Beauty in the day: a certain principal came to school WEARING A PATRIOTS T-SHIRT. He dressed his son this way as well. His own child was sacrificed to this cause (which, for the record, was nothing more than the playful antagonization of his staff 😉 ). At the end of the day, a parent came to pick up their child, and left with a loud, “Go Hawks!” which was answered in like manner by my assistant and myself. From down the hall, came a tiny, quiet voice – practically a whisper: “Go Seahawks!” It was the Principal’s son. He gave me a sheepish look, and then looked away. #hawkfeveriscatching
Beauty in the day: they were kindergarteners, all of them. Their teacher was in a professional development, and there was no sub. They sat, rapt attention trained on the Asst. Principal as I walked in the classroom. “Why, hello, Ms. Nordstrom! We are just busy celebrating our Star of the Week here. And just look how nicely this class is sitting and paying respect!” I looked. They were, as it happened. I gushed for a moment at how right he was, and a sudden inspiration struck him to lead the students in this chant: “repeat after me, kids,” he encouraged. “I am good enough!” he exclaimed with authority. “I am smart enough!” Came the second punch. Finally, he finished with this great line: “people like me!”
Beauty in the day: Sometimes a second-hand story is as good as being there. This was told to me today about a student, a first grader. The teacher was sharing about her grandmother, and a little guy (who has made headlines before) piped up (which, by the way, is his style. Always.) “Um, I had a grandpa, but he died, but it’s okay because I will get to see him again someday. He went to a really good place, with candy waterfalls and Pokemon roads.” Besides being heart-wrenchingly cute, it’s also heartwarming to know that someone who loves him, lined out his grandpa’s afterlife in terms that he could really relate to.
Beauty in the day: three little girls were crowded around the “poster” in the office. It read, “Ms. Nordstrom in Elementary School.”
“Who put that there?” One of them wondered aloud.
“Miss Kelly did,” said an older girl, standing nearby.
The little girls gasped in unison and turned to me.
“Miss Kelly! Why did you put this here? Who is this girl?”
“It’s me, when I was your age,” I told them.
More gasping, now even from the 2 older girls.
“Miss Kelly, YOU’RE Ms. Nordstrom?!?!?!?!”
They left in a trail of wonder, and I heard one murmur, “Miss Kelly is Ms. Nordstrom….”
Beauty in the day: He brought his 1st grade classmate to the office. “I accidentally bonked him in the nose, so I am bringing him to the clinic.”
“Okay,” said our clinic aide, “come with me,” and she began to lead the way to the clinic. Bringer-of-Classmate had a moment of stunned incredulity. “You’re the nurse AND the recess teacher? THAT’S pretty cool.”
Beauty in the day: I read a well-meaning quote on LinkedIn. It read: “Hating people takes [too] much time. Forgive them, not because they deserve it, but because you are on a higher level than they are.” My beauty to you is this truth: I will forgive, not because I think I am on a higher level than they are….but because I know I am not.
She came in with a pass from her teacher.”I’m here to see Miss Brooks.”
“Miss Brooks is not here today.”
“Yes! My teacher gave me a pass! That means I am supposed to see Miss Brooks!”
“Well, except that Miss Brooks is not here today. She doesn’t work on Thursdays.”
“But, I have a pass!”
“Hmmm…I’m sorry. I guess your teacher didn’t remember that Miss Brooks is not here today.”
“That just doesn’t even make sense! – What about Mr. Mike?”
“Mr. Mike is gone for the day.”
“What? I saw him today! He is here!”
“Well, he WAS here, but now he is at Woodridge.”
“But, I have a pass, and that means I am supposed to come TODAY! If I get a pass, then it means today. I was supposed to come at 11:00, but now it is 1:00, so I can see Mr. Mike.”
…Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re all thinking that I am going to give this girl a rose and send her skipping to class with a smile. I tried. I did. But that little pixie was having none of it. So, I went the only other direction there was. I stooped down and gave her a very level look. “The bottom line is, that neither Miss Brooks nor Mr. Mike are here. You can bring me 5 passes, and I will still say the same thing. You’ll have to go back to class, and come back tomorrow.” She stared back for a beat or two, then wheeled around on her heel and left with a loud snuffle, and a small wail. She walked out, muttering all the way. I watched her heading back down the hall to class…getting sidetracked by something in the Library…waving at someone coming from the other direction….yeah, she was going to be just fine.
Beauty in the day: I have a two-page list of “Things to Do” at my desk. I stopped counting after 32, so it’s somewhere around 38 now. There are 3 check-marks on it. Done. Done. Done. Three beautiful check-marks. And there are three more things that are ALMOST worthy of a check-mark. Almost. I was getting one “this close” (thumb and index finger held up to my eye in the same kind of motion my kids and I use to “catch” the last bit of sun – or sometimes the moon) to completion, but girl-with-concern came to complain about girls in the bathroom who kept switching stalls. Gah. I tried to complete another, but the roller grabbed the film, and rolled it to a place on a laminator that the sun doesn’t shine. “Lucifer” will have to wait until tomorrow, when Custodian Man can help. It’s a two-person job, you see. So anyway, there went another check-mark. I tried to do something to get a check-mark earned in some way. But I had to answer a phone, register some new students, give a tour, figure out what the blasted key number was that belonged to that downstairs conference room, update a map, deal with HR, try to explain to a parent why their pre-schooler may not be able to attend our school next year, since they live in another school district, – – none of these things are on my list. But they did get done. They did get done. I am not mocked by those waiting check-marks. I know what I did. By the time I get those check-marks earned (tomorrow afternoon, by God I swear), I will have created a new set to check off. For every check-mark, there are at least 3 unwritten items getting checked off. No matter – I’m still going to enjoy checking those “done’s” off the list tomorrow.
December 31st. Did this year finish well? I guess that depends on your perspective, and what you thought needed to be accomplished. For me, it’s all part of the experience. Everything good; everything bad. I love the things that come from the “bad” – maybe I’ll grow into a lovely adult – in time.
I’ve not been a big “maker-of-resolutions” in the past – I kind of go with the flow. But this year, I think I want to set some goals and see if I can accomplish something that I can actually note.
But along with those “notable” accomplishments, I intend to spend my days foraging for beauty in the midst of the difficult and the frustrating.
So far, I have not been disappointed. Instead, I have been rewarded. Beauty to you.