It’s happening. Again.
I got a job. (A real one.) (Slightly more real than subbing every day.)
I. Will. Be. Teaching 10th grade English at my Kids’ high school.  I am eager. I am excited. I am unlicensed.
So Utah has this program where I can earn my license while I teach. Which means, apparently, that I’m going back to college. Sort of. And I’m glad. I am ready to learn all the things. I want to know all the secrets to being a great teacher. And I’m confident that I can do a great job even before I know all the knowables. I get to teach “Lord of the Flies” and “To Kill a Mockingbird.” I get to teach essays and poetry. I get to teach sophomores. I love sophomores. Also, half my classes will be Honors, which means twice as many novels and twice as much sassiness. I am so excited, so eager. Also, a classroom! For my own! I will be calling someone to come make it cute, because as we all know, decorating is NOT my forte. And the dear friend who is leaving that classroom is leaving me some of her materials… so YAY!
GO, English 10! Let’s do this thing.
 Do I even need to tell you how thrilled Kid 2 is that she’s already finished 10th grade English? She did a visible sigh of relief when I got my assignment. It’s bad enough, she didn’t say aloud, that you have to be in the building, but NO! Don’t teach me! However, she really wants me here, I’m sure of it, somewhere under there. Even if it’s only because her friends who are boys will come visit my classroom.
Sometimes the messes give me fits, the sticky notes folded up on themselves and tossed on a counter, the dried out half-leaf that stuck to someone’s shoe and now resides in the corner of the mudroom, the cup no one will claim that may live forever on the stage in the basement.
When I walk up the narrow carpeted stairway, I stare at the seams that never quite get clean, the seams full of tiny paper bits, lint and, inexplicably, hair. Do my beautiful daughters brush their lovely long hair while sitting on the poky stairs? I shake my head at the possibility. And then remind myself that it might just be the case.
Because we’re comfortable around here. If the brushing has to happen on the stairs, then it will happen. If the “plug in your phone in my room by 10:00″ rule happens to intersect with a night a kid is SO NOT TIRED, and she stays up laughing at funny quotes on Pinterest for another hour, in my room, while my eyes are stretching to stay open, I’ll be glad she’s there, in my room, on the floor next to the pile of her laundry which will probably stay there until it needs to be washed again.
The grass clippings that flutter in through the glass door and then blow through the kitchen show me that the kid mowed the lawn and then played soccer on it and then came inside to hug me before he ran back outside.
The messes are part of the life, and I really, really like the life.
I know it. We all know it.
You can have all the talent in the world, but if you don’t show up, don’t pick up the paintbrush or tie on the toe shoes or grab the baseball bat, your talent means nothing.
And you can have all the desire in the world, but if you don’t open the file, if you don’t sit down with the guitar, if you don’t dig the hole, your desire will never be more than a dream.
(“You” is me, if you were wondering.)
I have to recommit (like, daily and stuff) to showing up. I have to remind myself that even if I only write 300 words, they are 300 words that will add a (negligible) bit of story to my story. And I can celebrate when the 300 words turn into 1,000. And I will always see those people who can bust out a book in 2 weeks with a certain amount of jealousy, but when I really think about it, I have to be honest with myself: When would I ever, ever, EVER sit at a computer for 16 hours a day? I wouldn’t. That’s not me. And if that’s you, GREAT! I’m seriously proud of you. (And maybe a tiny bit jealous.) But I will teach some classes today. And I’ll laugh with some kids. And I’ll go out on a date with my husband. And I’ll eat dinner at a table. And I’ll take a walk. I’ll read a section of this great book I’m reading. I’ll answer emails. I’ll make some plans.
And I’ll write words.
It’s a piece, the writing. A piece of my life, of my work, of my world. A piece I care about and that I’m committed to. But it’s only a piece. And the other pieces matter. And the writing piece matters, too. So I’ll show up for all the parts, and I’ll make my life full. Round. Deep. The way I like it.
