During the semester, I team up with fellow PhD students and give graduate workshops to other students across the university. Students come from all backgrounds — history, STEM, agriculture, psychology, biochemistry, and etc. We teach everything from the abstract to literature reviews and how to write about your research for public audiences. Sometimes it is hit or miss with audience participation. However, this week and last week, we have had incredible graduate students ask thoughtful questions, engage in our activities, and leave feeling like they’ve learned something of value. This is not always the case! Sometimes they’re disinterested or distracted. So although this may seem like a small wonder, it is still a wonder to have a room engage and participate with what you are teaching!
A side shot of the library, where we hold the graduate workshops.
I’ve had a bad cough for a couple weeks. It was getting worse. I started meds on Thursday. Today I’m finally feeling a bit like I’m getting better instead of worse. Oklahoma has tested my nervous system. I hardly ever became sick in California. But here? It’s been almost every season (except last fall!).
So yesterday you’ll see I hardly posted a photo of a sign in our neighborhood that made me laugh.
Today, I’m relishing in the wonder of my husband and son who have made Love Day special. We went out for a fun dinner last night (B’s pick! Eskimo Joe’s). When we arrived home, I was gifted a fun giant card that involved avocados which they know I love. And today we went to an OSU basketball game!
But most of all: I was in wonder of my husband cleaning the house when I arrived home from doing homework this morning!
This morning I woke up feeling so naturally happy. My son was sleeping horizontal in the bed next to me. My husband had kissed me before his commute to work, like every morning. I had a long day ahead and was waking up late; I had to rush to get out on time. But I wasn’t stressed or overwhelmed. I didn’t have anything grand to look forward to, it was just a regular day but I felt overwhelmingly grateful and with joy in my heart. I think that’s wonder, in the body, and mostly, in the spirit.
Here is a photo of what I was up to today: running a thesis workshop for Masters students.
I’ve been thinking a lot about how wonder is not quite what I hypothesized it as: deep and accessible. This experiment has complicated that definition and challenged it. I think of wonder as small surprises, natural delights, the changing of time, growth. But overall, today this phrase came to me: The World is For You….Not Against You.
What do I mean by that?
I was trying to pick just one wonderful thing that happened today, and my mind was moving like a spider across a web, trying to pick just one. So I will share them, chronologically.
At 6:45 am, my son knocked on my door. He sleeps in a crib and I’ve been scooping him up out of his crib every morning for 3 years and eleven days. The knock made me pause. My boy was getting bigger. He was a monkey and could climb out of his crib easily, but even in his athletic ability, he still called my name in the morning from his room. Him knocking startled and delighted me. I told him to jump in my bed and get some more rest. I wasn’t ready for this moment, yet, I was. Of course I was. But in a way I was sad to realize my son wouldn’t need me in the ways I’d been accustomed to. But I was delighted by his independence, his growth, his joy to come and find me.
At 10:00 am, I entered a fairly empty TJ Maxx looking for thank you cards to send to everyone who so lovingly bought my son a birthday gift and/or attended his third birthday party. I know handwritten thank you cards are so old school, but I love them. However, once inside TJ Maxx one cannot just buy the desired item one came for then leave. (Cardinal rule!) I stumbled upon an orange Nike Oklahoma State hat…..normally $25, on sale for $6. This was a moment of wonder to me. I’d been wanting a hat, there the hat sat, on the shelf, waiting.
At 4:45 pm, I was on a jog. Well. It was more of a walk than a job because it had been cold and I had been busy so I hadn’t gone as frequently. When I run I play Spotify music from my phone that cozies up inside an athletic fanny pack. And as I was running, the birds chirped like it was spring, a melody, their own song. They were louder than my music and I attuned my ear to listen to just them. Before iPhones and digital music and cassette players — there were the birds. To sing and sing and sing some more.
So, world: how do I pick which wonder? Perhaps a side effect of this experiment is noticing wonder more, subconsciously. And by seeing more than one wonder a day, I affirm that the world is on my side. I can look at the small three moments today and see this to be true.
3:30 PM: Wind whips across my cheeks, I pull my hands deep into my pockets, keep my head down. But the way the sun glares, just bright enough, for a brief moment, has me stop. The clouds and sun demand to be seen, peaking out behind the oldest building on campus and desolate trees. I obey the command to briefly stop, take the scene in.
Today was the first day back of school. There is a an excitement that vibrates through the campus. Students print out syllabi. Campus coffee grinds fresh espresso beans. Chick-fil-A back in action, line swerving around the union. People crisscross through campus, greeting new faces. Geese waddle, wondering who all these new people are, on their turf.
There are fresh beginnings at the start of a fresh semester, in a new decade. Questions flash across our minds.
How will classes be?
What opportunities will a semester bring?
What new friends will we make?
How will we grow and challenge ourselves in new ways?
Bennett and I had to leave the house two hours early today for a training I had at the university. We usually take our mornings slow and enjoy the time together watching Daniel Tiger and eating a big breakfast, but today’s hustle out of the house was something different.
When we were leaving the neighborhood, a young boy, middle school aged, waved at us as we were headed out. He had a big smile and I could tell he was genuinely spreading morning cheer.
The gesture of a young boy being friendly and waving was a bright happy start to the day. Instead of looking down on his phone, he was looking up, and interacting with the world…even at such an early hour.
Also, today was the first rain of 2020 in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Tomorrow, it is supposed to snow!