Monday, June 24, 2019

#sol19 The Best Gift

The end of school, graduations, weddings, and in some weird synchronous way, funerals, provide opportunities to celebrate life and accomplishments.
They are times when we connect with or gather with family and friends.
They are also opportunities to reflect on those we hold dear.
I've had a few of late.
I've noticed the strength of those who have persevered after loss of jobs, spouses, children.
Life often, perhaps always, takes unexpected turns.
What helps you find the strength to go forward?
I've watched the tenacity of those who care for medically frail and chronically ill.
Life does not usually go according to plan.
What helps one pick up the "baton" and lead the charge?
I've seen the power of determination to make dreams come true and miracles happen.
Someone is always the "first" to break through some glass ceiling.
What empowers us?
I've observed the fulfillment of the promise, "In sickness and in health."
No one can prepare you for life in a wheelchair, aphasia, strokes, Alzheimers....
Where can someone find that kind of strength?
I'm wondering if taking care of our physical and spiritual body is a gift to our families?
Is 70 the new 60...and 80 is the new 70......or are we kidding ourselves?
How do we nourish our bodies and souls?
Is eating right and exercising enough?
I'm sure of the need for Parents, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, Grandparents, Great-Aunties, our lives.
I'm sure that extended families are invaluable.
I'm sure that June will always be a time for thinking and reflection.
I'm sure that the end of school, graduations, weddings, and in some weird synchronous way, funerals, provide opportunities to celebrate life and accomplishment.
I'm not sure of much else.
Image result for gift image

I'm wondering if the best gift is to be present in the lives of others?
I'm wondering if the best gift we can give is to serve as model of how to live?
I'm wondering if the best gift we can give is modeling HOW to persevere in spite of obstacles?

Sunday, June 23, 2019

She was a wise one.

I heard the dish, gifted long ago by my mother-in-law, crack moments after I put it into the oven. I had noticed many hairline cracks long, long ago; yet, the dish had continued to serve.

I remember commenting on the beautiful dish, long ago, when we took my toddler to buy red-patent-leather shoes at Marshalls. "Grandma" loved to deck my toddler in "bargain" holiday shoes for Christmas and Easter and so we were on a specific mission that day.  Clearly my daughter did not need red patent leather shoes, but Grandma insisted that she all needed "something pretty and special."

"That's lovely," I commented noticing the dish near the check-out. As a busy mom, my goal was to put food on the table quickly and "presentation" was not high on my priorities. "So impractical," I added smiling.

"You know," the wise one offered, "You too deserve to have something pretty and special, even if it is not practical."

The dish was wrapped for me that Christmas.  I knew in my heart she had gone back the next day to get it for me even though it was impractical.

There are very few pieces of  my "old" life left, and those I held onto because they elicited happy memories or because they were just lovely, are starting to give-in to the wrath of time and use.

I'm going to miss that old impractical, yet well used dish and wonder if it cracked today to serve as a reminder that we are all special, even if we've been cracked, and we all deserve something special once in a while. After all, I am the "Grandma" these days.

I've got the doctorate, but she was a wise one.

Monday, June 17, 2019

#sol19 Royal Reader

Truth be told, I am not a fan of calling parents into school for more than one (maybe two) publishing parties a year. There are many ways to share writing with valued audiences, including parents, that don't add stress and guilt to already stretched-thin parents.  Sending writing home, taping presentations, sharing videos, social media; think about it, there are SO many possibilities to keep parents in the loop and aware of what is happening in classrooms. As a teacher and as a mom, I used to "dread" those invitations, especially right after "flu" or "strep" season when I was already treading on "thin ice."

I'm not a fan of "muffins for moms" or "donuts for dads" or "goodies" with grandparents as not only can this be an additional stressor, not all students come from families with this structure or a ready person that fits that profile. Naming them for what they are, opportunities to merge home and school, and encouraging siblings, aunties, uncles and friends can make such events more inclusive and still meet their objectives.

I do think it is critical that all schools, nursery through high school, look for inclusive ways that help all students see learning as partnerships between homes and schools.  It's important that students know family members care about them and their learning.  It's vital that parents and caregivers understand and know about what is happening in schools.

