This Could Be Your Year

“I just want this year to be over”

A girlfriend of mine has had a completely crapola year. It began with the cliche discovery of a text on her husband’s phone, and then somehow she gained a starring role in his midlife crises. The past six months have been more than a train wreck, the train not only derailed, it exploded, and a series of events have left her trying to balance running a business, and raising children who appear shellshocked by it all.  

I agreed with her. “I want it to be over as well.” My reasons seemed so minuscule to hers. An operation and being apart from your children for six weeks suddenly seemed a bit pathetic, compared to what she had been through. 

It was “meet the creature” last night, a term I stole from my neighbours in Canada years ago when they were on their way to Parent/Teacher night. G and I invariably have to divide and conquer at these events.

“You do Henry and I’ll do Annie, I’ll meet you at Fred’s classroom at 7” I was going to suggest synchronizing watches for dramatic effect, but G had already disappeared into a sea of parents in a school corridor.

Annabelle is in Grade Four this year, and she’s certain that this is her year. For the past three years she has walked past Mr H’s room and declared “when I’m in Grade 4, Mr H is going to be my teacher”. Throughout the summer she prayed to the gods of classroom schedulers that they would make Mr H hers. Miraculously, it somehow paid off. She’s currently the envy of many of her friends, it appears that Mr H was in a lot of children prayers over the summer.

I listened to Mr H talk about math homework and literacy, he’d taken photos, brought the children special plastic pockets, giggled about problem solving techniques that the kids had used and all the while his eyes shone with excitement. I looked around the room at the parents mimicking his behaviour. He’s every parents dream, a teacher that loves teaching (and he’s a Kiwi so naturally, like Crowded House and pavlova, I’m claiming him). He was halfway through talking about math and numbers and operations when he said something that made me pull out my iPhone and begin to write – and then I realized I looked like the parent who was texting at parent/teacher night – and I stopped.

“Every child arrives to the first week of school with the excitement of a new beginning. They believe this could be it, anything is possible, this could be their year”.

I remember that exact feeling. New books, new classmates, new teachers. A fresh start, a clean slate. 

We love the feeling of starting over. A new car without a scratch, a new computer that downloads something in a second, a text book without a crinkle or a pencil mark. They can all be purchased, but how do we encapsulate that feeing of new? A new day, a new year, a new beginning. Why do we have to wait until January?

Happy New Year everyone.

“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending”. Maria Robinson

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