I am participating in my ninth Slice of Life Story Challenge run by the team behind the Two Writing Teachers website. We are challenged to write a blog post a day throughout the month of March.
Ever since I sat at the circ desk as a librarian eight years ago, I haven't counted down the days. That doesn't mean I wasn't aware of how many days we had left in the year; librarians have their deadlines, too.
This past year, March to March, has been different. There has been so much pivoting, so much newness, so many changes that just keep coming. There wasn't much of a Spring Break last year, or a summer off, for that matter. I felt like I was always on edge, waiting for that next piece of information, that next task to prepare for plan A, then plan B, then plan C. No plans of my own because safety guidelines and work took precedence. The endless hours of screen time felt isolating even as we stared at each other's tiny moving portraits in gridded displays.
So this year, I am counting. Ten Mondays, a whole quarter of a school year remaining. I think of what has to be done in those ten weeks. Library lessons still to teach and books to read-aloud. Book orders to be placed and budget money to be spent. After school club meetings; curbside book deliveries through April. Keep-forever books to be distributed at school and delivered to homes. A virtual state conference in a month with a weekend event I am co-chairing, on an unfamiliar hosting platform. State testing (which I'm still hoping will be cancelled.) Another virtual book fair in May. An all-call for books that have been overdue since October, contacting each individual student. Inventory, which will be a Herculean task since materials were moved around as classrooms were reassigned, teachers went virtual, teachers quit. And if I really push, a maintenance request to get shelving cut in half, to put windows in the walls above them to bring new life to my cave-like library.
None of this can be drawn too far into the summer, because my children will be my focus as one gets ready to move back to the United States after five years abroad and the other will be graduating from college at about the same time. July and the beginning of August are spoken for.
If I think too long about all that lies ahead, I start to feel weepy and incapable. But if I take just this Monday and focus on two or three of those things that I can do today and each of the next nine Mondays, I might just make it through. As Glennon Melton often says, "We can do hard things."
We've been doing just that for the last twelve months.