- wash your face, brush your teeth, floss, mouthwash, admire yourself, compliment 1 or 2 features, then continue on with your day. And don’t skip a step! We so often find ourselves rushing, saying “I’ll do it later” (and then not doing it later); make the time to spend those “extra” 2-3 minutes really taking care of yourself. Side note: this has been huge for me. There are countless days I’d say “I’ll use mouthwash later” or “I’ll skip my usual face routine and just splash some water on it” because I was always in a hurry. My skin is so benefiting from this. I’ve also started adding in the “admire yourself” part. Call me crazy, but taking 30 seconds to study yourself and focus on the good is so uplifting. I challenge you to try it 🙂

Make the time to exercise- This has never been a huge problem for me, I’m usually pretty good at exercising regularly, but I’ve kicked it up so many notches as of late. 2 runs a day (or a run and a walk) plus an at home work out; and I’ve even done things like squats or sit ups during little pockets of time like waiting for dinner to heat up or even when I’m just lounging watching a show. I’m not naive to think that this will continue when we go back to “normal”, but for now, this “new normal” can (and should) include lots of opportunities to move your body!

Make the time to do the dishes immediately following a meal- Now, I understand this is WAY easy for me; I live by myself. If I’m cooking, I probably dirty 3-4 dishes. But usually I only have 2 dishes to clean, plus silverware. Don’t roll your eyes at me- I’m sure most of you have way more, and I can understand that. But I’ve never been the type to do this dishes right away- I’ve always let them pile up, and by Saturday have always regretted it. I’m now getting in the habit of washing the dish(es) as soon as I’m done. My kitchen is becoming so calm, and it truly makes a difference in my overall mood every day.

Make the time to call- Anyone. Family, friends, someone you haven’t heard from in a while. Even that person who you don’t really think likes to talk on the phone- call them. My brother is 3 years younger than me. He’s a little less social than I am, though he’s not an introvert. We’re close, but by no means were we the siblings who called and texted on a regular basis- until now. We text daily, and now even FaceTime. I don’t know if it’s because he’s lonely out there (living by himself in St.Louis while his family is in Maine) or what; but when I called the other day and went to hang up, he stopped me and we chatted for a while- while he worked! And when I told him I’d text him later, he said I can always call if I wanted to instead. I’m tearing up again just thinking about it. My brother, who shows little to no emotion, wanted to FaceTime me and talk, just because. So make that call- even if you don’t “think” they’d want it.

Make the time to write- This is hard for me. I love writing, but I’m not good at being consistent with it. I need to be. I always, always feel better after I do.

Make the time to make your space happy- This doesn’t have to be an every day thing (though something as small as picking up that pesky dust bunny that’s been sitting in the corner of the living room for weeks can truly help), but take the time every so often to make the space you live in somewhere you want to be. I’ve had dying plants laying around for MONTHS. Like…..at least 7 months. It was awful. During this down time I’ve taken them and re-potted them, and they looks AMAZING now (it’s crazy how fresh dirt, water, and letting sunlight actually come into the house helps them). I’ve had curtains and blinds that have been closed- literally not opened once since I moved in in August- that I finally started opening. letting that light in truly made the place feel brand new. The littlest things have made my place feel completely different- like home- and it’s been a game changer since I’ve been needing to spend all this time here now.

Make the time to make GOOD food choices- Now, a frozen pizza once a week is totally still on my menu, but I’m adding so many veggies and salads to my meals now! And I’ve kept less snacks in my apartment, too. It’s hard when I want a treat, but making these better choices has helped my mood SO much.

There are probably so many other little things I’m making more time for now, and I know and understand that when this is over I won’t be able to keep up with all of them (or at least not to the extent I am), but I am trying to create habits that will hopefully carry over after, and help me continue on this healthier and happier lifestyle I’m creating for myself.

I’ve done SO much reflecting lately (as I’m sure everyone has); and it’s not that I wasn’t happy or taking care of myself before, but it wasn’t consistent. My personal goal through this social isolation is to come out of it a better version of what I thought my best version was.

What are you making more time for? 🙂

A better day

Today was better than yesterday. Not great. But better.

I worked out twice.

I got things situated for my second job- the center that I tutor for is providing free services 2x a day starting Thursday and I’m in charge of them. 1 hour of math/science activity and 1 hour of an interactive read aloud. I will be providing these sessions via Zoom.

I was asked to help babysit a child. The mother works for my dad at the hospital and needs childcare 3 hours a day 2-3x a week, so I will be helping her out.

I want to help. I wish I was helping MY students, MY community of kids, but I am glad to finally be helping and doing something.

I’m still frustrated.

I’m still lonely.

I’m still lost.

But come Thursday I’ll have a schedule. A routine. And right now, that’s what I need.

I can’t wait to find out more about my students. What I can do, when I can do it.

Being in the dark is awful.

Not knowing is awful.

Hearing so much criticism is awful.

But I’m working on trying to push those negatives back, and focus on the positives. Take this day by day. Be in the here and now, even if it’s eerie and weird and uncomfortable.

I’m pretty good at outwardly doing that- if you were to see me or speak to me right now, you’d probably be like- “is this the same girl?”

Yes. It is. I’m way better at hiding my feelings to others in person.

But I feel like I can let go in this platform. Like a journal. Even though it’s out there for others to see, I don’t have to speak it or show it. It’s just there, written.

You guys get it.

A bad day

Today was a bad day.

I’m lonely.

Lost.

Bored.

Frustrated.

Annoyed.

Sad.

Heartbroken.

And no one wanted to talk today.

