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Rainy Day...

Thursday, June 10, 2010
It's funny how differently we look at rainy, overcast days, depending on our age, location, experiences or frame of mind...

It was a very, very rainy day here in Omaha until around 2:00 p.m. We had some thunder and lightning (which caused my dark blue sweats to instantly be decorated with yellow lab hair....big chickens!) along with some really heavy downpours.

When I was a little girl going to school, I LOVED rainy days! The rain would make us have inside recess! In the primary grades inside recess meant getting to play in the gym. We would have free time with the balls, jump-ropes, basketball hoops AND there was a stage in the gym, where we could pretend we were putting on shows!

In the junior high grades, inside recess meant we could visit with our friends, read books, write notes...all the things we wanted to do during class but would normally get in trouble for doing!

Of course, by high school, the rainy days started to loose their appeal. Now, instead of having inside recess, we just still had classes. Plus, the rain played havoc with our hair and our clothes as we waited for buses, or ran from the cars in the parking lot. Something that we LOVED a few years ago, became something we dreaded, as high school divas!

While in college, learning to become a teacher, I would imagine just how my classes would be, how well-behaved the students would be, how much fun we would have together AND all the great things we would do when we had inside recess!!

During my first year of teaching (5th graders!) I soon learned that while I was in college, I had a really, inventive imagination! Those 5th graders had no intention of "behaving" and "enjoying" board games and other inside recess activities I slaved over creating in my teacher education classes! The students seemed to think that inside recess was the perfect time to push the teachers' buttons and see just how many rules they could break in a short time-span!

The longer I taught, the better I learned how to create a more productive and enjoyable inside recess experience. But, it never lived up to the picture I created in my head back in college, with the kids all sitting around, quietly visiting, reading books and coloring. It certainly wasn't the way I remembered it when I was a student. I'm thinking those nuns must have been way tougher on us than I was with my students!

As I was teaching, I had another vision of what I'd like to be doing on a rainy day. While I was trying to "redirect and contain" what was happening in my classroom during inside recess, I would always daydream about what I would be doing if I wasn't working. I always figured that when I retired, I would embrace rainy days as the perfect break to a busy life as a retired teacher. In my imagination, I was always cuddled up on the couch with a cup of tea, a lap blanket and a great book! The more it rained, the more I read! Quite honestly, that vision kept me going on many of those rainy days during my 27 years of teaching!

Now that I'm not teaching, and didn't really "retire," rainy days have become a bit of a "downer day." I'm home because I got sick 6 years ago and was no longer able to teach, I really didn't retire, or "burn out" of the profession. I had planned on teaching at least another 15 years when I had to "hang it up." Now, every day can be sitting on the couch reading with a cup of tea, if I want it to. The thrill of "doing what I wanted to do during class, but would get in trouble for" is gone. Now, when it rains, that means that the humidity levels will be higher, so when I walk down to the street to get the mail and/or the newspaper, I'll be more short of breath than normal, and get tired a bit quicker. It also means that I'll probably stay home and not try to run an errand or go see a "chick flick" because my oxygen concentrator can't get wet and it's hard to drag it out of the car into a building without hitting puddles or getting hit with raindrops.

Even though my "inside recess days" are not quite what I planned for, I do still find joy in them. I already mentioned the addition of a significant amount of dog hair on my clothes. It is a real hoot to watch these 125 and 140 pound "yellow beasts" get scared with a little clap of thunder and see them running for safety on the couch right next to me.

I also enjoy the notion that I no longer have to monitor inside recess. There were too many times where I had to "pick my battles" during that inside 20 minute period in order to save any hope of keeping my sanity and not get in trouble for saying OR DOING something to the "little darlings!"

And, even though I can sit on the couch and read a good book any day of the week, a really good rainy day is the perfect time for a long and enjoyable nap...of which I've taken two today!!

So, here's to rainy days and inside recesses. I hope you've had many joyous ones in your life.

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