Dancing Through Tough Times

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Today I’m excited about these soft and squishy treasures.

I ordered two sets, one for the Peace Corner in my classroom and the other for a counseling colleague who’s coming to TX for ASCA next week. I’m already planning a few activities using these softball-sized Feelings Friends, the perfect addition to our Social and Emotional Skills learning space; let me know if you’d like Olivia to crochet a set for you.

I’ve been devouring Brené Brown’s Atlas of the Heart and reflecting a lot lately on the myriad feelings that we’ve been gifted with; truth be told, there was a time in my life when I kept most of the emotions at bay. It really wasn’t until 2013, when I was seriously injured in that head-on collision, that I really started making friends with all of the feelings. I’ve recently started volunteering with MADD, on their Victim Impact Panel; I’ve found that sharing my story is quite cathartic.
And though that trauma was 9 1/2 years ago, I’m still a regular at the Chiropractor’s office. At today’s visit, Dr. B directed me down the hall toward a young man whose eyes I instantly recognized, eyes that lit up when I asked him if he was my J, from Westwood many yesterdays ago. He said yes and we got to talking about where and how intense the pain was; he recalled being in third grade when the collision happened. He said that he didn’t really understand at the time much about the severity of the event, but he remembered exactly where it had happened and how scared the kids were for me. He went on to talk about how much they loved coming to my office, how he remembered the puppets and the lessons, the books I read, the songs we’d sing, and the special programs like Pinwheels For Peace, Nana Puddin’ and Rocket Reader.

When he asked if I’d be okay with him massaging through the knots before the doctor’s adjustment, he told me that he couldn’t believe his elementary school counselor would remember him. He said that of course he’d remember me (because he only had one counselor), but that I must have had thousands of kids over the years. I told him that it brought me great joy getting to know my students and their stories. 

When I asked about his family, he shared the trauma from his freshman year, when a car accident of his own led to a cancer diagnosis for his mom. He then detailed their painful journey through chemo, multiple surgeries and a mild stroke while he stimulated the scar tissue in my neck and upper back. He told me that the more my muscles dance, the more ready they’ll be for that adjustment. Gratitude again filled my heart as I listened to his story, held his heart, felt his hardship, and hurt with him. 

It wasn’t lost on me that, much like those muscles being manipulated by the Tens Unit, we’d both done a lot of emotional dancing through the tough times these last few years. 

With that, let’s bounce into today’s book rec.

Due out next week on the 5th of July, If I had a kangaroo finds the child who dreamed of owning a unicorn back in 2020 surmising how outrageously amazing it’d be to now have a kangaroo of her own to bounce around in. Brilliantly illustrated by Alex Barrow, this delightful tale invites us to imagine exploring life with this impractical but super-fun pet. 

So many nutty nuggets in this newcomer,

but this is the page that bounced into my heart.

Whatever kind of weather,

how my kangaroo would prance …

In sunshine, rain or hurricane

there’s always time to dance. 

To dance. Like the muscles in my back.

And like the emotions in our heart.

Through all sorts of weather.

Inside and out.

Sigh.

Looks like there are already five exciting exotics

in this series: Sleepy sloth, unicorn, dinosaur, octopus

and now kangaroo. Invite your young scientists

to hypothesize which animal might be next.

Then ask them to try their hand at writing

a few verses to share their “If I had … “

sensational story with the world. 

Grizzly Bear? Salamander? Ostrich? Aardvark?

Happy imagining, dear reader.


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