Today was our first day of testing. I had big plans that included getting to work earlier, picking up my testing materials earlier, getting the children prepared for their test earlier. Today, nothing worked out as planned.
Although Hubby was to travel a few hours north to a meeting VERY early this morning and I was supposed to drop off everyone to school, it turned out that he was able to drop off Joshua to preschool, as he usually does. I got an early start and was even able to get a Venti Zen Green Tea from Starbucks. But the line to pick up testing materials was WAY too long.
The children were rushed to come into the class and get settled. I felt frazzled, trying to get my manual open to the right page, find my group testing code, and get my class to breathe normally, so that they could focus. And then, they were off.
And my job was to keep time.
I walked and paused, prayed and pondered. I eyed suspiciously if they seemed like they were taking too long for a couple pages. I kept glancing at the clock, meticulously ticking away the first of four hours of testing over three days.
I thought of how this same scenario was occurring simultaneously in thousands of classrooms in my state. I thought of all the preparation over the last few months, the pep talks these students had received from teachers, administrators, siblings, friends, their parents. How all this preparation now came down to four sessions of 60 minutes each.
A whole school year defined by 240 minutes.
As I walked and monitored, I thought of how many lives are determined by what occurs in a short period of time. If we had made a different decision at a given moment, our lives would have taken a completely different turn.
In my own life, I see how different decisions would have made a huge difference in the reality I live today. There are no regrets. There is the reality. Living with regrets is wasting the time we have been given. It is fruitless to think of what could have been.
Today, as my students read and answered questions, one in particular seemed to lag behind. Despite the ten minute warning and frantic looks from the teachers in the room, this student did not finish. This student ran out of time.
She trembled a little. Her eyes filled with tears. If only she had read the passage a little more quickly. If only...
How will we react when our time runs out? Will we tremble? Will our minds be filled with "if only's?"
Not me. Today my job was to keep time.
I will be mindful of the days that pass. I will hold onto the things that fill my heart with joy. I will keep the time, mindful that these days are precious. That I cannot go back and do things differently. So I can make things count.
Because, if I tremble when time runs out, it will be because my time was spent doing the extraordinary.
With no regrets.
Because the clock is diligent in its task, I must be vigilant.
Today, tomorrow, the day after.
For the 240 minutes that will determine the near future of 32 amazing kids.
And for the unknown days of this loving family of five.