Family, Journal

Just Because You’re Struggling Doesn’t Mean You’re Failing

Scrimmage week just finished here in Georgia. So did the first week of school in our community. And I’m a teacher. In a new system. With 180 new students. Plus, I have twins. And they began school this week, too. Pre-K twins. Learning new, pre-K rules and pre-K routines. Slowly. With great trepidation.

I feel like I’ve been sacked by Refrigerator Perry…  in quadruple sudden death. And the season hasn’t even begun yet. Not officially. That happens this week. Week Zero. Which we’re playing. So honestly, the season really is upon us.

And the blitzes just kept coming.

I have new students to mentor and new curriculums to master and a marathon schedule to manage and a home front to monitor and maintain. And it all needs my attention. And my depth chart feels woefully inadequate. I’m spent and sacked — as in, in the sack — every night by 8:30. Every. Single. Night.

I feel like I’m losing the game.

At work, I’ve dropped the ball on more than one occasion: I’ve forgotten attendance on the computer, missed meetings in the media center, and misplaced paperwork in the midst of the mayhem on my desk.

At home, I’ve panicked under the pass rush. I’ve screamed at my twins. I’ve screamed at myself. I’ve screamed at my husband. I’ve left laundry sitting wet in the washer. I’ve left dishes sitting filthy in the sink. I’ve served sandwiches for dinner and served attitude for breakfast three out of four days this week.

Any way you look at it, I’m scrambling and losing ground way more often than I’m making forward progress.

But then I heard a phrase that spoke volumes to me: Just Because You’re Struggling, Doesn’t Mean You’re Failing.

Lord, how I needed that message.

Because, God knows, I’m struggling. I haven’t just been riding the struggle bus, I’ve been feeling all the bumps and breathing all the exhaust and slipping under all the wheels all week long.

But that phrase reminds me that yes, while I am struggling — absolutely, positively, no-doubt-about-it struggling — that doesn’t mean I’m failing. I’ve gotten some points on the board. Not as many as I’d like, but some.

I know approximately one-third of my students’ names. In the first three days of the school year. And one hundred percent of my departmental colleagues’.  That’s not a fail. Not by a long shot.

And my twins have been fed and clothed.  And while it may have just been sandwiches, they didn’t starve. And yes, one may have worn a shirt to the scrimmage that I dug out of the very bottom of the laundry hamper and freshened up with a generous dusting of baby powder (I’m superstitious. He HAD to wear that one), but he was dressed. So that’s not a fail either.

And yes, I may have forgotten to bring shorts for myself to change into at school because there was no time to drive home — so I wore clothing nowhere near appropriate for a scrimmage in 90-degree-Georgia-in-August humidity (I sweated like Refrigerator Perry in training camp) — but at least I was there. I made the hour-long drive on a Friday night in a fog of exhaust … er, exhaustion, after a week of new students and new routines and new challenges and new anxieties (and old, familiar ones too), but I was there. With my twin boys. Two out of three of us in questionable clothing. But we made it. We were there. No harm. No fail.

Far from it.

Because every Friday night for the next four months my boys and I get to do what we love most in the world, which is cheer on our coach and our players — some of whom I now have the distinct honor of teaching in this new school system of mine… my husband’s system. Every. Friday. Night.

And that’s what I call a win. Every. Single. Game.

So, nope. I may be struggling, but I’m a far, far cry from failing.