"To get back up to the shining world from there
My guide and I went into that hidden tunnel;
. . .Where we came forth, and once more saw the stars."
These final lines of Dante's Inferno truly express my feelings.
Hell week ended...finally...and late at that.
The district classes were a waste of time. The material was repeated three times in a row.
Then there was...Parent/Teacher Conferences. They weren't bad...but I was frustrated by the parents who showed up right as conferences were ending.
It becomes this horrible situation: You really don't want to tell a parent,"I'm tired, and I want to go home," because you're really happy they just showed up, but at the same time, you've been at the school for over 12 hours...and you've got papers to grade...and a kid you want to play with before he goes through a whole day without seeing you (ok, maybe it's just me, but you get the idea). Finally, at 7:30 (we finished at 7...officially), I told the last parent waiting for me that everything was fine. That was it. No long discussion, just, "your child is doing fine."
And yet, more was to come. I spent all day Friday without students, which sounds good, but I had to spend the entire day getting grades in and organizing all of my documentation. That's like a mini form of torture.
With all of the stress of work and such, it really wasn't until tonight that I finally had the chance to look up at the stars. With all of the observations, quizzes, discipline issues, and such, I discovered that I wasn't relaxing. Tonight, I stopped, went outside (cold as it was), and just looked at the sky. The moon was gorgeous. It was so full and round. It made me truly understand what Dante meant at the end of his metaphorical journey. That moment he saw the stars reminded him of God's love for his children. That doesn't apply to me, but the stars represented a freedom from Hell. That's what I got today. A freedom.
I didn't work at all tonight. I returned inside the house in time to find my son waking up from his nap. He smiled at me with nothing behind it. There was no desire to get food or get me to do a favor for him. It was just a smile that said, "I'm so glad you're here...funny guy."
That's worth more than anything. Those are my stars.