The last week of teaching has been exhausting. Event after event, last minute tasks to be completed, packing up the classroom for the year; the number of duties that needed to be accomplished before checkout seemed insurmountable. Yet, I found myself sitting across from my principal at the prescribed time with a pile of papers, materials and keys; ready to hand it all over. The relief that comes at the end of the school year is immense but it is also coupled with a sense of sorrow, a disbelief that my 6th graders are leaving me, a let down of sorts. To say that the last day of school is one of mixed emotions is an understatement.
However, now that all of my hard work is complete, I am ready to embrace this well-earned break. After a late afternoon lunch out with Greg and a much-needed nap, I emerged on the last day of teaching ready search out that less structured feel of summertime. We live near the high school; so sitting on my lounge chair in the backyard I could hear the cheers from the graduation ceremony as I unsheathed a bubble wand that a teacher friend had gifted me. Blowing bubbles in backyard in the early evening was a calming meditation. The controlled breath required to create uniform bubbles, became a form of pranayama. I love finding my yoga practice in unexpected places and activities. As I released the stresses of the week (and the year) in my exhales encapsulated in soap bubbles, I began to feel very hopeful and excited about the summer months.
Something that has been in the back of mind and has been surfacing in my rare free moments is the anticipation I have felt about our 10th anniversary trip to Europe. Not only will Greg and I be celebrating 10 happy years of marriage this summer, but he also has his 40th birthday this June. Both of these celebrations are so much sweeter in light of the health issues and surgery he navigated this spring. My delight in his returning strength and health often bubbles up in the form of giddiness. I feel so blessed to have my happy and healthy husband by my side and so excited to travel with him again and experience new adventures and make more memories.
With five days until we leave on our trip, there is so much to do. Laundry, packing, yard work, housework, confirmations, and the list goes on. In one regard, I feel that just as I checked off all the items on my end of the year teaching inventory, another long list of to-dos is accruing. Yet, rather than race around and build stress and frustration, I’ve decided to take each task on as a meditation. Being present as I fold the laundry, breathing deeply as I pull weeds, chanting or singing a song as I tackle the pile of dishes we were both to busy or tired to touch the last couple of days.
Though I know I’ll be heading to the airport before I know it, I am making time in the next few days amid all else that needs to be done to consciously relax. I will indulge in a professional massage, I will nap as needed, and I will spend idle moments outdoors. Though this year of teaching seemed riddled with challenges and our personal life was full of worry, the tide seems to be turning. The summer seems to be off to a good start.