This morning, in front of my first period English class, one of my female students innocently asks if I was wearing a new shirt.
“Sure am,” and I’m thinking she will tell me she likes it. And she does tell me, but not immediately.
Instead she casually points out, “You still have the M sticker on right there,” (as in the size Medium that comes when you buy a new shirt) and she points to my left boob. This is said in an earnest, sincere tone– helpful even and not meant to be embarrassing. She wants to make sure I remove the sticker; however, she does not recognize she has pointed to my left boob.
Later in the day, I debrief with her about how she could have handled that differently next time. She looks confused, and I say, “You always want to let people know if something has happened to their outfit or teeth which could be embarrassing for them. But you could say, ‘Hey, Mrs. Krill, may I ask you something over here?’ or ‘Mrs. Krill, I need to speak with you privately in the hallway.'” She nods in understanding, and her best friend adds, “I was going to say something too about it but didn’t know what to say.”
It’s a spring-ish shirt, lightweight and beige, and covered in small white elephants. I buy it on a whim first thinking they are camels because my alma mater, Connecticut College, mascot is the camel. Then I get home and realize they are, in fact, elephants; yet, I keep the shirt because it’s a medium (thus the M plastic clear sticker) and I haven’t been able to wear mediums in about 2 years, and that feels good. I haven’t made a purchase for myself in what seems like forever, and, well, I need winter to be over. This past week, in mid March, we worried our pipes would freeze. Again. Mid-March pipe freezing should only be a thing if we lived in Alaska or the Yukon territory or maybe even Antarctica. But we don’t; we live in New Hampshire.
By Mid-March, we are still generally covered in feet of snow, but the days run in the 40’s, and the sun is warmer and lasts longer into the evening, and we are generally happier people due to the increased Vitamin D. I full well recognize that last sentence is a run on, and I want it to be. I want my sentence to reflect the full tilt run on March Madness that mirrors the Sweet Sixteen, Town Meeting, School District Meeting, Mother Nature’s Trouble Transitioning to Spring, Momma Needing Winter to Be OVER. Geoff won’t admit it, but he’s ready too; he is tired of pushing around in all this snow and sitting out in the cold and checking on these little hives all over his legs to make sure they don’t turn into blisters and open because, well, they will just take forever to heal due to poor circulation.
March Madness is a student telling me in an email, not to worry he’s not on drugs, but he’s making some bad choices and life at home is hard and he doesn’t know how he will go on. March Madness is rooms of teens wanting to talk about school violence and me not having answers. March Madness is your daughter waking you at 3 am to report the Tooth Fairy has not arrived yet. March Madness is sharing some Revel Stoke Whiskey when a friend’s cancer returns and that was not part of the plan. March Madness is balance, balance, balance yet there is none to be had. March Madness is your son being very overtired, calling you stupid and telling you he hates you because you won’t let him bring a tiny skateboard to school with him and you count to 47 before you feel like you won’t kill him. March Madness is his incredible teacher sitting with me and reassuring that he is just fine.
March, I give in. This is the month I always hit the wall and feel the tears pushing at the back of my eyeballs. This is when the kids hear me yelling at Geoff’s equipment in the back of his car. I found myself staring at this GIANT Mercedes van in the Loon parking lot this past weekend, picturing how much stuff could fit in there and just stay inside, indefinitely, and forever if you wanted it to and still fit your kids and dog in the back. March is when I feel desperate for a bigger house, one with a garage. In fact, I almost went and looked at one– made an appointment an everything– and then canceled equating it to, if you can’t afford to live in it, going to look is a little like checking out a basket of puppies, only magnified tenfold. Instead, I stay up late finishing a book about a Vietnam Vet with PTSD who makes his family, including the 13 year old daughter, move to Alaska to live off the grid, and I can’t stop reading until the 465th page when it ends, and I can sleep. (The Great Alone by Kristen Hannah- awesome by the way)
So March, please send April. You’ve been more than a lion this year, and April will feel different. I know she will. April will be the month the snow melts slowly into rivers, a meditation of hope when M circle stickers on left boobs fade into oblivion…