Mother's Day but no mother... and teacher super powers.
I thought about that title. I didn't know whether I wanted to blog about mum but it feels wrong not to. I would have bought or sent flowers. We would have spoken. It was always important. Mother's Day always used to be hard for me because I'm not a mother and I wanted to be one. And now it's harder because I had a mother and she's gone. Also, it's the first year without her, and it was not even two months ago that she died. I used the 'd' word. I'm slowly getting used to using it but gone is easier. I understand why people use the euphemisms now. Dead is such a difficult word...
Anyway, I miss her and I thought of her today and spoke to my sister and shared some memories and that helped. And now I'm sharing a picture of her smiling and wearing her lovely coat. The coat that still hangs on a hook in the kitchen passageway. The coat I have a little hug of every time I visit my dad.
One thing did occur to me that softened the sadness a little: I'm glad she's not here with us going through this. Dad wouldn't have been able to visit her in the nursing home and she wouldn't have understood why or been able to communicate her feelings. I really feel for carers in nursing homes just now; it must be awful.
My new coping mechanism is kindness. Random acts of kindness. This week it has been gifts at supermarkets. Just dumping boxes of chocolates or biscuits on them with a thank you for trying to keep the shelves filled and coping with some dreadful rudeness and impatience while they do it. All that on minimum wage. I'm paid much more to let people be rude to me. I find the actual giving quite strange. It makes me feel such an odd mixture of embarrassed and guilty and joyful. I know you're not supposed to talk about 'good deeds': but I don't see these as such. I see them as necessary acts in a world where people are struggling. That moment of kindness will put them in a place where they may feel able to be kind. Or are less likely to be cruel. And it is not an unselfish thing to do, to give and to be kind. Because the reward is huge. It makes one feel good. And feeling good is cheap at a box of biscuits or chocolates. The funniest thing today was at Tescos where I'd done my little gift dump. The cashier at first thought I was after returning the boxes two seconds after buying them and I saw her gird herself to get on with it for the mad customer. When she realised I was giving then to her and her colleagues, she welled up. Really! And then she was obviously worried about walking off the shop floor with then so we decided she should keep the receipt. The really funny bit though was that she'd told the cashier next to her who was also pleased, and the murmur of free chocolates followed me past the cashiers like a joyful Mexican wave. Hence that mix of embarrassment and joy. Hence not an unselfish act.
Why am I talking about this in my blog? Because how cool would be if we all tried to do kind things, daily. I don't mean just chocolates. Because then all the cashiers would get too fat to get to work or would get type 2 diabetes and that would NOT be kind. But no. Just little things - door openings, and smiles, and kind words - all from a distance of course - and phone calls, cards and letters to those you love but are separated from. I'm going to stop now because I think I sound like this awful Victorian children's annual I have. Do gooder Wilfred was a character in it who was smugly pious and filled my childish mind with scorn. So I include a little taster so you can suffer too. Can you imagine being the child for whom reading this was a treat!
Which brings me to the thought of the day that I have avoided, mostly. School. Tomorrow. The positives: I haven't had to plan five lessons and I won't have the two difficult classes that I would usually have. The intriguing thing I have discovered: I am upset that they have taken my routine from me. So, I dreaded just a little the endlessly rude behaviour of my bottom set year 11 classes. They had convinced me I had a super power. Oh yes. I had gained the ability to be invisible and inaudible. The problem was it was only so for a few students. And never a whole class at a time. I'm a little surprised to find it doesn't stop me worrying about them. How will they cope with their exams and routines snatched away. They'll think it's a laugh at first I know, but underneath, they are probably the least able of my classes to cope with sudden change. And much as they provoked me into believing I was a terrible (as well as invisible) teacher, they may find I was better than no teacher at all. Maybe, I should have introduced them to little Wilfred and his Aunt Fanny. Hmmn. Maybe not...
But whatever happens for the first time ever, I am off to work to be a teacher with no idea of what or who or how or if I am teaching. Even when I did a day's supply when I was first qualified and didn't get a job for the September, I knew when I rocked up at the school that there would be five lessons and two breaks and that I would be teaching mainly English. We won't actually be teaching anyway. Just babysitting. We just don't know how many for.
Ah well. I think that will do. We are living in an unprecedented time. What's a little uncertainty about the shape of a day, compared to all the other uncertainties. I am very aware that I know I will be paid at the end of the month and that is a luxury not shared by a scary amount of people. I'll end with a little quote from Dickens, from Christmas Carol that I quote often, which has suddenly achieved new resonance and meaning. 'We are all fellow passengers to the grave.' he said. And some of us are much closer to the terminus than we dreamed of, or could have guessed, and many of us are frightened.