Month: May 2013

Memorials

This morning Kids 3 and 4 sang at a Memorial Day program in our town. Kid 3 had a solo, and despite her pretty nasty cold, she rocked it. The program was lovely, with Service Veteran speakers and good music. You know when they play the “theme songs” of each military branch and the veterans from that branch stand up, and we sing along and I cry? That happened today. And right after that, there was this totally awesome and pretty cheesy flashmob thing of “Proud to be an American” which, remarkably, also made me cry. Possibly because I have that particular string which, when pulled by that particular song, always makes me cry.

I tried to remember the best stories to tell my kids about their grandpas who served in the military. They remember Grandpa Wright’s 21 gun funeral salute. Uncle Jim (my great uncle) was a pilot in WWII, and he had an awesome flag tattoo on his arm that he always let me inspect. Aunt Ruth, his knockout blonde wife, was a nurse and worked with the USO and wore a red dress and stole his heart. Grandpa Billy (Husband’s paternal) did a Pacific tour, about ten minutes after he got married. He came home and met his son. Fertility, it seems, runs in families. Grandpa Bolton (Husband’s maternal) was in Hawaii during Pearl. During his Pacific tour, he sent his petite wife coded messages where predetermined “relative’s” names corresponded with locations he couldn’t mention in plain language. My daddy served as a chaplain / colonel here and there much of my life — mostly here, but for a year of my babyhood in Korea (after the Korea conflict, because, hi, we’re not that old). When we go anywhere remotely military in nature, people salute him. It’s proud-making.

What did you have cause to remember today?

 

Your MOM Goes to College?

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. [1] I am eager. I am excited. I am unlicensed.

Um. Yeah.

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.

—–

[1] 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.

Of Hairballs and Grass Clippings

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.

Unexpected Sunshine

The days the digital weatherman tells me are going to be full of rain and thunder and lightning…
I kind of look forward to those days.

Sometimes I hunker.
I stay inside, wear sweats, bake yeasty things.

Or I go out, not particularly fussed about my hair,
Because we all know what’s going to happen to the hair when the weather starts weathering.

Or I plow ahead,
Making it to my appointments on time,
Arriving with a smile,
Remembering all the things I’m supposed to remember,
And what do you know?
The clouds part. The light breaks through and lays down perfect tracks of gold across the floor, the lawn, the road.
The sun shines and heats up the soggy ground and releases the springy smell of damp earth.

 

The surprise of it, the gift
Makes the day seem brighter even when the
Thunder rolls back across the mountains.

Showing Up

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.