I have written in the past about my mother and her horrific battle with metastatic breast cancer. My mother passed away on September 1 and there have been a number of situations since then that have brought up memories coupled with a series of emotions. I am certainly not unique in the category of losing a loved one, as so many people have dealt with loss. I think we can all agree, it sucks pretty bad. I had a tough time a few weeks ago, as it was my mother’s birthday and the first one we experienced without her. There have been many firsts this year without my mom and it has become “The new normal.” I don’t like the new normal. The new normal makes me uncomfortable. The new normal forces me to do things that I would not typically do for the family if my mother was around. The new normal leaves me struggling to find the right words to say to my brother and dad in certain conversations. I don't like the new normal; however, the new normal is not all bad.
The new normal allows me to talk more seriously with my brother about issues and feelings that matter. The new normal opens my eyes to see that my father is not actually Superman and needs help as well. The new normal allows me to appreciate even more how caring of a wife I have. The new normal allows me to step back and realize how amazing my mother truly was. I bring this up not to draw tears and make people sad, but to allow you to realize that as an educator, you are experiencing a new normal quite often. There is one constant in this crazy game of education and it is change.
We are continually evolving as educators whether we are implementing a new literacy curriculum, a trauma-responsive model to best meet the needs of all kids, adjusting a management procedure in an effort to be more efficient, or redesigning learning spaces to provide more engaging environments. Within this evolution comes emotions similar to the ones I described above. By nature, we like to be comfortable while going down the path that is familiar and safe. There is nothing wrong with this, but it is key to realize when change or the new normal arrives, we have a choice: hang our heads, pout about the Good Ole Days and nostalgia OR learn, move forward, embrace it, and get better. I choose the latter. I miss my mother every day, but I can honestly say I’m a better person from experiencing the new normal.