Saturday, December 28, 2013

Measuring A Year, Part 2: Moments

Amazing how a moment in your life can seem insignificant at the time, and then, in hindsight, be so important. Some moments take your breath away, others leave you smiling, laughing, or feeling peaceful. It's been a year full of moments. Here are some of the biggest.

A Moment That Still Seems Impossible

 On April 4, I attended the funeral of my 16-year-old niece, Echo. I was there, I saw the pink casket covered in pink flowers, and yet it still seems almost unreal to me, as though it didn't really happen.

It just seems so impossible that Aaron called on Monday morning--April Fool's Day--upset and almost incoherent, telling Dad, "Echo is dead..." I went to the gym as usual after that call, because I couldn't wrap my mind around it and that's just what I do on Monday mornings.

Eight months later, it is still surreal.

Sadly, it really happened.

A Moment of Hope
I spent much of the Spring applying for various music teaching jobs, getting interviews here and there, as usual. It wasn't really even the proper "interview season" just yet, but in May, as things started warming up, I got a call from a local high school. An interview was set, and I donned my new polka-dot blouse with a Peter Pan collar and set off for the school, little knowing what to expect...and thinking, "I'm not entirely sure I ever want to teach high school again." By the time I left the interview, I knew. "I want this job. I really want this job."

I aced the interview. I know this because I got the job...but at the time, all I could do was hope. 

A Moment of Pure, Cathartic Joy

January was a tough month, emotionally, professionally, and hormonally. It felt like everyone--from the owner of Brookfield (Petite School) to the estrogen in my birth control pills, from the guy hogging the foam roller at the gym to every single driver in California, was conspiring to send me over the edge.

But on January 11, I left that all at the door--specifically, the door of the Warfield Theater in San Francisco's seedy Tenderloin--when I saw Keane live for the fifth time. It was the first time I ever cried listening to them live. Most of the time I'm so excited to be there I just scream and giggle a lot, but that night, songs like "Silenced By the Night" (about coming out of a dark place) and my old favorite, "Somewhere Only We Know," brought the tears bubbling to my eyes. I stood there and sang along, wearing a huge smile and letting those tears come.

The Moment It All Became Real
In July, I got the keys to my new classroom, and the principal's secretary showed me to it. I opened the door and smiled in delight when I saw my new domain. I have an office! Moving on up.

As I set about making the room and office my own, and getting ready for a new school year, every so often I would stop and look around, marveling at how fortunate I am to have landed here. I still do it from time to time, just stop and think about the good things that have happened, and the hard work yet to come.

I'm up for it. : )

A Much-Needed Moment of Release

By July, I'd been to two funerals (a choir friend, then Echo), I'd had a ton of stress put on me by the owner of Brookfield (it is a truth universally acknowledged at that school that she is a dipshit, but she also holds the purse strings), I was excited-but-terrified of my new job, and to top it all off, I'd come to care for a silly boy more than I should have...and he found someone else.

That's when a friend like Summer steps in and takes you to the beach. And reminds you that it's not you, it's the boy. It's not you, it's the idiot (and thankfully, now former) boss. Most importantly, she reminds you to forget the bosses past and the silly boys as you plop your butt on your beach towel and drink in the ocean air and the sound of waves crashing and seagulls crying, and to remember that you are awesome, you've got this new job, you're not the same Meg who waltzed into DVHS starry-eyed and naive.

So dig your toes in the sand and chew on that.

A Moment of Hilarity

Sometime in February, Dad jokingly asked Mom, "Do we have any pie? I want some pie." Mom gave him her usual dry, "No, I'm sorry, honey. We don't have any pie." You would think the matter would be closed, but oh, no.

See, our house is small, and I heard this exchange in my bedroom, and decided to help my dear Daddy out.

I even gave him whipped cream. He gave me the finger (and he laughed!).

It's never dull in our family. : )

A Moment of Huge Pride

I had my first concert at GB, and we nailed it. The next day, my boss would remark that the kids looked so relaxed, "but you looked terrified!"

"I was!" I laughed in reply. "I just wanted it to go well."

It did. My kids were so proud of themselves, and so sweet to give me a gorgeous bouquet and a lovely gift.

That evening, after the concert, I stared at the flowers on my desk and breathed a sigh of relief. Then the pride took over.

And a Moment the Pride Faltered

My second concert didn't go quite as smashingly as the first. For whatever reason, the kids and I were all nervous, all uncertain, and we knew it wasn't the best we could have done. Fortunately, we had a chance to redeem ourselves the next night, and redeem we did. But still, those hours between the Thursday night show and the Friday night show were so very difficult for me. Hours of second-guessing, self-blaming, wondering if I'd picked the right music. I can be so terribly hard on myself.

The good news is that I got through it, and Friday night we strode onto that stage ready to knock it out of the park. My kids made me proud.

A Record-Setting Moment

Just last weekend, I ran the 5K Santa Run, where everyone gets a cheap Santa suit to run in and hilarity ensues. My running the last few months hasn't been as consistent as I'd like it to be, so I set out for this race figuring I'd be happy to bring it home in under 35 minutes. When I reached the finish line, the clock said 30:43.

So I didn't reach my goal this year of a sub-thirty 5K, but damn, did I get close! Still breathing hard and feeling that now-familiar post-race rumbling in my stomach, I pushed my way through the crowded finish area to find a pocket of fresh air where I promptly pulled my phone out and texted my friend Matt. Then, of course, I bragged to Facebook and Twitter and any other social media outlet I could think of.

I've totally got this in 2014.

A Moment of Joy...Millennium Joy.

And so it's the end of the year, and I'm writing my annual blog posts and thinking of intentions for 2014. December has been hectic and crazy, with concerts, workouts, work, and parties. It was so nice to have this week to just relax and do very little. Not a lot of driving and running around. Reading if I feel like it, watching movies here and there. Making a gorgeous Christmas Eve dinner with Mom.

Pausing, now and again, to spend some quality time with my own personal joy-maker, Millennium Joy, who celebrated 14 years with me a few weeks ago by doing her usual morning routine of figuring out the exact moment I exit the REM phase and starting her incessant meowing for attention. As I type this, she's fast asleep on top of my hard drive, one back leg and her tail draped over the side, her front legs tucked under her sweet face. I admit that I get impatient with her constant need for attention when I'm trying to work...but I can't imagine life without my sweet girl.

Here's to many more moments--big and small--in 2014!

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