Sunday, June 1, 2008

A Rocking Ride, But We're Still Rolling


It's a beautiful day outside: the very best kind of weather, sunny but breezy, warm but not hot. The cousins are over and the kids are playing like cousins, with familiarity, ease, sweetness. No other friendships are quite like it.

It's been a wonderful day and it's only late afternoon (and I am vowing to ward off the Sunday Night Blues).

I woke up early and drove to a spot on the marathon course to cheer on my friend in her first marathon. As I watched for her I was reminded how uplifting it is to cheer for strangers who have the guts to run 26.2 miles. My friend was glowing and gleeful after mile 11 and I jumped in for a few miles, then ran back to my car along a pretty quiet, spectator-free stretch of the course, continuing to shout encouragements while heading in the opposite direction.

It's hard for me to believe I ever ran a marathon myself, because I was Very Glad to find my car after five miles.

This four-day week felt interminable, beginning with my post-long-weekend Questioning of Career Path (and Family Sacrifice) and ending with some Sense of Satisfaction that My Work is Meaningful. In between, students disappointed us by disrespecting staff members and defying authority; we responded by cancelling a popular student activity; then, after further consideration of the wide net we were casting, we reinstated the activity and soldiered on.

It goes without saying that while we were asking ourselves what is important/what is right/what is fair?, others were asking us what the hell are you doing/are you flipping crazy/do you want the entire community to hate you? Which felt Not Very Good. Not to mention that altering the course of our decisions midstream came with its own risks and criticism.

It turns out you hardly ever know exactly what you're doing so you do the best you can and try to get it as right as you can and as close to being about what you believe in and care about as you can.

It never feels completely good to make tough decisions, particularly in the public eye. I've learned that the only consolation is if you feel pretty okay inside yourself about the whole thing, as that may be all you have to sustain you.

We do care about kids, which became more evident to us if not to others, and at the end of the week, I care about a Whole Lot of Them a Whole Lot MORE, which is pretty cool.

Hence a sense of accomplishment for endurance of something tough, which might not be that far off from how my marathoner friend is feeling today: exhausted, in some pain, proud of herself, and very very glad the hardest part (of this event, anyway!) is over.

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