I am leaning to the right. Not politically of course! Politically I lean to the left. Physically I lean to the right. My right leg is occasionally slipping of the foot plate, and I find that my head never feels centered in my head rest (The fact that my head never feels centered could be something else entirely, but all of that is a matter of opinion). My right side has less strength so it probably has more trouble holding my weight. It's annoying because I am always trying to adjust my body and it never feels quite right.
I had a dream a few nights back that feels connected to this "leaning right". I was in a large Hallmark store with my friend Lisa. The line was really long and they opened up another register to our right. We walked over, but as soon as we got there the line became long again with us at the end. It was happening over and over again; the line opened on the right and we were at the end. Finally a line opened on the left and we were the second in line. In front of us was my previous student Alexa and her Mom, Robin. Alexa hugged me big and I could see her face as she hugged me and she had this huge smile on her face and her eyes closed.
I don't know what this dream means. I'm not much into analyzing my dreams. I do know how they make me feel, and this one made me feel loved and connected. I am never in my wheelchair in my dreams - even in the upsetting ones. I think that means I am not really supposed to be here. But again, I don't really want to analyze my dreams. Well, maybe just a little...
After I had that dream, I began thinking about Alexa and many of the other students I have taught over the past ten years. Then I began thinking where I would be right now in the school year. We are about a week away from Earth Day. During the month of April the kids were invited to bring in boxes that they were going to recycle - cereal boxes, boxes from bars of soap, snack boxes, etc. We collected the boxes in large black garbage bags and by the time Earth Day rolled around we had at least three garbage bags full of boxes of all shapes and sizes. On Earth Day we would read a book called Christina Katerina and the Box. It is about how a girl uses her imagination to create and then recreate things from her mother's refrigerator box. We would then all pick a box and create. Some kids had trouble with this, like they needed a set of instructions similar to what would come with a Lego set. With some encouragement, and the repetition of me stating "yes, you really can create whatever you want!", they would get there. Pretty soon the room would be full of castles and race cars, robots and space stations, dollhouses and airplanes. They would jump at the chance to add another box to their creation, or use the scraps from the scrap box to add color and pizzazz! Inevitably when the period was over and it was time for them to stop for the day, there would be moaning and cries of disappointment that they didn't have enough time. So we would put our creations on the window sill, Elmer glue dripping down the sides, colored paper hanging from loosely set pieces of clear tape, and we would find time to finish them the next day. On rainy, indoor recess days the extra boxes would serve as building blocks, the students working together to reach a creative goal.
I miss having connections with kids every day, especially first graders. They are curious and inquisitive and so very entertaining. I miss how I would know them so well by April that I could tell who would need extra encouragement creating something from a box, and who would be able to take off and delve right in. I miss the building of relationships with kids and their families. I miss Morning Meeting and being let into important pieces of their lives as they would "share". I know that I am still teaching in a different way, but there are very few things that are as gratifying to me as teaching a young child. This is how I lean.