Now, the hustle, bustle and noise that make up a school are in full swing. The kids seem actually happy to be back and excited about seeing their friends again. Teachers, too, are ready to get back into the routine of their days. A couple of new students arrived today and I can't help but think of the Obama girls who are also experiencing their first day at a new school.
The same thing happened to me when I was 8 years old. My family moved from Blue Island to Tinley Park over Christmas break. The first day back in January, I joined my new third grade class. I can still remember that day, how shy and uncomfortable I was in joining the already established group mid-year. I felt every bit the newcomer and odd person out. Shy by nature anyway, my bashfulness was multiplied several times in this new, unusual environment. This school and this classroom were nothing like the place I left behind. Who are these people? What would this teacher be like? It was almost too much for me.
Needless to say, eventually I befriended people. Still, I never felt quite comfortable or at home in that school. That move was a turning point for my family and not in a good way. My mother, always a city girl, hated being out that far in the "country." She never drove and there were no buses to get around. She felt trapped in this beautiful new home and she never was able to get over it. The downward spiral that began that winter accelerated with each passing year.
I remember this now with sadness, but also with the realization that it didn't have to be that way. When I feel trapped, I hope I will remember to adjust my attitude. I'm not happy every minute of every day. Nevertheless, an undercurrent of inner joy continues to operate. This comes from being grateful for the good things that I do have. Yes, attitude is everything. And gratitude reminds me that things are never all that bad.