My Day Off--That Ended Up Being On

It began just as the previous 748 days have with an energizing run in the beautiful nature in which I live in Northwest WI. After getting ready in my #SpoonerProud shirt and jeans, I snuggled my girls. Got their breakfast. Kissed their cheeks and hugged their little bodies tight...and headed to the office. 

Summer hours at our school are supposed to mean Fridays off in July. However, as many building principals know, the minutes in each day of this time of year really need to count. So I worked. I did the minutia of paperwork, caught up on email. For my few hours worth of office hours, I was able to complete communication I had been sitting on for weeks, namely a link to connect to Remind for my staff. This may seem minor, but it's huge for me. 

This was my day off, so at 1:30 p.m., I packed up and headed to the county fair to meet my children. I rode the Tilta-a-Whirl. Twice. Engaged with a staff member whose daughter shows at the fair and asked her to be a mentor for staff. In passing, I ran into a senior student who excitedly shared with me her vision for fundraising so that we can increase school spirit. My spirit rejoiced at this student feeling empowered and excited to offer her voice. We high-fived and promised to set up a time to chat soon. 

After an hour of rides and laughs, I peeled myself away from my children, knowing they were building some incredible memories on the remainder of the rides without me. I was stopped at the gate by a grandfather of a recent graduate and a brother of a former staff member. Good-natured ribbing ensued, followed by inquiries for our interim superintendent position. There were updates on the graduated senior and a chastising for not coming to the graduation party (my grandfather had passed, but he didn't know), and a razzing from their partner for using up my gas from idling. I grinned the six miles home. 

My steps in the door were rushed, and I whipped up my first meal for the day: tuna fish and pickles. No time for bread. While doing this, I connected with my colleague, @lukestordahl on @voxer. Caught up on #MAP-MomsAsPrincipals on @voxer and changed clothes. It was my day off, so I laid down for three minutes in the dark to relax and found my latest favorite song, which has now played 17 times on my Spotify list. ("Crash" by Usher)

It was my day off, so I grabbed another cup of coffee to accompany me on the 30 minute drive to my destination. A visitation. 

When I walked in, the din was so loud, I thought maybe I had entered the wrong building. A survey of the fixtures and flowers indicated I was in the right spot. Waiting in line for 45 minutes, I heard all kinds of small talk, recognized people vaguely from when I student taught in this town. When the man in front of me learned this and where I am currently, there was slight hesitation when he noted things will get better. 

It was my day off, so I could have avoided the conversation. Instead, I regaled him of all Spooner Schools has going for it and what amazing students and staff we have that are ready to make a difference. He believed me. I could tell by his engagement in the conversation and the way he made an intentional effort to bid me farewell when the line had progressed to my destination. Nika. 

This woman is a science teacher at my school and an exceptional person. Her dad passed this week, and I was there to show her support, give her a hug, and bring some light to a dark time. The interaction is one that I will not soon forget. Being there reminded me of how interconnected our lives truly are and that we are always where we are meant to be. Her oldest daughter and I reconnected after over a decade. She was a student in my class when I was a student teacher. Her mother and I have known this for two years. She just learned. "How did you remember me?" She was astonished. How could I forget? She was one of the first in a class helping me realize my dream!

It was my day off, so I could have rushed through the conversation, but I savored it. Enjoyed providing this family the brief reprieve from their loss to other subjects. 

When I left, I told Nika I loved her. And I meant it. 

It was my day off, but I had not planned for a meal. I swung by #OldSouthernBBQ to grab my family's favorites and headed home, catching up again on @voxer with my #enduranceeducator group and my go-to ladies +Jessica Johnson  and @jessicacabeen. 

I called my sister. Twice. She didn't answer. 

My phone buzzed with a message from a student with whom I had lunch this week. She had been thinking about our talk and wanted to suggest an idea for bringing curriculum to younger grades. Seriously. On a Friday evening. I danced around the kitchen with joy to my new favorite song, savoring the feeling of an empowered student reaching out with her voice. For the second time today. On my day off. 

After that, the mundane took over: cleaning the kitchen, making the grocery list, folding laundry. 

I read to my children. "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" and "Clifford the Big Red Dog." The girls each got tucked in with prayers for the night. 

It was my day off, so I could have gone to bed. Instead, I went for an evening run. As I completed it, the thought hit me. I needed to write my first blog post. Tonight. Now. No more putting it off. 

So, I wrote it. Exciting to me and those that know me well is that I didn't even know the pink template that I chose had a hummingbird in it. Bonus! 

The first entry is nothing too fancy. No major educational trends or references to articles. Just one day that counted in the life of a principal who had a day off and still managed to feel most positively on. 


  1. There was a theme to this post. It is that your life is a tapestry beautifully woven with many colored threads that represent who you are and what you mean to those around you.

    Keep writing. This world needs more voices like yours.

    1. Thank you, Nathan. :) I really appreciate you reading and the comment. You picked it right up.

  2. There was a theme to this post. It is that your life is a tapestry beautifully woven with many colored threads that represent who you are and what you mean to those around you.

    Keep writing. This world needs more voices like yours.


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