Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Lessons from Mono

If you've ever watched me teach you would think to yourself, "Where DOES she get her energy to sing and dance and do yoga with these little rapscallions?"  The second question you might find yourself asking is, "How can she be so PATIENT?"

The answers are that I love to sing and play and be creative with my students.  It's what makes my day fun.  As for patience, well, my bio-kids might sing you a different tune.  The slow people holding me up in a grocery store or on a sidewalk would most certainly tell you I have the patience of a gnat.

That is, before I was diagnosed with mono.  At age 40.  And as my mom will tell you, I'm not a young girl anymore (there goes HER birthday gift).  Now all this boundless energy and patience (for my class) has evaporated.  I can't walk to the basement without being winded.  Forget the fast pace I use to roam the halls at school, or the scurrying like behavior I use when I shop.  

Now I must stroll instead of march.  In order to go to the photocopier down the hall I first make sure I have ABSOLUTELY everything I need, even telling the computer to make the correct number of copies so I don't have to stand any longer than necessary.  I ask my students to walk across the room to get my water bottle for me.  I sit to teach.  If the kids want to sing and dance, THEY need to lead it.  I ask for and accept help.  

At home my two boys now get the wood for me to fill the stove.  I sit to fold laundry.  When I wake up after twelve hours of sleep I write down what MUST happen today and attack the list with as much efficiency as possible before I lose steam again.  

Mono has taught me that energy is not an infinite resource.  It has taught me to be intentional in the way I spend time.  It has taught me that people are not always slow by choice, though, it isn't such a bad idea.  It has taught me to accept my limits without guilt or a sense of failure (actually, I'm only partially meeting standards on that lesson).

Given my druthers, I would have heard back from the doctor that the blood test for mono was negative.  However, in every situation there's always something to be learned.  Mono is teaching me well.

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