The Joy in Stories: A Week of Joy #3

I have a busy schedule for the next few months.  I could document it here, but I will spare you the details.  This is common practice for me.  I like to be busy.  A good friend of mine often reminds me, “Busy people do.”  And I certainly do.

I rarely take time to actually watch a television show in real time.  The year before Madeleine was born, my husband gifted me with TIVO, and we have never stopped storing an exorbitant amount of television in its cache. (Seriously, we will never be able to watch it all.)  Lately I’ve been catching up on shows using subscription services like Netflix and Hulu, but tonight I watched a show while it was on–commercials and all.

Joy Choice #3:  I stopped to watch This Is Us.  I never do this.  I catch up on weekends and ball my eyes out while my husband occupies himself with football.  Not tonight.  Tonight I made time, set aside my work, and watched the entire program through bleary eyes while it was broadcast.  (Oh Big Three, why do you do this to me?!?).  Bleary eyes?  How does this connect with joy?  It’s this simple:

Stories bring me joy.

Stories are exactly why I spend my days doing what I do. It’s why I read.  It’s why I teach Shakespeare, Dickens, Homer, Harper Lee.  It’s why I passionately share these stories with my students. It’s why I spend ten minutes a day listening to my students share some of theirs. It’s why I ask my children to recount their days over dinner, and it’s why I’m writing this tonight before turning in, snuggled under cotton sheets  with my Kindle in my hands.  I love stories.  It brings me such happiness to watch/listen/read stories.  There’s such joy in every one.


Jeopardy and the Dream

Almost a month ago, I talked about watching my husband live out one of his dreams.  It was a surreal experience, and even thinking on it now, it feels as if it didn’t happen.  What my husband did was compete on Jeopardy!

I can write about it because the new season began this week, and his show airs next Monday (our 13th anniversary).

Honestly, it didn’t go as planned.  He didn’t win thousands of dollars.  He didn’t win at all.

My husband is extremely intelligent; he proves that every day–in his job, in our life, in even making it to the highly competitive game–but like many highly intelligent, high achievers, he flubbed a few times.  In my classroom, I see it every day.  Students who absolutely know every answer on a test, who get nervous, excited, anxious, and  who make mistakes they normally wouldn’t.  A high school test is a small struggle, but in front of millions of viewers, making mistakes becomes a much bigger deal.

It’s definitely a test, but one in which two other people are vying to answer at the same time, and only one can answer it correctly.  It’s in front of cameras and a live audience.  The person next to you may, in fact, be more skilled at buzzing in before you.That’s what happened to my husband.  The returning champion was faster, and when my husband was able to catch the buzzer, he made mistakes.  Yet, in the end, he was the only contestant in the game that got the Final Jeopardy question right. So take that, returning champion!

He’s been disappointed.  I understand.  He waited for that moment for as long as I can remember, but while he’s not proud of himself for his accomplishment,  I am.  I know that if I had made it through all stages, I would have failed more miserably than anyone else on the history of the show.   (I prove that every time we compete on the Wii version of the game).  He’s amazing.  He’s the most intelligent person I know–he married me after all.  All kidding aside, he surprised me in the best of ways.  He’s not a man who takes risks.  He typically plays it safe.  He does this because he loves me and the kids.  He wants to create a safe, stable environment that will make us happy.  This is the first real risk he’s ever taken.  Even though he didn’t do as well as we all had hoped, I feel he accomplished something much bigger.  He went for it.  I’m so impressed with him.