Monday, February 21, 2011

Lunch Bunch

Over the past six months, the highlight of my workday has become the time I spend in the teachers lounge with a small group of women I affectionately call my lunch bunch.  For all outside appearances, other than believing in the same God and working at the same place, we don’t seem to have much in common however, over time, we have found common threads that have somehow woven our lives together.  We talk about our families, the struggles, the laughter, the highlights and of course the lowlights.  We commiserate about the challenges of our work place, the gossip we have heard and the truths we have come to learn.  We discuss shoes, fashion, food and diets.  We share stories and keep each other up to date about the goings on of our mutual friends.  Most of all though, we laugh.  We laugh A LOT. 

After my lunch today (in actuality it was last week.  I started writing this post several days ago) I had to leave campus to run a few work errands.  I am so incredibly busy at work these days and I had originally planned to use my lunchtime to run the errands.  As I was driving to my appointment I was thinking back about lunch and was so happy that I decided take time for lunch with friends before continuing on in my day. It is so easy to get caught up in “catching up.”  In our efforts and attempts of getting ourselves organized, we miss out on the good things that are actually the fuel that keep us going.  During the week, it is my “Lunch Bunch” that keeps me going.  In the big picture of life, it is the time I carve out with friends and family that keep me going.  Whether it be a few moments of shared laughter and catching up or hours of gossip and reminiscing, the time spent with friends and family are the very thing that keep me grounded and remind me of what is important in life.   I took some time today to go through my photo library.  I could have spent hours, days, going through the memories.  Long story short…friends and family are the common threads that weave the blanket we take comfort in and snuggle around our bodies when times are hard.  I offer you this…take the blanket and wrap it around yourself when times are good and enjoy, embrace, make time for and cherish the moments that you can spend with friends and family when times are good.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Thank you for understanding.

I knew when I started this blog that I wouldn’t be able to write every day, every week or on any sort of regular basis for that matter.   Since my last post I have thought about a couple different topics to write about.  However the other day (actually it has probably been over a week now) I received an email from a parent at the school I work at that simply said “Thank you for understanding.”  It struck me so profoundly and I knew this had to be my next topic.  I have been thinking about it for several days now.  The email was in response to my reply to their original email about why they responded past the deadline, why they were hoping I would bend the rules for them.  In the original email they stated their case and asked if I would make an exception to the stated rule.  To be honest it was much easier at the time for me to say yes, no worries, than it was to explain why I had to deny their request.  I didn’t understand, I just did what was easiest for me at the time.  Now, looking back, I am happy that they think I took the time to understand their situation.  Not only because it made them feel better but because it made me stop and think about what it really means to “understand.”

With friends and people we love it is much easier to say we understand and accept them for what they do, what they say, who they are.  With strangers I think it is much harder.  However, after getting the email I think about how much nicer our world would be if we could extend the understanding we give to those we know and love to those we don’t know as well.  Put yourself in someone else’s shoes if only for a minute.

LC’s 2nd grade teacher, Mr. Ronquillo, said it best when he tried to explained to the kids that you just don’t know where someone else has been in the last five minutes before you encountered them.  Treat everyone with kindness and understanding.  Doing that is so much easier said than done.  It is so easy to understand the big things or the obvious things that we can see…I understand you missed the meeting because your child was sick.  I understand you didn’t volunteer to help because you were committed to supporting another cause.  It is trying to understand the other things that upset our world with no explanation or apparent reason that we all seem to have a hard time with.

With the exception of a few years (or so) in my twenties, I have always been a stay between the lines kind of girl.  I just couldn’t understand why people couldn’t follow the stated rules, policies and procedures.  Now older and wiser (HA!) I have discovered life is not always as it seems.  As much as you may want to “stay between the lines” life doesn’t always work out that way.  Having people along the way that say “I understand” make a world of difference to those that are trying their best to keep it all together. 

So with that said, here is my list of “thank you for understanding” going out to friends and family.  Thank you for understanding when…
  • I didn’t return your email, text or phone call in a timely manner
  • I forgot my kids at your house; you entertained them, helped them with homework and sent them home with a full belly.
  • forgot your birthday
  • forgot to send a thank you note for all the wonderful things you did for me
  • I was cranky and tired and snapped at you for no reason
  • I didn’t listen
  • I didn’t seem to care
  • I drank your best wine and didn’t even stay to help with dishes
  • borrowed something of yours and kept it way too long
  • I was too tired to lend a hand

I am sure the list could go on and on but it is late and I am tired…thank you for understanding.

Oh…and for my friend Sue V….here is your shout out…I love you.  Thank you for being my friend and for understanding when I drop off the face of the earth and don’t see you or talk to you for long stretches of time.  Two things I love most about you are it doesn’t matter how long it has been, we can always talk and share smiles like it was yesterday and when I run into you at school and haven’t seen you in forever we always hug.  I love that.