Friday, May 13, 2011

what a week

It’s been quite a week. I wasn’t going to write about some of it but it seems I’m stuck. My life is an open book and you can’t skip chapters.

On Wednesday, my district held its annual Staff Recognition event. I usually go because as I’ve gotten older, I appreciate the importance of marking milestones, my own and everyone else’s milestones. I get weepy quite often so I was concerned that I would collapse in a pile of tears when it was my turn to give the retirement speech.

I started working on it in January because that’s how I roll. I write, I revise, I ponder, I revise. It had to feel right. The speech went through many transformations over the months. Even Wednesday as I practiced it in my office, I made changes. I wanted the tone to be just right.

Here it is.

I have to tell you I’m not very good at ad libbing so even the parts of this that seem spontaneous, are not. Like this one.

Thank you, Joanne for saying all those nice things about me.

See, I have it written down right here!

I read once that the aging process has you firmly in its grasp if you never get the urge to throw a snowball.

In the last year, I did a lot of things that I hadn’t ever done before…or at least for a long time. I made snow angels, I danced to a reggae band, I ran in a half-marathon, I bought a long curly red wig and wore it out for dinner one night. Not in St. Peter.

One bitterly cold morning this spring, I ran in a 5K race. I came in first in my age group which is quite a feat.

Being the only person in my age group, 50-59, did not diminish the significance of my accomplishment as I am a person who spent most of her life as what Bill Bryson calls a waddlesome sloth.

I think this proves a couple of things…one, that you are never too old to learn something new and two…that you do not have to become faster; you only have to become older.

In December, I bought a book called How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free, described as a book of retirement wisdom you won’t get from a financial advisor.

Regis and I have never been very good at financial planning but that won’t keep us from having a good time as we grow older. We are really good at fun and it’s our philosophy that fun should receive more consideration by all of us than it typically gets when we’re making career and life decisions.

I had a paragraph in here about all my jobs over the years but I deleted it at the last minute. It made my speech sound like a bad obituary.

Let me just say that all of these positions have been full of challenges and rewards. I have much in my career, as in my life, for which to be thankful.

So, there you go. As my dad said, it’s been a good run but now I’m off to do other things. Thank you and good-bye.

You can watch it here. Love that technology.

And of course, I cried.

What you don’t see in this clip is Alex, our two-year old grandson who had happy feet. He danced like a madman right in front of the podium during the first part of my speech. It was a hoot. I wish I had pointed at him and said, “I feel like doing that!”

Toward the end, Dr. Olson gave the first ever Distinguished Service Award. I was on the committee that came up with this idea and at every meeting he would ask Nancy if there had been any nominations. She always responded, “We can’t talk about that here.” I just assumed I didn’t have the right security clearance to know. Ha!

As he started talking about the person who would get this award, I heard coordinator. Well, that’s me, I thought. I have had the title of coordinator for lots of different things. So, I got that lovely award. When I went up to accept it, people stood up and clapped. I got a standing ovation! I was overcome and only said I was touched and honored.

We gathered up a few friends and went to the bar to celebrate. There was much laughter. My friend, Gayle, told someone I had received the Extinguished Service Award. I love that!

When we got home, we sat on the patio and enjoyed the lovely evening. This is Regis with my award. He said he would walk in front of me shouting, “All rise!” Nice, I said, but not necessary. Ha! He knows I like attention.

Yesterday, I went to Ella’s graduation from Discovery Days pre-school. The caps are made from paper bowls, construction paper, and have a yarn tassel. So cute!

Today, we are attending Regis’ graduation from South Central College. He was an honor student and I am so proud of him. He was worried that, being an old coot, that he wouldn’t have the brain power to do college. I guess he was wrong.

Some of our off-spring are attending the ceremony and, the part Regis doesn’t know, a celebratory dinner after graduation. We have much for which to be thankful.


Jill said...

A wonderful week for you and your family, Teresa! I'm happy for you all, and proud of you for winning the Distinguished Service Award. About time! Oh-- it's the first award given in the school district? Still... ABOUT TIME!

In the picture of you holding the award, it looks like an iPad. That would be pretty dang cool!

Congratulations to Ella and Regis, and hooray for Alex's happy feet!

Anonymous said...

Hey Teresa,
I did not attend the retirement party--hell--I won't even attend it when I retire, so I wanted to take a minute to congratulate you on your award and surviving the education game for so many years. You can look forward now to a whole new career with much less stress and a whole lot more coffee. Enjoy!
Your old neighbor,