This year I…

1.) Witnessed my dad have a major heart attack, which irrevocably changed my life and set in motion the following chain of events.

2.)  Separated from my husband and moved out of our house and into my own house.

3.) Feel on a daily basis enough guilt to keep me from being able to put one foot in front of the other.

4.) Googled “How to kill yourself with your oven” the night before Thanksgiving (Zanne thinks this should be the title of my book).

5.) Sent my daughter to a school, which is not the one I work at, for the very first time (best decision of the year).

6.) Was told by her new school, what we have suspected for a very long time, that Autumn is most likely on the Autism spectrum.

7.) Thought my heart was going to break into two individual pieces.

8.) Spent hours at the University of Washington’s Center on Human Development and Disability (can’t believe I just typed that last line).

9.) Found love in so many unsuspecting places.

10.) Have been hated and gossiped about by people I thought would not.

11.) Felt forsaken in my greatest time of need.

12.) Have found independence, freedom and self-respect.

13.) Second guess myself and my decisions nearly ever-other-moment.

14.) Stopped carrying Autumn everywhere we go.

15.) Began a different kind of relationship with my daughter, one that includes Mama having some of that said self-respect.

16.) Have had two photography shows and have two more in the works.

17.) Have sold photos that I took, with my camera, all by myself.

18.)  Have had the opportunity to contact an agent about my book and haven’t done it.

19.)  Have often wished for another baby.

20.)  Wish with all my being that everyone could step inside my heart and walk around for a while, seeing all the things I cannot express.


2 Responses to “This year I…”

  1. Hi Michelle,

    Wow! What a brave post! I started following your Living Classroom Blog when I began teaching a few years ago. Your blog inspired me on a daily basis and when I couldn’t get enough of it, I would check in on this blog too to read about your life and your infectious attitude to living a simple and fulfilling existence. I loved reading about Autumn and all the changes you were coping with as she grew.

    I didn’t stick with the teaching gig for very long. I found it all too challenging. I put a great deal of pressure on myself to have it perfect from the word “go” and didn’t want any of my students to be disadvantaged by my inexperience. I learnt a lot about myself as I came to the realisation that my love for learning (and the exciting process of learning) was not enough to make me a great teacher. (or at least not right now)

    Even though I am no longer teaching, I still like to check in on what you’re up to every once in a while. I began to notice large gaps between your posts and hoped that things were OK for you.

    Thank you for returning to write. Thanks for your inspiration over the last few years. And thank you for sharing your pain and hard times with your audience too. I’m going to keep coming back to read your thoughts as long as you will continue to post them.

  2. Hi Michelle,
    I started following your classroom blog awhile back and tonight I happened to come across your personal blog. I can’t tell you how much your words and your classroom stories have encouraged me to continue pursing teaching even on the days when life felt too dark and heavy for me to continue on.

    Now, I’m only 9 quarters away from my teaching degree and have found such motivation, love and support from not only the people in my teaching program but the students and families I interact with on a daily basis.

    So, I want to pay it forward and send you some encouragement in return for all the wisdom and motivation your blog has provided me.

    I hope that one day my classroom is HALF as encouraging, welcoming and loving as I know yours is.

    All my best,

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