Not Purple but Relaxing Rain

I should be cleaning out my spare room packed with all my teacher stuff. I should be vacuuming downstairs or wrapping presents. After all, I was up until midnight writing an article that was due ….before midnight. Instead of cleaning or wrapping, I am writing. Why? It’s raining!!! One of the many wonderful aspects of living in Florida is rainy days in December are a novelty. Here I sit gazing at a light gray sky listening to the wind whoosh and the rain drip into the metal trough of my window sill. Both dogs are a sleep at my side. A single sea gull is flying, flapping his wings diligently against the wind. There’s something about this weather that brings me peace. Maybe it reminds me of Pennsylvania where these mystical days came often. Perhaps it is a welcome change from the sunshine that greets me most mornings. It could just be an excuse to relax and not go outdoors. Once upon a time I drove in ice and snow, now if it’s raining I have no inclination to leave the house. I’m becoming my Grandmother!

I am learning to relax but it has been a process for me. The past five years were a blur and now I am taking my time, listening to the quiet and finding my path once again. Priority one, my family. Never have I felt such intense responsibility to prepare two someones for adulthood. College is a necessity and more and more parents are talking about the difficult admissions process. Along with education comes the responsibility of instilling a sense of self pride and kindness and compassion towards others. I want my children to feel as though they can accomplish any goal they set for themselves. I also want them to recognize others who may need assistance and do what they can to help. Fortunately for me I am surrounded by a close group of friends who show me endless examples of strong positive parenting.

This year my third priority has skipped ahead to claim second place. I have chosen writing over teaching. I say this year but really it’s only been since June. July and August I finished my novel and giggled every time I thought about not returning to my classroom in September. October came with a request from an editor for an exclusive on my novel. I worked day and night on last minute editing. November and December arrived and I’ve written many articles, queried agents, registered for conferences and convinced myself to take a break before starting my next novel. Every day I walk to the mailbox holding my breath, knowing if I see a letter it means my story has been rejected. Often when the phone rings there is a question in my mind….could it be Patti? (the editor) Eric tells me to relax, I tell me to relax…but I do have Dondero blood flowing through my veins and that Italian determination is often in full force. When it gets too overwhelming, I run and then I am reminded that every little thing is gonna be alright.

Children have always meant the world to me so I couldn’t stay away from teaching..priority three. I am fully qualified to help. Why not put all those years of very hard work to good use?Every week I teach a small group of third graders at my son’s school. Yesterday, I walked into the classroom and to my surprise the entire class started clapping and calling out “Mrs. Rausin!” A little girl who was not in my group handed me a new pen, “This is for you.” Then I received a slinky and a beaded necklace. I was overwhelmed with joy and reminded of how much I truly love teaching and being with children. My new role as a helper may not bring monetary value but it sure brings soul value.

Having spent endless hours in the classroom I know how overwhelming it is to be a new teacher. Having children is demanding, having twenty two children all day is exhausting. Add to that the stress of being responsible for your class performing well on a standardized test without much guidance from your peers (because they are busy too) you have a recipe for burn out. (That’s me) While my fire is dwindling, I can help prevent what happened to me in a new teacher. I can be available to guide and help, free to come home to my family without the pressure of papers to grade, essays to score, and parents to call.

The rain is still steady and the wind has brought cooler air. My dogs are still napping and my spare bedroom is still packed with teacher supplies. My stomach is grumbling and that’s the only change since I sat in this chair. Have you ever sat alone in a silent house listening to the rain? It’s magical.



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The Picture Book Review

Reviews of Children's Board Books, Picture Books, Activity Books, and Graphic Novels

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