Tuesday, May 26, 2020

#sol20 Do or Don't

"Don't go past this line," I heard myself say as one of my little friends rode his 12 inch bike like he was training for the NASCAR circuit. As the words hung in the air, he continued past the line looking towards me to see my reaction and I heard Peter Johnston reminding me to rephrase my comments in a positive direction. He did stop after a second, louder, strong reminder, but I was left reflecting on my own (and others) choice of words.

I overheard an exhausted mom and dad on a family on an evening bike ride with three young riders.
"Don't ride so fast around the corner."
"Don't go in the road."
I heard an exhausted mom and dad trying to keep their kids safe as they played.
"Don't go there."
"Don't put your feet down."

I remind my students ALL THE TIME that our words matter.  Our words are perhaps our most powerful tool for ensuring the kinds of behaviors we want and for preventing behaviors we do not want.  Yet, perhaps because we are all stressed from the uncertainty of our lives right now and exhausted from trying to stay home, to socially distance, to pay bills, and to be safe, we (that includes me) all need to remember OUR WORDS MATTER. 

So, "Ride up the the stop and turn yourself around."
"You are doing a great job staying in the middle of the sidewalk."
"Pick those feet up so you can go faster." 

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

#sol20 Memories of Barbie!

"What's in that box?" my little friend asked as we cleaned the garage.

"This was my Barbie case  when I was little, but I think the Barbies are your Mom's," I said remembering my original Barbie with the black and white striped suit and most anything of interest in modern times had been taken by my niece long, long ago.

I opened the box cautiously not sure if I would find...something requiring me to put the whole box in the garbage. But, the inside was as it was left when some little cousins played with the Barbie remnants long after my little girl, had abandoned them. Truth be told, my daughter (and I) were really not "into" Barbies and usually played with them when others were visiting.  I guess you could say we were "social" Barbie girls!

Back in the house, I got rid of a Barbie with a broken neck and cleaned others while my little friend excitedly explored the old dolls and new to her outfits. On a rainy afternoon after months of quarantining, Barbie put a smile of my little friend's face.

While I've never been a big Barbie fan, the memories of styles from Barbie's early days (ugh) along with the prices of outfits ($1.50-3.00) that somehow survived intact for decades put a smile on my face as well. Perhaps I should rethink the timeless and ageless Barbie?

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

#sol20 WITH Others

While I was trying to envision how to make this emotionally laden holiday the best it could be, a daughter, not too far away was already driving more than an hour in order to drop off a card and note telling her Mother how much she was loved.  In an effort to keep her parents safe, she left the note before they awoke and drove silently, more than an hour, back to her home. I think this is what love is all about. I'm inspired by this story.

While I was walking my quiet neighborhood streets, a daughter was having a virtual tea party, on fine china, with her mother and her preschool boys.  Real tea, real talk, real love, I suspect were part of that interaction that merged spaces and Facetime.  I'm grateful for technology.

While I was picking up sticks in the yard, a neighbor sat on her stoop while her daughter sat 10 feet away.  They laughed, talked, laughed and talked some more as the sun basked them in a reminder of the promise of family and love to conquer all.  I appreciate the image that love empowers problem solving,

While I reflected, I remembered those who had recently lost Mothers, children, or others without even the comfort of family and friends.  I remembered the pain of want and loss this holiday brings for all those wanted motherhood and all those mourning, forever, the loss of children and mothers. Social media helps some and reaching out, virtually, helps others. I am sure this year's "quarantine" and social isolation has added to the underlying stress and anxiety.  

While I am trying to keep me, my friends, and my loved ones safe, I pray WE will be remembering and supporting and comforting and empowering and celebrating WITH others next year!

Monday, May 4, 2020

#sol20 Silent, Essential, Worker-Support

"Do you have the kids today?" my neighbor yelled from her yard.  Without waiting for an answer, she continued, "You should be sitting with your feet up this morning! after running up and down the driveway all week!"

I shared that my little ones were with their parents and asked, "How are you doing?" from a socially-ultra-appropriate distance.

"I'm OK," she replied,"but trying to get as much done as I can this weekend as I will have 3 grandchildren move in full time next week.  They haven't seen their dad in weeks and now their mom will also be quarantined from them because of her work at the hospital."

Perhaps I wasn't fully appreciating the gravity of the statement as the warm sunshine filled my soul on my "day off," but I foolishly asked, "For how long"?

"For as long as I can foresee," she sighed one of those sighs that comes from the toes. Then, quickly easing the tension we both felt. she continued, "One big concern is the computer. I am not  good at this Zooming classroom."

"I am guessing the older kids can help, but I can too," I offered confidently. "I can do Zoom! I can also get you a list of music you tube sites and other resources for the littlest one."

"I had not ever expected to need to do this," she said softly, "but the hardest part is the kids not seeing their parents and me not seeing the other grandchildren for the foreseeable future. Plus, in the fall...what happens?"

"I'm with you praying for a vaccine or a cure," I added sincerely.

Note: I've been totally quarantining and watching some of my grandchildren
while their parents work as this pandemic has closed daycare centers
as well as schools.  My grandchildren can, luckily, go home to their parents
at night. There are many grandparents and caregivers who can foresee no end
 in sight.  Here is a shout out to all those who have "come out"
of retirement or who are working "second shift", to help during this pandemic.  
Silent, essential worker-support.

Friday, May 1, 2020


I look at the weather, noticing,
Not only what is happening here,
But also, what it's like up there,
So far away.

Some days,
I think about sharing the joys and challenges
Not only the adorable things
But also, Zoom chats, Duo calls
That connect us.

Some people,
Told me this would get easier,
Not only would I grow to accept the loss,
We would grow to understand,
Time would help. 

We are still struggling,
We are seeking peace,
We are reminded
Hold tight to
Family, friends,