Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff – Reflection from 2/2

From Thursday, 2/2/2017:

This morning, the woman who collects tuition for my son’s school made the discovery of a four inch gaping hole lined with the fringe of shredded fabric on the side of my skirt, “You have a HUGE string hanging off there! Do you want me to cut it?” Of course, this was after leaving the house, dropping kids off, and stretching my brain into work mode. On the drive in and after the discovery, instead of listening to news and attempting to decipher whether it is fake or not, I went into existential mode in thinking about how the more life piles on, the less we have to care about the significance of not noticing a ripped skirt in the scheme of things. I mean, really, how could I have dressed myself and not noticed such a glaring wardrobe malfunction? Did it matter? How is it that the older I get, the more I am forced to “not sweat the small stuff” due to pure circumstance?

It is something I was ruminating about, and then as it tends to happen, serendipitously, of course, after me crudely attempting to mend the gash with a makeshift sewing kit, two brief moments emerged to reaffirm my thoughts.

A returning student of mine stayed after class to let me know that in his previous life, he was a government official who use to care for the special needs population in his community. In class, we have been discussing identities, stereotypes about our identities that society makes, and embedded arguments that perpetuate the assumptions. His family had to leave their homeland in 2008, and they came to the United States with nothing. Nothing. After his narrative of displacement, he continued. Radiating with pride, he says, “We had nothing. But today, today, you know, I have three daughters. All three of my daughters are college graduates from GCC and GCU with nursing degrees.”  He makes sure I know that the lessons his family learned from their hardship are the reasons his daughters are so successful today.

Moments later, I was signing out of the computer, crossing my t’s and dotting my i’s in leaving the classroom ready for the next instructor. “Hi Mrs. Dewey,” chimed someone. It was a familiar someone and one of my highly motivated students from ENG091 and ENG101. Last semester, she enthusiastically signed up for the CRE101 and ENG102 Learning Community, but on the first day, she was not there. It was not like her to disappear, so here and there, I would wonder if all was alright in her world. As it happens, this semester, she is working three jobs while taking her prerequisites to get into the nursing program. Visibly, ENG102 would not work with her packed schedule. She wanted me to know that she would be back for ENG102 in the forthcoming semesters and wanted to check in so I would know what happened.

Tiny yet grandiose moments like this happen every day in my work here.Tiny because they are small in duration. Grandiose because every time they happen, I gain new insight, clarity, and perspective on all that small stuff.


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