Last week, I participated in such an event: I was the Royal Reader in a grandchild's preschool classrooms! I could have been an Auntie, Uncle, Sibling or a did not matter, but I was crowned, "the Royal Reader of the Day."

Seriously, this is me sharing Dragons Love Tacos (Rubin) with 2 year-olds. We "Roooooareds" together and implored those dragons to NOT eat the spicy tacos, "" They did anyway.
The idea of a featured reader who shares a new book is certainly not a new idea and many teachers do it regularly!  The look on my grandchild's face was somewhat between, "What are you doing here?" and "You don't belong here!" 

Truth be told, it is a whole lot less stressful for me to get to school during the day now

Truth be told, I had a great time.  I love books and I love reading to and with children,  I could paraphrase Gillian Strickland in saying, "I may have tons of toys and experiences galore. But blessed am I to have a story read to me. 

If you are "local" and need someone to be a Royal Reader, I can to the job!  I even have references. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

A Good Day, In Spite of it All

I had a wonderful, early morning swim in a heated pool,
Making me feel like an old. Olympic swimmer,
In the rain, wind blowing, with the temp near 50.

I made it to my destination with a few minutes to spare,
Played rolling catch and snuggled a wee one,
Even though my tire found a 5 inch nail in the road,

I supported and hopefully inspired some of "my" teachers
With discussion, books, coffee cards,
Even though it was our last gathering.

I signed a contract for a wonderful new "job"
It's an honor to think I'm good enough,
Even though the scope scares the "bejezus" out of me!

I made my way slowly, but safely, home,
With a smile on my face,
In spite of the multi-car-rush-hour-fender-bender.

It was a good day,
With a fleet of guardian angels watching over me,
In spite of it all.

Monday, June 10, 2019

#sol2019 Help Me Help My Gardens

Long ago, someone who lived here, loved her gardens. I'm sure she gingerly planned, planted, pruned, weeded, watered, and watched her little gardens grow with pride. I can only imagine the $$$ she spent on her gardens and their upkeep.

Then, she moved away and other families moved in who were busy with commutes, work, children, chores, and life. For a long time, the lovely little gardens "maintained" themselves, sort of, with hardy bushes and persistent perennials filling the space and fighting for the right to some sunlight. The once lovely plantings became overgrown and many of them did not survive the overcrowding and canopying of the trees.

Then, I moved in and after a looking at the sad gardens and the string of dead cherry trees, I called in professionals to help me help my gardens! They arrived in a fleet of orange trucks and thanks to a bevy of people lifters, chain saws, power trimmers, like spider-men and a gigantic grinder, my yard was transformed into a brighter, lighter place where plants and flowers have the potential to grow.

So, with the overgrowth gone, the tangle of weeds and the years of hidden leaves and undergrowth appeared showing me the gigantic task ahead; so, before they were done, I ordered a pair of heavy-duty work gloves that would be here in hours!

In the days to come, you know where you will find me whenever spare time comes my way. I have this sort of love/hate relationship with that someone, long ago, who loved her gardens. 

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

#sol19 In the Mist or In the Midst

As I edged my way into the pool in the early morning, I was mesmerized by the mist that rose from the water, suggesting it was much warmer than the air above. It rose in streamers, slowly, as if there was something magical in the pool that wanted to escape, yet, wanted to be noticed on its way out!  The air was clearly late spring and most sane people had a sweatshirt or a jacket on to ward off the early morning chill.

As I edged my way into the pool in the early morning, my mind wandered to my new  project teaching in a new way to a new audience in a new medium.  I'm in the midst of planning and much like the pool on that late spring morning, I find ideas rising, in streamers, slowly, wanting to escape as I am driving, as I am walking, and even as I am swimming!

As I swam in the water that was much warmer than the air at 6 AM, I thought this scene might be a metaphor for my life right now. It's much easier to move through the warm water than it will be to emerge into the cold morning air.  It's much safer in the planning stages than it will be when I emerge for production.  I'm indeed in the midst of many new things and the coincidence of the mist in the midst of it all was a bit uncanny!