Every Tuesday, I participate in the Slice of Life challenge at Two Writing Teachers. If you want to participate, you can link up at their Slice of Life Story Post on Tuesdays or you can just head on over there to check out other people's stories. For more information on what a Slice of Life post is about, you can go here.
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I so wish I had pictures to go along with this story but I don't so I'll have to do my best to describe a wonderful little helper parade I ended up leading on Monday afternoon. I have to first start by reminding you, dear reader, that my One Little Word for 2015 is: grace (I do have a visual for that...).
Monday was the first day back from winter break in my school district. I led professional development for teachers at one of our middle schools. In the morning I had help unloading my car with all the materials for the day. In the afternoon, I headed back to the office on my own to attend a meeting. I considered waiting for help to unload everything and bring it up to my office but instead I decided I could do it all by myself. (I also didn't want the chocolate sitting in my car overnight and freezing and possibly getting bad - I mean, save the chocolate, right? Although, frozen chocolate is yummy...)
Picture this: a small cart, a smaller crate-cart on the cart loaded with plastic boxes, a full reusable bag, two cases of water bottles, two chart paper pads, a back pack, a smaller backpack purse, my lunch bag, and a Venti Starbucks Pineapple Kona Pop tea - hot, and ME.
Now picture all of that: in an recently-snowed-upon, somewhat-plowed-and-iced parking lot, a slight downhill slant, a curb, and two sets of double doors.
Yes, somehow I imagined this was actually going to work.
Right away, a colleague who was also headed up to the same meeting I was going to had parked her car near mine and offered to help. As I thought over all the things and what might be most helpful, I knew right away it was the Starbucks. So I asked her to carry my drink. She had her own drink so now she had a drink in two hands and her own full tote bag. I started to push the cart.
We get super close to the main entrance when the downhill-ness starts. That's when the cases of water bottles both go toppling into nice and dirty slushiness. I reach to pull them back onto the cart but the smaller cart his slid forward and while I'm reaching, my small back pack slides off my arm into the nice and dirty slushiness also. This is when I mention to my friend the irony in the fact that my 2015 OLW is grace. But we manage to put everything back together and onward we go to the curb.
I can't quite make it over the curb at first. By now, a man who is going to the same meeting we are comes behind us and decides to point out that it didn't seem like this was going so well. I give one more huff and make it over the curb to look up to the main entrance and our first set of double doors where yet another meeting-going person is there to open the door for us. She's been watching us from the warmth of the foyer the whole time. Naturally.
We make it to the front door but as soon as I try to forge through, of course, the cart gets caught on the threshold and now the water bottles and the small cart all go toppling forward. Along comes another man to catch the small cart as it goes forward. There are five of us all crowed around this mess of a cart in the middle of the entryway. I hope you're laughing along with me at this point!
They've realized I'm a mess and have to help me all the way up to the 4th floor and into my office. To my relief, the door-opening woman takes one case of water, the man from the curb takes another, I push the carts and my drink-holder friend still carries my tea. As we ride up the elevator, I turn to them, thanking them for helping me, acknowledging that I was a little ambitious and appreciate their help with a smile. The elevator doors open and they follow me down the hall, my little helper parade, an entourage of helpers, a helper train.
I can't help but shake my head at myself and this whole situation. I'm thankful to have colleagues who were wiling to help. This was also a reminder that choosing grace for my OLW was a perfect choice. But at the same time, as I think back on it, all the way through, I was frustrated but laughing along and, while it wasn't the most graceful experience, I did accept the craziness with grace. I'm not sure I would have recognized that before and it makes me happy to think of it in this way. Sometimes it's all about the perspective you take.
When I think about the work I do with teachers and students and my own kids, having a positive attitude makes such a big difference. Knowing that things aren't always going to go as planned or that unknowns might throw us off-track is important. But putting a smile on my face and dealing with those interruptions as bumps - or sometimes potholes - rather than obstacles makes a huge difference. I've found that taking a deep breath and smiling gives me the energy to keep moving forward with grace. Hopefully this mindset makes its way to others.