Honest, hope is a verb

I cleaned my room

Damn.

So, this isn’t something I have wanted to talk about again. It seems that there are a few topics that when they swing back into my sphere of life I desire to do everything but write about them.

I don’t really like to feel like a broken record.

But the fact of the matter is words and I haven’t really gotten along in 2k18, so I best move along with the ones that are hitting against my heart.

Before I move on I want to just leave my bottom line up here at the top, just in case you want to stop reading and go eat a taco:

Your anxiety is not a burden.

Your depression is not a burden.

Your burn out is not a burden.

Your mental health is not a burden.

I don’t know what it is with summers (well, I do but we don’t need to go into it) but this summer has been for lack of a better word; weird.

That’s been really the only word I can come up with.

Because nothing has been bad, nothing has devastated me, but I’ve been tired, drained, burnt out and much more susceptible to the anxiety that finds ways to creep up my spine.

I am surrounded by people just like me or similar to me in one way or another.

I work with people who care. You literally would not survive in my job if you didn’t care. Even the tiny humans that drive me the most up the wall occupy space in my heart.

But, what you find in my line of work is a lot of humans who don’t have the space or ability to put themselves first, you find people who want to help others, take care of others.

When I was in grad school I did a lot of research on burn out in pastors and church leadership mainly because that is what I was going to school for. And I found a lot of pieces of research, a lot of books and statistics on burn out in pastors. A lot of stats on mental health issues and breakdowns as well.

I haven’t done the research but it wouldn’t surprise me if there was the same type of findings in early learning.

And I already hear the responses, and I already can see comments being typed about needing to take care of ourselves.

Don’t you think we know?

I, personally, deal with depression, anxiety and burn out. It is not always present but it comes in waves, seasons and here and there it’s debilitating intense. But, every damn day, I show up for those kiddos. Yes, sometimes that might not be the best for me. But it’s what I do.

(The tears are freely hitting my ipad just for reference.)

I’ve been finding ways be it reorganizing my room, doing face masks, listening to pretty music, to lower my stress and to bring me back to myself.

I’m always working on it.

And I think, why I chose to write and allow my train of thought to freely take the lead is this:

Sweet lord, you my friend, in whatever you are dealing with, are allowed to deal with it.

I’m not saying to not be active. To not pursue health, to not find things that bring you joy, balance and hope.

Be as active as you can be, whether that’s calling a friend to lay on the floor with you while you cry, or bulking up your self care routine. Or getting help from someone who has a degree on the wall.

I don’t know where you are in life.

I just want you to know that we are all walking together whether we know it or not.

I want you to know that I very much have an Instagram filter on sometimes (& its 100% ok if you do too)

I want you to know I very much believe you are going to be ok.

I am going to choose to believe that all the things in life are not a burden.

I am going to choose to believe that I am not too much.

I want you to do the same.

Whether you are a stay at home mom. Or a teacher. Whether you have a corporate job or you are a pastor.

You’ve got this.

And we are here, together.

washington whimsy

to my 2 year olds; with love, teacher meg

I have a mere five days left as the lead teacher to 16 two year olds. I’ll be taking six of them to continue the journey in preschool. But, man, two year olds. They are all the things. And I’ve loved them.

So though they will probably never read this, this is a letter to them.
To my sweet, sassy, snuggly, silly and never really that silent, two year olds:

For your last year as two year olds, you have been my life. I have changed your diapers, helped you go potty, fed you, been peed on, pooped on and bled on, I have talked you through tantrums and sadness, I have helped you go to sleep, I’ve helped you explore and learn and laugh. I’ve been hit, kick, punched, slapped and spit on by you. I’ve grown tired of you screaming my name and missed you when you are gone.

I know A LOT about each of you. I know what your body looks like when you are tired, hungry, sick. I know your real laugh from your fake laugh, I know what holds your attention or what doesn’t. I know what friends you like and those with whom your body needs space. I know that your Monday attitude is different than your Thursday attitude and I know that even though you don’t want me to leave at three, that means it’s sooner for your moms and dads to come.

I see a lot in each of you. One of you is going to be someone who celebrates people well, another is going to use her inevitable popularity to show kindness to those who need it. I believe in this group of tiny humans lies an engineer, a musician and a veterinarian. I see an activist; one my most stubborn, using their skills for good. I see teachers and professors. I see some epic storytellers and writers and creators.

