My search for one little word to help guide me this year started last month. My search began during the fifth week of my daughter being sick. In addition to being fatigued from being woken up in the middle of the night when she didn’t feel well, I was exhausted from work travel. Knowing what might lay ahead in 2018, I began to cultivate a list of possibilities for one little word to guide me through what I anticipated would be a challenging year ahead. I came up with:
I tried each of the words on for size. Each seemed to fit like a too-tight pair of jeans. So, I kept searching.
I initially felt relieved when my daughter received a diagnosis* for what was ailing her. Having a name for something means getting treating the symptoms with medication. Despite the relief, I also felt indignant. Why was so much being thrown at my sweet girl? And, let me be honest, I was frustrated to have more being heaped onto my proverbial parenting plate. We’ve had a long road (Click here or here for more information.) that has included hours upon hours of speech therapy, vision therapy, and more. How much more could she or I take?
*= For those who know me in real life, my daughter’s diagnosis is significant, but it’s not life-threatening. She’s told her classmates what’s going on, but now that she’s seven-years-old, her medical information is not something I feel I should be sharing in a public forum.
In November, I shared a slice of life story about a six-year-old girl we knew who lost a courageous battle with cancer. About a month after Sophia’s untimely passing, her mom shared a Facebook memory that included a selfie of them when Sophia was well. The present-day caption read: “Don’t take yourself too seriously… life is too short not to have fun!” That’s when I realized I didn’t need a word like intrepid to get me through the year ahead. I’m already tough-as-nails. I don’t need to brick up my heart with steely resolve. Instead, I need to find the humor in the everyday moments of life.
By nature, I’m a serious person. I read The New York Times and The Washington Post daily. I surround myself with educators who are passionate about education and take the teaching of reading and writing seriously. The most recent non-teaching books I’ve read have been quite serious (i.e., Promise Me, Dad by Joe Biden and Juniper: The girl who was born too soon by Kelley and Thomas French). In order to balance my career and family life, I have to stay laser-focused and detail-oriented. While I can be silly – as evidenced by the way I often sing and dance my way through Hersheypark with my kids – my serious side dominates. Despite making solid comedic programming choices (Things I find funny and watch regularly: “Big Bang Theory,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Full Frontal,” “The Daily Show,” and “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.”), I spend more time watching hard-hitting news shows and documentaries. Taking life less seriously – when we are living in a very serious time – seems challenging.
However, I’m always up for a challenge. Therefore, I mulled over what Sophia’s mom wrote for a couple of weeks. I came to realize that taking myself a little less seriously wouldn’t mean I’d become irresponsible or numb to the world around me. Rather, it would mean I’d probably enjoy life more since I’d be actively seeking joy.
Last week, my husband and I celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary with a long weekend away. During one of our quiet, kid-free dinners, we talked about what lays ahead in 2018. I summoned the courage to try out my one little word on him. I declared the word I will live by to him: LAUGHTER.
He smiled. “I think it will be good for you to laugh more.”
I think so too.
For a chance to win this copy of the One Little Word® 2018 Workshop, please leave a comment on any (or all) of our team members OLW blog posts by Sunday, January 7th, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. EST. I will use a random number generator to pick the winner, whose names I will announce on the Two Writing Teachers Facebook page by Tuesday, January 9th.
Please be sure to leave a valid e-mail address when you post your comment so I can contact you to obtain your mailing address if you win. From there, our contact at Ali Edwards Design Inc. will provide you with a code for the One Little Word® 2018 Workshop. (NOTE: Your e-mail address will not be published online if you leave it in the e-mail field only.)
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Literacy Consultant. Author. Former 4th and 5th Grade Classroom Teacher.