Not that trying on a dress is something all that unusual , but this thing happened to me when I did it this week.
see it at cabionline.com
Here’s the dress, above, photo courtesy of CAbi clothing. If you can’t see it, I’ll describe it to you in my high-fashion vocabulary : it was green, and silky-ish (some kind of poly-something, I assume); a collared/button-down shirt-dress with a waist tie AND IT LOOKED LIKE A DRESS MY MOM WOULD HAVE LOVED. Except for the green. My mom avoided the green/yellow things in life, because her liver had issues and green and yellow things made her look jaundiced. So she said. I never actually noticed. But I was sixteen when she died, so “I never actually noticed” could be my theme song.
Anyway, the dress looked awful on me. That sassy, confident, leggy, honey-maned model? Not me. At all. It was, in every particular, wrong. But I sort of loved it anyway, because it looked so Mom-ish (in the “my mom” definition, not the “mom jeans” definition). And I stood there, in front of a very large mirror, staring at me in this wrong dress that felt so very right in its ability to conjure. Memories. Feelings. Smells and sounds of that laugh that my kids wouldn’t recognize. The small sweet memories that I hold on my palm like a butterfly that may, any second, fly away — but the ME that is now, this ME is willing to enjoy the seconds the memory flutters there. Maybe that’s the definition of the way I’ve grown up: That I can enjoy the fleeting while it occurs, instead of dreading the moment that it will be gone.
image via greenjeane.blogspot.com, or so google tells me
 Kind of it is.
 Please stop that laughing.
I just read a lovely post by my virtual friend Annie (who writes lyrical and pointed prose and gives perfect recommendations on how to spend a couple of afternoons in New York City) about a podcast she recently listened to. Much loveliness there, but the thing that spoke to me most was this, in my non-poetic retelling: My GPS unit is a role model for me. She (my GPS is a lady) knows where she’s going and how she’d like to get there. But when I get it wrong, she doesn’t pitch a fit. She simply recalculates. (Is it only me, or does your GPS say “Recalculating” more often than anything else?) I would like to be like my GPS in the manner of patient, gentle recalculating. In the course of a day or a week or a month, there are ample (that’s me being gentle) occasions to recalculate when we get off course (usually when someone else is doing the driving), and how much happier would we all be if I were to simply say, in my elegant British accent, “Recalculating.”
Oh. You chose to sign up for that class? That wasn’t in my plan. Recalculating.
You’d like to play how many sports this summer? Recalculating.
The job I’d love is full time, not part time? Recalculating.
Wow. Look at your hair. Recalculating.
Did you just say those words in front of those people and expose me for all my idiocy and there’s no good place for me to hide? Recalculating.
My Plan is not The Plan? Recalculating.
(On a side note, months ago Husband and I were joking about what it would be like if I were to be the program voice of the GPS. It went something like this: “Get ready to turn left. Left. It’s the one to THE LEFT. Seriously? Did you not hear me? I said TURN LEFT. Why do you ask if you aren’t going to listen to me? Forget about it. Find you own way to the bowling alley. Sheesh.” *muttering* “Some people…”)
April wanes and life carries on. We watch The Incredibles on Sunday evening, eating Italian Popcorn and writing thank-you notes (which none of us are actually good at, but we try now and then). Kid 2 stretches her knee out of its brace, using my long-neglected exercise bands. We feel grateful for the things — for the safety, for the generosity, for the kindnesses from all over. We feel PROSPERED today. Do you feel it too?
I hope you do.
Prospering. It happens at the hands of a generous God, and it happens within the homes of grateful people. It means different things to different groups and in different situations, and sometimes we have the VERY same health and dollars and gladness and feel somehow less prospered. The prosperity isn’t changing. Only our willingness to find it so. I appreciate my ability to find it. And I feel the need, the urge, the responsibility to write it down when it happens. So I can look back at this moment and remember: Prosperity isn’t really about dollars. It’s about attitude and thankfulness.
And the things right here,
inside my tiny world.
When your heart is so full that it
How do you breathe? Where do you
put it all?