Over the past few Mondays I’ve been spending an hour or so in my friend’s kindergarten classroom as part of my therapy/treatment plan.
I spend a lot of time in my house. Not necessarily because I want to, but because sometimes I’m afraid to leave. I’m afraid of who I will run into. Afraid of what could happen; what couldn’t happen. Just fearful. So in order to quell these fears I simply don’t leave the house.
This, of course, is probably not the healthiest decision (ok, let’s be honest, I know it’s not the healthiest decision). Months ago my previous therapist recommended I find somewhere to volunteer. At the time I was afraid (I’m seeing a theme here) that if I started volunteering someone would say I was well enough to go back to work and I would be thrust back into a very toxic work environment.
Since then I have come to realize that no one can force me back into that job and getting out and getting involved would be a great way for me to ease back into a healthier (and employable) frame of mind. So a couple of months ago I decided to ask my teacher friend if she could use some help in her classroom.
She was thrilled (I don’t know many elementary school teachers who turn away volunteers). Once a week I go into the school and seat myself at the tiniest of chairs (envision it folks, knees to my earlobes). I am then joined by a very excited 4 or 5 year old who proceeds to read to me from a book with 6 or 7 pages, bright images and lots of sight words.
I love their enthusiasm (I’m hoping it’s contagious). I love their joie du vie (I’m really hoping I catch that). I love their little smiles. The voices they make while they read (I miss my kids doing that). Their excitement over telling me the story and explaining the pictures. And I really love how confident they are.
I hope that as I spend more time with them I am reminded more and more that life is worth living. I’m looking forward to the other lessons they’ll teach me, or remind me of, as the year progresses.