Humility

I’m 40,000 feet in the air right now, on a cross-country flight to see one of my best friends marry her love. I couldn’t be happier. I’m on detroit’s favorite low-budget airline because it was the only nonstop flight that had times I could live with, and that means no wi-fi. So…I’m left with just my thoughts and candy crush to entertain me (those candies are NOT going to crush themselves). I’ve had a thought for a long time now – and that’s where all my blog posts start. Something that stews in my brain for a few weeks until I’ve had enough and have to get it out. 
This blog was started for me, and only me. I’ve been lucky that a few loving people read it, and I’m going to ask for feedback on this one – if anyone is still reading at this point…


I’m struggling with the idea of gratitude vs. bragging. My dad has always demanded humility of my sister and I. We could be proud of our accomplishments, and we knew he was proud of us…but he was clear that we didn’t need to brag to the world. He despised it. I get why, completely. There’s nothing more off-putting than someone who is constantly telling you how amazing their life is (which is most people’s Facebook — an extremely edited version of their lives, mine too). People brag about how amazing their kids, marriage, house, car, job, shoes, lives are. Its obnoxious. Especially when you are working really hard and struggling. I know. I’ve been both the bragger and the struggler. We all have, I suspect. 


So here’s the question: my focus is gratitude – which requires I focus my energy on looking for the things I’m grateful for. This mindset has truly transformed my life. I could make a laundry list of things I’m thankful for and reasons why – but it feels like bragging. 


The man – he’s the most compassionate person I have ever met. He treats me very well, and is an amazing dad to Those Johnson Girls. He’s incapable of saying the word “no” to them (which drives me insane)…and also to me (which is totally different and a strength rather than a flaw…double standards be damned). He works very hard and can literally fix anything I break (which is a real challenge). He takes his time to make decisions (but usually makes the right one the first time), whereas I just make decisions quickly – for better or worse. The man will literally give you the shirt off his back, weld your car back together and offer whatever he has, even if he’s just met you. 


Those Johnson Girls – what can I say here. I have always wanted to be a mom. I think I can check that box now. I have four completely different personalities that make me a better person (and make me laugh) on the daily. They aren’t perfect, they are real. They make mistakes, they certainly make messes, they make lots of noise, and I love the crazy mess. 


The Job: I love teaching. It’s my true passion and I can’t imagine doing anything else. I’ve entertained the idea several times — but I can’t bring myself to seriously consider it. I love what I do, I love the people I work with, I love my district. 


The house: three years ago we moved from a small house with one bathroom to a slightly larger home with 2.5 bathrooms in a neighborhood that is perfect for little girls! I’m still thankful for every single square inch of space. I vividly remember the claustrophobic nightmare, the suffocating feeling that our walls were closing in – and the plastic toys appeared to be breeding at night. I’m thankful we can have two girls using a bathroom at once! I love our neighborhood “pack” of kids that roam from one yard to the next (they’re all attached) playing and being kids. I love giving out popsicles all day long to my little friends too!


The side gig: I know many of you don’t want to read this part – and I’ve purposely not included it in my blog thus far… but I can’t any longer. Before you roll your eyes (I did that too), just hear me out. I’m on an airplane right now going to a friend’s wedding across the country. This is something that I would never have been able to consider before this side gig. Without hesitation, when I got the invite – I booked the tickets for the man and I. Which brings me to my next “thing” I’m thankful for. 


My family & friends: My mom asks when she can watch my girls – for real. She comes every Tuesday during the school year. Most of the time when I need someone to watch them, I feel like I’m inconveniencing them (they require a great deal of energy and patience). But not yet, she says “I can’t wait. I love being with them”. For real. Is there a working mom alive that wouldn’t cry to hear that? My mother in law comes and watches my girls on Thursdays – and usually ends up doing all of our laundry (working moms cry again, right?), dishes, and cleans whatever she can get her hands on. She takes great care of Those Johnson Girls and almost always brings treats to eat and dinner. For real. My sister lives close to me and drove me to the airport this morning. “Bye bye bye” came on the radio and without any words exchanged, we started our performance with the dancing at 5:45am. I have friends and a sister who I could call anytime day or night and they’d be there for me in a flash.


What else could anyone ask for? My gratitude is unavoidable with this much amazing stuff around….but rereading that — it does sound like bragging!!!!! So, what’s better?? I’m really conflicted about all this. 


I’ve chosen to love my life. Exactly as it is. Does this mean I’m not humble? 

Reconnecting

Losing people sucks. I lost my best buddy at work recently (see a few posts back) and it’s still hard daily. I’ve lost a lot of people who meant a lot to me over the years. And it just sucks.  I know we should be happier that they aren’t in any pain and they are in a better place….but it still sucks. A lot. 

But I was recently challenged (in my side business) to grow my network. Add some Facebook friends. Ok, I thought. Click on request friend. No problem. I was overwhelmed to find so many former classmates and former students and sorority sisters and Former colleagues and … and I reconnected on Facebook with them all.  If you are reading this and you are a new Facebook friend of mine…please don’t stop reading!  I thought the point was to have a broader audience to sell to, but I had a very unexpected outcome. 

You see, I really love people. I’m pretty sure that’s why I love teaching. It’s a “people” business!  I know that sounds strange. But, I care deeply and genuinely and have the most amazing people in my life. I learn from them all. Their strength in times of challenge, their courage when things are tough, their beauty. I love looking for the best in people. It AWAYS makes me a better person. With a better perspective on life. 

So, I decided to consciously look at the people I was reconnecting with and see if I could chat with them over messenger. It has lifted my spirits everyday. I am hearing from former students and long lost friends about their lives and their kids and their careers and their hopes and ambitions. And I realize….we really all want the same things. And struggle with the same things. People from every walk of life. They want to be respected and loved and challenged. They struggle with health, finances and relationships. Everyone wants to be heard. Maybe that’s why I started this blog?  Maybe I wanted to be heard. I’m not totally sure yet. 

One thing I am totally sure of, is that this reconnecting phase has made me more grateful, more kind, and more understanding with Those Johnson Girls.   That’s my #1 job. You see, God trusted me to take care of these girls for him – they don’t belong to me. So I’m reconnecting with Those Johnson Girls too. In case you were wondering…

  • Maggie wants to be a construction worker when she grows up. 
  • Nora got asked to the prom and is super excited for summer travel plans. 
  • Penelope can wave. 
  • Charlotte shared some issues she was having with friends. 

I’m pretty sure if I wasn’t listening, I would have missed it all. 

In a week, I’ll reconnect with my AP grading friends from all over the country. Reconnect. It’s a crazy time and I hate disconnecting with my girls and the man, but it is good for us all in a way. It makes us appreciate the reconnect moment more. 

I challenge you (if you read this far) to reconnect with someone from your past. Reach out to them. And then shoot me a message and tell me how it enhanced your perspective. Because, it will if you let it.