The March Slice of Life Challenge is hosted by Stacey and Ruth at Two Writing Teachers
Yesterday, I missed the annual March Saturday Reunion at Teacher’s College. I had been looking forward to this so much, especially after receiving the list of workshops and presenters – it would be another fabulous day of learning and being inspired. But, by Friday evening, I knew that the reunion was simply not in the cards. A day later, I’m still thinking about it, and decided to slice about why I could not go as a way to address something I have not been able to write about before.
Four years ago, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. After a summer in which I could not summon the energy to get out of bed or rid my body of its all over pain, I began a year long process of trying to identify what the issue was. Fibromyalgia is usually diagnosed through a process of elimination – there is no known cause, trigger, treatment or cure. It is a most maddening and frustrating disease, especially if one is a type A person, whose only issue with energy was in finding enough outlets for it. I remember sitting in the doctor’s office, and listening to this diagnosis in disbelief – surely there was some medication, some therapy that would restore me to my previous high energy self? What do you mean “learn how to live with this”? I did not have time for this crazy-sounding disease!!!
Well, that was then, these days, I make many decisions based on “if I do this then I can’t do that”: if I spend time gardening, then I can’t take Sophie on our usual long walks…if I take an afternoon to kayak around the lake with my husband, then we can’t also go to the movies that night. It’s a weird way to live. I don’t like talking about it because I find that it makes me a little crazy, actually. When I do, I feel a tight knot of anger and (I must confess) a degree of “feeling sorry for myself” begin to form, which pretty much gets in the way of doing what I can do. And, when I reflect on all of those who suffer from things much, much worse than my little fibro, I feel pretty stupid and shallow.
So, I needed to weigh what to do. The Saturday Reunion at TC is a high energy day – there is the commute from New Jersey to Morningside Heights, the trek from the opening keynote at Riverside Cathedral to the TC buildings, and then the daylong rushing from one workshop to the next through the maze of stairwells and passageways that connect Horace Mann, the Millbank Chapel and Grace Dodge. By Friday afternoon, I knew it was probably not a good idea…if I did go the the reunion, then Sunday would have to be spent recovering rather than preparing for the week ahead.
So, Sophie and I walked to the top of of our street and took in the view instead:
The “View” on a summer morning
I looked over at the city, and imagined all the activity at TC. I knew Pam Munoz Ryan would give an inspiring opening speech, that Lucy Calkins would have another great presentation on the common core and literacy, that Mary Ehrenworth would have yet another amazing session about the possibilities of expanding our students’ reading and writing…and that I would have to wait for another time, another reunion.