Education, Life Lessons, The Daily Blog

Into the Looking Glass

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I am not Alice, and I haven’t gone through the looking glass.

Don’t worry.

I’m just peering into the looking glass today, doing a bit of reflecting.

I hope you’ll join me. It may not be a whole different world in there, but there is a lot to peek at.

Thank you for all the positive feedback on last week’s essays and healthy snack recipes! I enjoyed planning for the week of intensives and it was nice to be able to share what I do at school here on the ol’ blogola. I usually try to keep the two worlds separate; it’s refreshing to let the two have a bit of overlap.

Unfortunately, I don’t have much reflecting to do on the week of intensives, as I wasn’t actually teaching the course. I planned the course (with my colleagues), wrote the exemplars, did the grocery shopping, and wrote the recipes, but I was not able to do the actual teaching. I was out of town, in San Diego, for the majority of the week. Almost two weeks ago, I mentioned that my grandpa passed away; his funeral was held this past week. Luckily, I was able to leave my intensive in good hands: my friends and colleagues Eamon and Francy took up the mantle and ran the show without me. I was able to spend a bit of time in each of their classrooms before I left for the week. My favorite moment was in Francy’s classroom, while she and her students made healthy snack #1 together. They ate it all right up (literally and figuratively) and there was more than a little licking of their plates going on.

Last week was defined by my trip with my parents and sister to San Diego for my grandpa’s funeral. Our last trip as a family was to San Diego for my grandpa’s 90th birthday celebration last year. This trip was a celebration too, although it was a bit of a different celebration – more somber, and more reflective. One thing remains, however: how blessed we all have been and will continue to be because we’ve had my grandpa in our lives.

He taught us all so much: he taught us what it means to work hard, to be devoted to family, to be honest and kind, to be generous and wise. He loved food with a passion and he loved his wife and children even more. I realize that so much of who I am is because of my grandpa, for the way he raised my dad and for the values that he instilled in all three of his sons. My grandpa emigrated from Strangolagalli, Italy as a young man; he worked hard to build a life in America that he and my grandma could be proud of. He worked with his hands and earned everything that he had – nothing was easy, and nothing was a given. He was a gardener, a cement-layer, a devout Catholic, a brick-layer, a chef, a chauffeur (my grandma never learned to drive), a visionary, a giver of advice, and the foundation of our family. So much of what we have is because of him. So much of who we are is because of him.

It was difficult to say goodbye to him. The realness of it all keeps coming to me in little pieces. I know I have so much to be thankful for – particularly for the long life he lived and for the time we all got to spend with him. He lived for 91 years; he and my grandma spent almost 72 years together. During this week of Thanksgiving, I will be acutely thankful for my grandpa, for my family, and for the life that I am blessed with.