I feel as though I have run out of steam, although this really isn't a convenient point to have run out of steam, considering I have a full week of final grading ahead of me. Thankfully, though, there are no more classes to teach. I will have to meet with my students in my comp and developmental writing classes for a final time on Wednesday, but my literature classes on Tuesday/Thursday are simply dropping final assignments off in my mailbox and office this week, up until a 3 p.m. deadline on Thursday. And that feels kind of strange, because I enjoyed those classes a lot and it would be nice to see them again and wish them luck in the next semester -- but none of us really want the commitment of meeting as a group again when we have so many other things to do. This has been such a strange semester.
Last night I evaluated developmental writing portfolios and I'll begin those again in a short moment. This morning I felt the need to weigh down the blogosphere with more end-of-semester summarizing/reflecting, something that is actually important when it comes to teaching (but perhaps need not be so public!). I'm not sure my end-of-semester observations will be quite as pithy or helpful or useful as they may have been in past semesters, as this has been one whopping anomaly as far as semesters go.
I suppose I handled the semester fairly well considering the obstacles and confusions that occurred. I wonder still about my ability to handle any of this balancing act well -- the teaching, the writing, the committee work and professional obligations simultaneously with child-rearing and marriage and friendship. I don't have a List of Priorities so much as I have a Priority Flatline.
That is, of course, a joke -- and also not a joke. In times of crisis, of course my children and my husband and my friends will come first. But how often are we really faced with crisis? (Thankfully, thankfully.) Most of the time, there is the everyday opposition of these Very Important Tasks that rise out of the murk of the Priority Flatline, and they kind of float around in the cavern of my skull like aggressive ghosts, jostling to be noticed.
Times of national crisis like Friday's massacre in Connecticut do actually force the Priority Flatline to morph into something more vertical -- A. and I spent much of our collective energy focusing on our kids this weekend, although they weren't aware of why we were hugging them spontaneously and more forcefully far more than usual ("Lemme go! You're squeezin' my brains!" said The Boy) but Monday arrives and I'm forced to acknowledge that there's a dentist appointment to go to (for The Girl), student emails to answer, and piles and piles of grading to slog through before I can actually concentrate, once again, on the other elements of my life that I love and want to nurture.
These are all good problems, as M. would say in one of our head-shrinking sessions. I have, right now, only good problems. I have a relatively-healthy family (the girl is plagued with a hacking cough right now -- I'm sure the dentist will love that!) and a chaotic but very laughter-and-love filled home life; I have a career in academia, and financial security, in this unsteady economy; I have a slowly burgeoning second-career as a writer; and I have friends who are tolerant and understanding enough to still talk to me after I've been silent and neglectful over many, many weeks (and sometimes months, and sometimes -- ugh -- years of silence . . .).
All of this goodness can be kind of overwhelming at times, that's all. Overwhelming to the point where I'm cross-eyed and addle-brained and I can actually feel my IQ sinking several points and there's a literal disconnect between the few sparking synapses in my brain and the words coming out of my mouth ... but, you know, good problems. Good problems. Perhaps that shall be my mantra for 2013: Remember to be thankful, Crazy Girl. You have only Good Problems.