Growing, Changing, Living, Learning, Letting Go: Final Reflection Spring 2016

It’s the end of another semester, and as is tradition, my literacy students have written their final reflection to discuss how their perspectives have shifted and what they’ve learned in the past 15 weeks.  I give this assignment this because I believe in reflection, and also because it’s my chance to write them each a personal good-bye letter to thank them for sharing their semester with me.

And, also, as is tradition (generally), I take this opportunity to reflect on the past semester.

This semester has been one of movement and exploration.  I began the semester seeking balance.  This academic year, I’ve been balancing life with an infant and a 10-year old at home, as well as trying to figure out how to continue establishing myself as a scholar while maintaining my sense of commitment to my students.  Oh, and I decided to run my first ever half-marathon (with a team to raise money for clean water in Africa).

Yeah, so, movement and exploration.

But, also humility in the journey.  When you push your boundaries, they push back.  This semester, I fought several physical injuries as I pushed my body too hard in training (shocker, I know!).  I fought continual self-doubt, as I explored new areas of my scholarship and journals that had previously intimidated me.  Then I fought more self-doubt as my son adjusted (not always seamlessly) from being the only kid at home (and the baby of the family with his two much older sisters) to becoming an older brother, and as I adjusted to balancing being a mother of two young children who wanted my attention ALL THE TIME. Oh, and then I fought more self-doubt as I worried about whether my students were getting it and whether what I was giving was worth it for them to get.  And then, I laughed at myself for worrying so much.  Because #thatsmylife.

What I’m really taking from this semester is that life is constantly about growing, changing, living, learning and letting go.  My baby girl has this down pat.  She is doing all of these things constantly….and, I guess, so am I, and so are we all.  But the difference between her and me (and maybe most of my adult friends) is that she does so without fighting life, and I do so constantly doubting myself, wondering if I’m doing it “right,” and sometimes, kicking and screaming (I do take comfort, however, in the fact that the roles are reversed at bedtime).

As I end this semester, I’m hoping to take a page from Baby Jo’s playbook, and begin trusting myself, trusting life and trusting this path I’m on.  I’m going to keep moving and keep exploring; I’m sure I’ll also keep getting humbled, but I resolve to fall and get up again with more grace and kindness to myself and more gratitude for this journey I’m on.