Because everyone else is feeling this, too.

And sometimes when we have bad days, we just want to be alone.

But I wanted someone to talk to; and I had no one.

So, today was a bad day.

Hopefully tomorrow will be better.

What day is it?

It’s already starting to happen.

I’m already losing track of the days.

And this is going on until (at least) April 27?! What am I to do?!

Unlike other schools, our district is not implementing online or distant learning. No packets sent home, no group chats via Google Hangouts, no lessons given out online- nothing. Literally…. n-o-t-h-i-n-g.

I’m already going crazy.

I was so hopeful that if this closure lasted longer than the first 2 weeks, we would at least be getting packets ready to send home, or get set up online somehow.

But, no. We are not.

And I get it- I understand what makes our situation so complicated.

But it doesn’t make it easier. It doesn’t calm my heart.

I feel so helpless. I feel like I’m letting these kids down; and I know it’s not my fault, but I just can’t help but feel like I’m failing- especially when I see teachers all over the country teaching their students from afar.

I was allowed to set up a Facebook group- but it could contain nothing educational or instructional (including no videos of me reading aloud 😦 ). Despite what I can’t do in that group, I can post pictures and videos, and they can as well. I set this up yesterday, and have checked it frequently all day today. It’s been so fun to see videos of these kids doing things I normally don’t get to see them do!

While it’s incredibly hard to not be teaching during this time, and heartbreaking to see and hear the backlash and hurtful messages that some parents are sending our way, it’s been such a blessing to connect with my students in a different way.

I do hope my students are reading. I hope they’re enjoying snuggles on the couch with a book in their hands, or tucked into bed with a reader at their side giving them things to dream about (while sadly, this probably isn’t happening with all, or even most of my students- it’s nice to think about). I do hope they’re writing. I sent out letters to each of them; I hope, at the very least, they use the stamp I included and send one back to me. I do hope they are practicing their math, but in ways that aren’t “school related”. Cooking or baking. Playing outside, exploring. Board games or even their silly video games. I hope they are wanting to do something to enrich their brains.

But I also hope they’re having fun. I hope they’re playing and seeking. I hope they’re relaxing. I hope they’re spending time with their families. I hope they’re eating. I hope they’re warm. I hope they’re getting their nails painted, or playing card games. I hope someone is paying attention to them. I hope they’re paying attention to someone else.

Our community is tough. But this is an even tougher time. While I am sad to not be teaching or providing resources, I am relieved that there isn’t added stress in these homes. I’m okay with knowing that by not requiring things to get done, we can alleviate some very real problems (emotionally, mentally, and even physically) that could arise.

I am sad. I am heartbroken. I am missing them and my job. I am lonely. I feel lost.

But I am thankful. I am blessed. I am healthy. And I can still see their smiling faces, thank goodness.

Cue the tears

Dear students,

I’m currently curled up on my couch, in my gray sweatpants and gray sweatshirt with my hair in a top bun that you all love so much. Rello has been wandering around me, wondering why I am still home- he hasn’t yet decided if he loves it or hates it. Sometimes he’ll jump up next to me and make himself a little nap space, but other times it seems he’d rather distance himself in hopes to feel “normal” again. You know, normal as in- mom leaves for 10 hours a day and then comes back and smothers me. As much as I like seeing his sweet face every minute of the day; I miss that normal, too.

I miss you all, more than you will ever know. I miss greeting you with our own special handshakes that you each crafted back in September. I promise you I will never forget them. The minute I am able to rest my eyes on you one by one again we will have our special moment of greeting and I’ll probably end it with the biggest hug you’ve ever received.

I miss our classroom full of giggles and the pitter patter of running feet (even though you know you’re not supposed to be running!). After this nightmare is over, I will never again get grumpy about running feet in our space. I think about the times I’ve rolled my eyes and bit my tongue when I heard too much talking or laughing during work time- never again. I will never take for granted those moments of happiness even during times when you’re supposed to be “silent”. I will pause and smile and take in those moments and remember that life is too short to get grumpy over small conversations during independent math or writing.

I miss reading you stories. I miss 21 eyes and ears engaged in my read alouds. I miss partnering you up to turn and talk. I miss hearing your predictions, discussions, and opinions. I miss waiting 30 seconds for you to spit out the words you’re trying to say because you got so excited to speak that you stutter over whatever it was you wanted to share. I miss you counting how many people were sitting on the bench (you know only 6 are allowed) and I miss looking up to see two of you braiding each others hair and 2 more of you secretly playing thumb war; you don’t think I notice, but I do 🙂 But guess what? You’re still listening, and quite, and paying attention- and that’s what matters most.

I miss your writing. I miss watching you place adjectives in spots you think you can “spice up”. I miss you handwriting, even if I can barely read some of it. I miss your creative souls, your sense of humor, your excited hearts.

I think I might miss snack time the most. Playing music, listening to your conversations, throwing my dart eye daggers at you when you skip around with food in your mouth (I just want you to be safe!) I would give anything to be handing out my secret stash of M&Ms to you.

This period of time will forever change me as a teacher. Your class will forever hold a special place in my heart. I will never forget how this time away has effected me, and I will never go back to being the teacher I was before this. You all spoil me with “you’re the best teacher ever!” compliments, but my darlings I promise you, you will have an even better teacher than you had before when we get through this.

These are the only words I can muster up right now. I am sure I’ll be writing to you more in the upcoming weeks. I can only imagine how you’re feeling right now. Please know that I love you and I am thinking of you every second of the day. I hope you are safe, happy, and healthy.

Love, Miss Sementelli