When our oldest daughter was decorating for her first Christmas away from home, she asked if she could have the fabric nativity set I had made when she was a baby. I have collected many more nativity sets and was happy to pass that one to her.
She has since gotten married and this year she and her husband are celebrating with their first child – our first grandchild.
I received this picture from her this week:
She wrote: The nativity set is entrancing a new generation of children.
That thought, as well as the picture make me smile.
I have finally accepted the fact that masks are part of my daily uniform. I even put a clip on my name badge cord to hold my mask while I eat lunch.
What has been a harder adjustment is the additional equipment that wearing a mask requires. For example, my ears are not quite big enough to hold a mask and my glasses securely. I have a glasses cord that I wear when doing yoga so I’ve started wearing it to work. Now I can beat the students at “who can sing head, shoulders, knees and toes faster” without my glasses flying across the room.
The other challenge came with talking and singing through the mask all day. The singing happens outside so I found myself getting a sore throat every day. Beekeeper Brian ordered a headset with a speaker that I can attach to my belt or wear around my neck. It is wonderful. The students can hear me and I don’t strain my voice. One of my students thought I looked like I was working in a fast food drive through window and tried to order French fries. That was a middle school student – pretty clever actually.
So now every morning after I put on my eye make-up I secure my glasses with the cord. When I get to work I put on my name badge and mask. Then, just before my first class, I put on my head set and put the speaker around my neck.
Then at the end of the day, I reverse the process.
When I feed the chickens, however, I do not have to wear a mask, or a cord for my glasses, or a head set. And for a few minutes each day, things seem “normal.”
This year has been hard. I could just stop there but let me be more specific.
As a music teacher, it has been hard to teach without singing, sharing instruments or playing any passing games. In fact, I wrote a poem telling about this. You can read it here.
To be honest, I have spent the first 6 weeks of school wondering why I keep going. I could quit and be a grandma full time. That sounds much more rewarding than struggling as a music teacher.
Things are getting better. Last week a student gave me a picture they drew of me. There were several details in that picture that made me smile.
The first thing is the eyelashes. When I started recording lessons last Spring for the students at home, I realized my eyes always looked half closed. I decided to start wearing eye make up to help me look awake. This student noticed!
Then there are the earrings. I usually wear large, dangling earrings. I read somewhere that they make you look 10 pounds lighter. That helps with the COVID 20 I have gained.
I am particularly happy that she drew the earrings as music notes. Not all my earrings are music notes.
When the face mask mandate went into effect, I was frustrated that I could not smile at people. Smiling is very important. I borrowed a button maker and made a button:
I wear my name badge in a pouch around my neck. In the pouch I keep all my necessities – my office key, a tuning fork, an Allen wrench, the USB drive with all my music information and sometimes a peppermint. The button is on the cord holding my name pouch. This student included that detail.
Things have been hard. They may never return to the way they were before. However, when I look through the eyes of a child, especially this one, I know it will be OK.
The house on one side of us is owned by a couple in the next town who purchased it as rental property when their daughter was here. She has since married and moved to Scotland. The house has had a variety of renters. I always try to introduce myself and encourage them to let us know if the noise from Miller Farm is bothersome.
Right now, the couple who lives there have a dog. I am extra sure to meet any dogs that move in nearby.
This is a Great Dane named Connor. He is an older dog which is good because a younger Great Dane might come over the fence to play.
Max thinks that would be fun. Since Max is afraid of the chickens when they are on the same side of the fence as he is, I am pretty sure he would run from Connor.
It is nice to have good neighbors. Especially when there is a fence between us.
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