Saturday, June 25, 2011

Retreating

When I was around 10 or 11 years old, I discovered a wonderful place in my elementary school.

 It was "the sick room."  

Every school has one.  The place they send you if you complain of a tummy-ache, or a bad headache, or a wicked hangnail, if you're lucky.  

I had developed a pattern.  Everyday I would get a terrible stomach ache when it was time for Social Studies with Mrs. Laverne.  (Names have been changed in case she comes for me.)

She was so intimidating, I get nervous just writing this.  She had a Mrs. in front of her name, but I didn't believe she was female.  Everything else about her yelled MAN and that scared me to death.  She never smiled, spoke harshly most of the time, and I just couldn't take it anymore.


This is not that room, by the way.  But pretty close!  (This what happens when you google "images of rooms with a window.")  It was cool and dark with small clean beds and a window like this one.  I would lay there, missing geography lessons, and savor the solitude of that room while watching clouds move across a blue sky.      

I couldn't stay there, of course.  I wouldn't want to miss lunch or recess!  And eventually, I had to conquer my fear of Man/Woman Teacher and get my butt back up there, but it's funny what you remember from your childhood.  Funny how you repeat patterns you learn as a kid.

I think we all need a room like this, a place to retreat when life gets scary or hard.  The tricky thing is, knowing when to go and when not to go.  There have been days when I've wanted DESPERATELY to retreat, but I've had to close my eyes, grit my teeth, and stay in the moment -- battling it out for the time being, and knowing retreat would come later.  That's what being an adult is about sometimes -- staying when you want to run, fighting when you want to retreat, and discovering you are stronger than you thought you were.

2 comments:

Doug said...

I must give some validity to your description here. She was the manliest (word?) she-man I think I have ever seen. Its a wonder you made it out of there alive without recurring night terrors!!!

Jeannie said...

And Mom informed she still roams the earth. How can this woman still be alive?

Was she not ancient when we were in school?!?! And it's funny because now you visit a grade school, and all the teachers look like JC Penney models or something....guess kids are pretty resilient...