November is always a roller coaster of a month for me. Deep down, I do appreciate the variety of New England’s four seasons. Still, my mind has a hard time adjusting to the abrupt changes this month brings: the extended darkness, the fading warmth, the down-turned heads and hands in pockets, the never-ending carpet of brown leaves, whose color and radiance captivated me just a few short weeks prior.
Change is hard.
When I find myself feeling dysregulated, I try to pause and find moments of light. Is there a lesson here? Is there something to be grateful for?
I watch my children (and yours) bound out into the crisp morning air, often sans jacket, definitely in shorts if permitted, completely unaffected by what feels like the middle of the Arctic tundra to me. “Aren’t you cold?!” I exclaim. “No, mom/Ms. Halton! I’m fine!” they reply with a beaming and priceless smile. Suddenly, I’m flooded with warmth. They are fine. And I am, too. I’m grateful to my young friends for this reminder.
This Wednesday, I was taken aback when I realized it had been a year to the day since I interviewed for my role at BDS. I recalled how energized and inspired I was by every individual I met. Oddly, I particularly remember how delicious the Friendsgiving Lunch was that day and how shocked I was to learn that the kitchen offers gluten-free options daily. In most places, my food allergy is an inconvenience. Here, I felt seen and cared for. I was beyond grateful.
Imagine my surprise when the same Friendsgiving Lunch awaited me when I entered the cafeteria this Wednesday. It was just as delicious as last November’s (Thank you, Chef Lightbody and team!). Delicious food aside, joining this community has been far sweeter and more nourishing than I could have imagined. I am deeply grateful to be here.
So, while I often begin November feeling particularly out of sorts, it is around this time that I begin to accept the changes around me and pause to reflect with gratitude on the lessons and moments that bring me joy.
If you see me welcoming your students for the day at the Barn circle and I’m dressed for the tundra, know that as long as your children are bounding around with enthusiasm, I am warm, and my heart is smiling.
I hope you will join us at next Tuesday’s Gratitude Assembly before we depart for Thanksgiving Break (11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. in the Barn). It will be a special opportunity for our school to gather and reflect on all we have to be grateful for.