#HamstraHighlights

Leadership · Curriculum · STEM

#HamstraHighlights

Today Is For Us: Daddy! Hold My Hand!

There’s a lot going on.

Honestly, I haven’t taken a break in… years. I just completed my MSA journey, and the very certain uncertainty of one global pandemic has held us all captive, moment-by-moment, since March, 2020.

Sometimes, it’s hard to know: What’s the right thing to do?

Still three days away from our first teacher workday back to school, and I can feel the anxiety welling up inside me. It’s that feeling in the pit of your stomach where something’s not quite right. It’s the tug that wars on your balance. It’s the never-ending mirage of dissonance. It’s the cloud that follows you everywhere:

“I should be doing so many work-related things right now. Everyone else is doing a lot, but I’m not. I’m missing out. I’m falling behind.”

All day long, my phone rang (silently) and buzzed and vibrated (even though I didn’t notice until right now). I made one Google Meet-ing this morning, but I missed three other ones this afternoon. I should be answering my 11 voicemails, 36 text messages, 4 direct messages, 92 emails, 14 missed calls, and all the notifications: twitter (39), instagram (9), facebook (27), and voxer (8).

I should be doing all of these things, off-the-clock.

But not today.

I love professional development. I seek out professional learning opportunities because I sincerely love learning how to become better. Right now, I’m six units behind in the online course: #FITeachesRemotely. In addition, my district has rolled out massive amounts of mandatory remote learning documents, links, and courses–I haven’t started them yet. Last week, my school posted mandatory training videos to watch. There’s accountability involved, and I will get to them soon.

I should be doing all of these things, off-the-clock.

But not today.

Right now, I have 18 blogs in draft mode. I have a book that I’m co-authoring with a friend. I have four online conference presentations to finish. I have a professional website that I frequently maintain. I have feedback forms and checklists due. I’ve been contacted by several vendors who want me to do work for them and promote their product and brand, but they won’t pay me in anything more than kind words, stickers, and the occasional t-shirt. I have professional connections to rekindle and 49 facebook groups to chase. I’ve started reading three books about how to become a better leader, yet I haven’t read any of them in over two weeks.

I should be doing all of these things, off-the-clock.

But not today.

Because today… is the day I spend with MY FAMILY!

Today is for us!

Today, we took our two-year-old to the beach for the first time. A day trip with no stops or extra human interaction along the way, it was all about seeing Myals sink his tiny toes in the soft, beach sand–that sweet spot where we can see the ocean meet the land.

But really–it was all about seeing the expression on his face.

Picture a two-year-old boy on the shoreline, facing a vast, open ocean. In the face of such beauty, mystery, volume, power, and wonder, his Daddy was wondering…

“How would he face the unknown? Since he had never experienced such a thing–How would he react? Just exactly how would he toe the line between the familiarity of his past and the overwhelming world constantly changing all around him?”

On their first approach to the shore, I was told that Myals went kicking and screaming, and that immediate retreat was imperative. This was his first approach.

But I missed the special moment! How shameful! And–for what? Because I was in another Google Meet-ing to hear about school reopening plans that were going to change for the 39th time in 180 days. (As I compose my reflection tonight, those plans have–indeed–already changed).

The second approach was a little bit better. While I was still in my meeting, I was able to observe it from a short distance. Clearly, there was…

Less fear. More curiosity. 

The third approach steals and stills my heart. If the third time’s the charm, then I just got a whole bracelet.

Once again, Mommy led the charge, carrying Myals on the same path where he once kicked and screamed passionately. This time, Daddy came running from behind, pulled even, and surged ahead.

Now 15 feet out in front, I waded into the ocean waters, nearly knee-high.

Circling back to my wife and our son, I met them at the water’s edge.

For a moment, we all paused. Would this be one of many times that our child would take the plunge into the unknown? Already escorted by Mommy on his left side, his right hand hung loosely.

What was going to happen? Was he still scared? Would he retreat again?

Then, in his two-year-old voice, he yelled out at the top of his lungs:

“DADDY! HOLD MY HAND!”

I reached out to hold his right hand, and–together–all three of us took our next steps forward, out into an ocean of certain force, uncertain future, and relentless power. Only this time, we were going to battle the changing tides, together.

And life–as we once knew it–would never, ever, be the same again.

Tonight, I have all the things on my phone. And I will get to them. Soon.

Tonight, I’m only looking at my 153 pictures and videos of our family time together at the beach. And I’m at peace with all of that in my heart. The work will be there tomorrow. If I’ve missed a deadline, a notification, a call, a meeting, a collaborative opportunity, or another professional connection, then… I sincerely don’t care.

And I’m not sorry.

I’m not sorry about the 200+ notifications that will go unchecked tonight. I’m not sorry about the three Google Meet-ings that I missed this afternoon. I’m not sorry about all the professional connections I could have made, fostered, and emboldened. I’m not sorry about all the potential, professional gigs that won’t be fulfilled. I’m not sorry about the vendor opportunities lost. I’m not sorry that I didn’t get that many replies, likes, and retweets today. I’m not sorry that I didn’t keep up with the sound bites, graphics, and all the latest drama.

Because none of it will ever compare to spending time with our two-year-old, seeing him embrace another few firsts, and feeling his tiny hand fitting perfectly into mine, tightly gripping all the way, courageously marching into a whole world.

I should be doing all of these work-related things, off-the-clock.

But not today.

Because today is for us. 

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