First grade can be hard. There are spelling lists, letters that you somehow have to make into words, numbers that add together to make other numbers, and then also one of the trickiest situations of all: teeter-totters.
I remember my favorite game on teeter-totters: I would sit right on the fulcrum (a word I did not learn until much later), and I would work really hard to balance. Inevitably, the teeter-totter would start to lean one way or the other, and I would have to readjust to try to get the board to balance in a perfectly straight line. When I finally got the board to balance, then the tricky part really began: DO. NOT. MOVE. The slightest movement would tip the teeter-totter, and then my moment of perfect balance would be over. I didn’t move. I yelled at my friends not to touch the teeter-totter. I yelled at butterflies not to fly too close and throw off my balance with the wind of their wings. Basically, I needed the world to stop for a minute because I FINALLY GOT THAT FRICKIN THING TO BALANCE.
That’s how my life feels at the moment. I’ve spent months trying to get my life into balance, and I finally feel good about where I am. The problem is summer break. I think I’m the only teacher in the history of humanity that is scared of summer break. I don’t want to mess up all of my routines. I don’t want hours of spare time to sit around and think. Thinking is not usually my friend.
Perhaps it will all be fine. Maybe I’ll be able to make some new routines and still keep to my general sleep and exercise schedule. Historically, though, summers look completely different and quite unpredictable week by week. Summers, generally, are tricky for me. It’s like the fat kid from my first grade class is running towards my balanced teeter-totter, planning to jump on it, and I want to say, “GET AWAY FROM HERE, FAT KID!” But the fat kid keeps running. Now I’m going to have to readjust the whole thing to consider the fat kid factor. Which begs the question – can I even balance with the fat kid, or is he just going to muck everything up?!
One of my friends described having bipolar disorder like being on a trampoline. People who have a normal range of emotions are jumping on one of those cute little exercise trampolines used in eighties exercise videos. They jump not too high, not too low. People with bipolar disorder are jumping on one of those crazy high-bouncing trampolines that require you to have a harness and be strapped in with bungee ropes because you’re about to scrape the clouds when you jump. It sends us incredibly high, but also so incredibly low. I don’t want to be on that trampoline. It’s like this year finally allowed me the opportunity to buy one of those cutie small trampolines, and now I’m hugging it close and saying, “Don’t put me back on the big trampoline! I like this one! I look good in neon colors, leggings, and puffy headbands! Let me stay in the eighties exercise video!”
Life has a way of not letting people stay in one place very long. The only constant we can expect is change, but change doesn’t have to be scary.
Except, obviously, THAT IT IS SCARY. I’ve faced a lot scarier things than summer break, though. I can handle a few changes of routine without bouncing off the trampoline. I think.
Bring it on, fat kid. I’m gonna rock my leggings and balance this thing called summer.