I'm sitting here on the eve of the week I turn 40 and reflecting on my week, on life, on the space I find myself in my head, my heart, my body and my life. BJ tells me it happens every year, that at the end of the school year, I start to really lose my $h^+. I have had a fabulous year in so many ways; I have loved my students, enjoyed teaching, been honored and asked to lead at the county level, so I'm thankful for that.  But all the end of the year activities, assessments and demands are pulling at me. 

On Thursday, my oldest and dearest friend Whitney was in northern Virginia, and we planned to meet for dinner and shopping, but through tears Thursday morning, I told BJ and the kids I didn't know if I could go. I hadn't worked out and was just in a bad place in my mind, but the girls started crying saying they planted a surprise in my wallet (a lululemon gift card). And I really did want, need to visit with Whitney. I am so glad I did; our friendship is so special, authentic and beautiful and I left an evening of sushi, conversation and shopping feeling rejuvenated. Whitney's mom is a teacher and she said her mom's mantra was, "nothing matters in May," meaning it is ok to eat out, and not do everything you usually do. Perspective and time with Whitney meant the world to me.

BJ encouraged me to take the next day off and spend the night, but I knew I couldn't take a Friday off in the spring. So, at school on Friday morning, I met with my administrative team for my "end of the year evaluation" and after all I've done this year in so many categories, I felt a punch in the gut when I saw that my principal had initially given me a "proficient" score.  With as much poise I could muster, I told them about BJ and all that I have dealt with and what lay ahead for us (brain surgery), but that meeting crushed me.  I thought of all I have done and wrote it down during my lunch, and carried on with my day, but about 30 minutes before I left school, I started crying and could not stop. 

The stress of the year just spilled out of me; I am so proud of myself for not melting with BJ's illness, for being a good teacher, for going above and beyond in so many ways (when in other years, I have just gotten by) and I was crushed that my superiors didn't even notice. I talked to my coworker friends, to BJ, and called my mom. When I called mom, Daddy answered but I couldn't talk to him about this, and asked to speak to mom. 

At the ball field, I shared with my best friend Norah that my feelings were hurt, and she just laughed and said, "that's ridiculous, Sarah. what did your dad say?" 

And a few minutes later, I got a call from Daddy and he said, "did you get my email? Listen, Sarah, getting praise is inversely related to how good you are." I said, "I didn't want to tell you because I knew you'd think I was a wimp," and Daddy said, "well I do think you are a wimp, but you are not a suck up. Go read my email." 

Good gracious, he is right. If you are in your office doing all the things your bosses think you should do, you aren't doing what your job for the people you are serving. Thank God for perspective and the wisdom and love from my Dad. I shared this Whitney and she said something like "this is the words of love ad life."

This morning, I stayed in my pajamas until noon and had a few cups of coffee while  I caught up with another best friend, Nicole. We've been friends for 20 years, kindred spirits.

I got in a quick run in the woods and as I run in our simple path, I feel as though I'm embracing some sort of Thoreau existential experience. I have peace and perspective.

Tonight, BJ and I met up with another best friend Allahna. She used to be close in Virginia but has moved across country so now we have to make sure we see and connect when she is here. Allahna is the easiest person in the world to be around; she is the perfect combination of opinionated and accepting. She's like a limb -- she's always been there and always will be.

It has all been the rejuvenation I need.

Lately, I've been a little sad that I don't really have a "group" of friends like I think others may have.

BJ says it is because I'm picky and develop relationships with people on a deep individual level.  This whole weekend has reminded me of how lucky I am to have individuals who hold my hand through life. I have just what I need in life. I hope I can provide fun, perspective, love, acceptance and wisdom for my children and my friends in the same ways I've received it.  I know it is all a part of the path.

Thank you, God, for the trials and times I am not appreciated, because it reminds me of the joys and to embrace and revel in those who do appreciate me and those who give me perspective.  May I realize it is all a part of the path of life.