Yesterday afternoon I was sitting on my front porch looking at distance learning work in the sunshine when my friend sent a text. She’s a faithful follower of the daily updates from our governor. She shared Ohio schools will remained closed for the rest of this school year. I anticipated this decision. Our numbers keep increasing with people infected and yet as the day went on I became filled with more sadness than I expected.
I found myself wrestling with my video for morning meeting. I didn’t think I could ignore this new fact in our lives. The students have taken turns sharing they are having sad moments because they can’t see each other. I didn’t know if I could hide my own sadness and at the same time I am so grateful for the platform I am using for our distance learning. I can hear them. I can see them in videos or audio recordings.
When I need help I turn to books and luckily I had the perfect book to help me through today’s morning meeting. The book I’m Happy – Sad Today by Lori Britain embraces and guides readers with the many emotions they can feel in the same day and most likely very close in time. Lori refers to these as Mixed – Together Feelings. The book begins by identifying emotions and how they feel different based on the situation. Then Lori begins sharing mixed – together feelings. For example; going to school on the first day of school can feel scary and brave together. Another example is when a baby sibling is born and the big sister can feel proud and jealous. I love this combination – frustrated and determined. My favorite part of the book is when the sweet main character acknowledges she can feel more than one feeling at a time. The book ends with ways the main character can handle these emotions and they involved talking, listening, sitting, being active, using her imaginations, movement, art, and word play. That’s right – why not mix emotion feelings together. Try these on for fun – mad, happcited, loveappy, and glappy.
So, today I read the first few pages and acknowledged my own feelings of sadness and gratitude that we can work together in a new way. Tomorrow I will read a little bit more. I don’t usually read a picture book over a few sittings and I had to accept that. Nothing is what it use to be.
This book has a lovely ending for caregivers and parents. There’s a guide for talking about feelings and strategies for supporting social emotional growth.