I see that each of you have the ability to change the world around you.

I think, I hope, that in the last year (or two) that you’ve been with me that you’ve learned a few things. One, is to be kind. When you hit, bite, steal a friend’s toy, I hope you’ve learned compassion from me (though you can’t fully comprehend it). I hope that you’ve learned to hope and dream. That you’ve picked that up in your tiny human bodies. 

I hope you’ve learned from me that you are born to be loved. 

Because you are. And so many people love you. You each have a village of moms and dads and teachers and grandmas and grandpas and aunts and uncles and neighbors and friends that love you. 

I hope you’ve learned from me to show up for your life no matter what. I hope you become adults who choose to do the damn thing. Who choose to be present and not perfect. 

Who choose to live.

And I hope (albeit maybe NOT in such a dramatic fashion) that you continue to learn to be humans who express their emotions. 

Because of all the things I’ve hope you’ve learned from me; this is what I’ve learned from you. I KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt when you are feeling: happy, tired, silly, frustrated, sad, mad. You might not know all the verbiage but you express the emotions.

See, as adults, we lack the ability, most of the time, to do that. To put it in your terms: we don’t give our bodies space.

Thank you, for being constant reminders to do that. Thank you for being reminders to let myself feel. Thank you for the practice of labeling your emotions, so that I in turn label my own. I’ll never forget when one of you, upon me asking a rhetorical question of, “who do I need to take care of?”, responded with a singularly word, “you”.

Thank you for helping me pause. For in MY moments of frustration, squeezing my cheeks or giggling, or offering me ice coffee. Thank you for teaching me to breathe. 

And lastly, but in no way least: thank you for being safe with me. For running to me with open arms, for reaching out to me when you were tired or sad or scared. For wanting to hold my hands when we danced. 

Thank you for allowing me to apart of your year of two. I can’t wait to see what I will learn from you next.

With love,

Teacher Meg

I choose champagne

2016: the last word pt2

Here goes nothing.

I just went back and read my words prior to 2016. And the final line of that blog was “here’s to a new year with space for all the things.”

I just wrote four or five lines on how this statement wasn’t true. But I deleted them because I realized that this year did indeed have all the things. Meaning there was space for them.

There just wasn’t space for anything else.

I wrote in part one how I cried a lot this year. Painful, gut-wrenching, heartbreaking sobs.

But, because most things in my life in one way or another relate back to tiny humans as this last week has been me in a state of exhaustion I began thinking about this fact that’s always in the back of brain especially in regards to the tiny humans that take a little bit more of my teacher Meg voice.

For every negative that is spoken over a human (no!, that wasn’t a good choice, redirecting, or even stepping into help with a direction) you need 5 positives to balance it out. And actually, at the end of the day most need ten. We have an average of about 20,000 interactions a day. And how many of those are positive or negative. 

This is where I feel we get hit.

This is where I feel I get hit.

Partly because if I’m being honest , I am not the first to speak positive things to myself. Not neccesarily that I speak negatively to myself, but I don’t counteract the outside world.

I also am not the greatest at receiving the words or big acts from people. 

It’s not like I had many people being mean to me left and right this year. But I had a lot of being second choice, I had people physically showing me they did not want to be in my life, I had a lot of the life around me telling me I wasn’t enough, or that I was needed not wanted and I had people that showed they didn’t respect the kids I loved so dearly to just show the eff up. (Ex. The dark times in T1. Shout out here to: Katy and Krys for always being there, Jamie for always being encouraging, elizabeth for looks through the window, Victoria for always showing up early and Patty for always having wine)

So, as I’ve come to the end of this year I feel I can say that this as a sum up of all the things:

2016 was a full fledge attack on my identity.

It was a year that told me time after time after time that I wasn’t enough, or good enough, or first choice, or wanted. It was a year that told me to just give up. It was year that tried to strip the joy away from things in my life that are good and lovely.

But you know what? There is something, deep ingrained in me, that tells me that the lovely and good are still there. And for as much as I will be the first to say that I battled things in this year that I thought were long passed-insecurities, and ghosts and anxiety I will also say but.

Because the people.

Because the people in my life had so many lovely, celebratory things happen in their life and they invited me along for the ride. Because the people in my life had hard, hard times and they invited me to grieve with them. Because the people in my life put their arm around my shoulder when I had no words for what I needed. Because for as many times as I told the people in my life that they weren’t crazy and it was ok they said the same thing back.

