Friday, January 25, 2008


I am incredibly hyperactive today.

I'm not hyper in the giddy, giggly way, but rather in the harried, must-get-it-all-done way.

Grandma Cooper passed away last night--no more than two or three hours after I blogged about planning lessons around her passing.

I can't describe everything that I'm feeling right now. There's relief that Grandma is not suffering anymore, and guilt that I feel any sort of relief at her passing. There's sadness that my last remaining grandparent is gone, and sadness that I wasn't closer to her. There's confusion, because her relationship to us was always a little bit complicated. There's excitement to see my family in Utah next week--but really, we're all getting together for a funeral (more sadness). There's fear of the funeral--my first funeral with a casket, and an open one at that. There's questioning--will I want to see her? Would I rather not? I'm leaving that one up to the moment I'm there. I simply can't make that decision right now.

And then there's the stress.

Let's face it, I'm not known for being the best at handling stress, so if visions of me in tears flashed through your mind, I don't blame you. But surprisingly, I am not a wreck. I'm hyper, to be sure, but I'm not a wreck.

The thing about my job, my career, my calling, if you will, is that it really does consume so much of my life. I can't just leave the office for a few days (who can?). I have to leave lesson plans, and I have to let bunches of different people know I'll be gone. Today found me running all over campus and emailing a lot of people, typing or saying over and over again, "My grandmother passed away last night."

First the principals--they need to know that I'll be out for three days. Then the vice principal of my house, and his secretary. I let the other ladies in the office know, should anyone call for me at school. I couldn't forget the student accounts lady--we're smack dab in the middle of planning the Anaheim trip and she and I have been in a lot of contact about that. There was the lady in charge of our grading system--just in case there are any problems, she needs to know that I won't be around to fix them. And my faculty leader, who gets a little bit cranky when people miss meetings without telling him why first. I'll be missing a meeting on Tuesday, so there went another email.

And that's not all. The ladies who are putting together the Black History Concert need to know that I won't be there to work on the musical end for a few days. My colleagues who are friends need to know. It goes on and on.

Then there's all of the planning.

Grades are due on Wednesday. I have to input grades on my school computer, so what I had planned on doing this weekend instead had to be done today--five classes worth. Lesson plans for three days had to be typed up, emailed to the house secretary. Copies of worksheets had to be made and put out where the sub will find them. Drum Line had a practice. Two choir moms came in to discuss Anaheim.

Let me just interject here that these two moms are amazing. They took all of the paperwork and said, "We've got it. You have a safe trip." Then one offered to come to Show Choir both days I'll be gone to help the sub make sure the kids are on task. The other mom comes to most Divine Voices rehearsals anyway, and will be there on Tuesday to rehearse the kids.

So things should go pretty smoothly in my absence.

And my kids--my kids. They can be so difficult, so hormonal, so crazy-making. But when I told them today that my grandma had passed away, every single one of them expressed sympathy. I got a few hugs, a lot of "are you okay?" and even one very nice young man telling me, "You and your family will be in my prayers this weekend."

Maybe that's what it is I love so much about teaching. It's not just about me touching their lives, it's about them touching mine.

Anyway, I'm rambling. See? Hyperactive.

I've managed to sit myself down for a few minutes between laundry loads, packing, clearing food out of the fridge (I'm going to Mom and Dad's tomorrow, so anything that's about ready to go bad has to be thrown out), and dropping my rent check off a week early--just in case I get stuck in a snowstorm at the Salt Lake City airport. I pulled all of my prescription information out of my file, on the off chance that someone in security has questions about my mini-pharmacy.

That reminds me, I need to get my passport out of my safe box--you never know when a California driver's lisence will be insufficient at the check-in gate.

Beyond hyperactive.

Amazingly, I'm getting everything done. School is taken care of (huge weight off!). In another hour or so I'm going to force myself to relax in the tub and then to go to bed...hopefully my mind won't be racing as it was last night.

In between all of this, Grandma's passing is never far from my mind. I cried a little bit this morning, but since then, I've been too busy to feel anything.

Maybe that's the appeal of all this hyperactivity.