Tuesday, May 19, 2009

End of a Year

One never notices what has been done; one can only see what remains to be done . . .

- Marie Curie

I remember the way I usually felt at the end of the school year -- really, it was indescribable. There isn't a word in the English language for it. In some ways, we had accomplished more than I had realized. At the same time, there were all the things that we had not done. I could see the projects, too, that had fallen short of my idealized hopes. My kids had made progress, no doubt about that, and I knew that was considered by most to be a sign of success. But there was a nagging doubt dripping in the back of my mind. When does one know how much is enough? I was intimately aware of my children's weaknesses. To me they were glaring. I was painfully aware of my own flaws. To others, this seemed less evident. I could appreciate that. Or maybe they were just being nice. Maybe we had better cash it in and take up real school.

My kids didn't help me any with these feelings. Toward the end of the year, they were tired. They wanted to be finished. I remember one of mine saying that his problem was that he had a fake teacher in a fake school. If he had a real teacher, he would be able to learn this stuff. I understood how he felt and I didn't even protest. I just looked at him and nodded my head. I was tired of being a fake teacher in a fake school. Tired of all this effort that didn't lead to direct, sustainable results. Tired of wrestling with my own failings. Tired of confronting the fear (sometimes a certainty) that I wasn't ever going to be enough. I actually felt sorry for him. I felt sorry for myself. If I could have, in good conscience, walked him over to the real school a block away and left him there, that's where he would have gone.

But ultimately, I knew I was doing what God had called me to do. I just didn't understand how He could have given me a job that I was unable to do well enough. That's honestly how I felt: sad, disappointed, tired, irritable, and disillusioned. At the same time, I was deeply grateful that we had finished another year. There were memories that could make me smile, even when I was feeling low. I could see my kids' progress, while being nagged by the anxiety that it wasn't enough. I really was exhausted. I needed to get out of the school room in the worst way. The thought that I could wake up, on a morning soon, without having to teach any lessons made me feel a little wild.

Perhaps we should make up a word to describe how the end of the school year feels. Shakespeare made up the words he needed. So did Mark Twain. With company like that, how can we resist?

How about this one? Wildebestuous.

It means that mixed up state of: I am feeling wild like a beast in a cage, even though we did our best, and I am not sure why am I feeling so tempestuous, yet I am so grateful to be here and need a large word to describe the odd sense of spaciousness that is at the end of a lot of work.

There. What do you think?

Can you suggest a word for the way you feel at the end of the year?

1 comment:

  1. hyslaritedium - Mom

    brainfriedcrazy - Son

    jl :)


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