If this year has taught me anything or really reiterated a lesson I already knew, it’s that I do better, I’m more myself because of the people around me. 

And on the days when the lives of the people around me cause me to see what I’m lacking, I have to choose to remember that without them I’d be lacking and vice versa.

So yes, I have absolutely no problem saying this year will not go down as a favorite. 

But I will say that I learned to celebrate small things and REALLY celebrate the joyous beautiful things. 

I will say I learned to choose my battles. And to stand my ground.

I will say learned to say no (more than the year prior)

I will say I fell more deeply in love with the people in my life.

Because without them, what’s really the point?

So 2016, I bid you a gigantic peace out. I thank you for the tears from laughter, for the margaritas on Tuesday, the champagne on Sundays, for a dozen cheesecakes and tables teeming with people. 

But like, please let the door hit you on the way out.

2017, let’s choose champagne. 

Honest, washington whimsy

the long game

I am 31 and have no damn clue what I want to be when I grow up.(And I’ve also discovered I’m way too much of an NF to figure out a tangible life job.)

I’ve been in the early childhood world for about ten years and I’ve acquired so many different skills like the ability to communicate with parents and educators, the ability to be have immense amounts of patience. My leadership style has grown and changed. My capability to read a room helped me as the bible teacher at RFKC. 

And obviously I now have the ability to put 14 one year olds to sleep in under thirty minutes ( RIP teacher Meg and teacher Victoria nap time show).

But, that’s not what I want to be when I grow up. I’m thankful for the jobs I have held, and currently have that have caused me to grow and change as a person, but I’m not sure where this all leads me.

Last week, while curled up on my friend Tiffany’s couch, she asked me what the dream job was. 
Ha.

Can I get paid for writing and sitting and listening to people and then telling them their potential?

Because, one of the other skills that I’ve realized I hold is seeing who someone actually is even when they don’t see it. Adults, teenagers and of course, the tiny humans.

(Though most of the time it comes out in the form of “man up or shut up” or reciting the “but was he a man?” dialogue from the mindy project )

Rewind to the past few months in the two year old room.

Two year olds mean business. And I have a few that are more than a handful. 

I was on the phone with a parent a couple weeks ago telling her about something her tiny human did that day that caused teacher Meg to have a heart attack and she began apologizing for the fact that her tiny human is a handful and is always the one to be the first to test the boundaries.

I stopped her apologizing as quickly as it began.

I could easily see her becoming defeated, so, I said that said tiny human wasn’t a handful (and I will never confirm or deny if this is true), but to think about how when the tiny human is older, they will be able to take risks, and push the boundaries. 

She responded that I was thinking positive.

But I mean, what would happen if we looked at tiny humans like that? Saw the things that may look like not great life choices and find ways to turn them positive and frame them in that way. What would happened even if we looked at teenagers, adults like that? What would that change?

I’ve been watching a lot of Girl Meets World lately. (Sidenote if you are caught up PLEASE CALL ME BECAUSE I HAVE FEELINGS).

On GMW they have a lot of lessons and life wisdom and warm fuzzies and a handful of mentions of the “long game”. The long game is just how it sounds. Being in it not for the immediate results but for what will happen at the end. 
I have kids that I had in day camp that are out of college. I have preschoolers that are in junior high and high school. You don’t work in early education for the short game. Sometimes you get those immediate gratifying moments. But for the most part, you have to just know that at the foundation you are and were apart of that tiny humans life. I may never know what happened with them, but I will know that I will live in a little piece of their present in the future.

I want to live whatever I am doing in the long game. Be it working with tiny humans, or writing or sitting across from people or being in leadership or maybe one day being a wife and a mom. 

Living in the long game is being present with who you are today knowing that it will be apart of who you are tomorrow.  Living in the long game is taking care of yourself and your heart and soul and being so that ten years from now when something comes into your being you are prepared for it. 

I’m 31 and I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.

But I’m choosing (attempting) to be present and honest and living with my whole heart. Because it’s for today, tomorrow, next week and next year. It’s for Bellingham now. It’s for Bellingham later and wherever else I find myself.  I’m choosing to live my life using the pieces of life I’m given and wrapping them into gifts I can give.

I’m living in the long game.