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A working professional and part-time writer, full-time Mom and modern day Alice in Wonderland...

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The Patience of Teachers and Toothful Pursuits

Yesterday, my daughter lost the last remaining front tooth during lunch. She could barely contain herself as she waited for me to sign her out at pick up. She grinned, showing off the large pink gap in the front of her small mouth. We had been at the dentist that very morning, where she had soldiered through those uncomfortable bite wing xrays that always make me gag. The dentist had pronounced her as "transitioning to her adult mouth" and I could actually see my daughter beaming with pride. I felt slightly saddened recalling all those teething adventures and her perfectly tiny white toddler teeth. Last night she wrapped her tooth up in paper and ribbon and handed it over to me without ceremony. She was thinking only about the impending visit from the tooth fairy.

The stages pass so quickly now. For my daughter, every day is about mastering something new or breaking through one milestone after another. I mark those same passages always with some degree of grief, knowing we two shall never pass this way again. Motherhood is wonderful and achingly beautiful and also bittersweet.

"Blog City ~ Every Blogger's Paradise"
Day 926 September 20, 2016
Prompt: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow liked the month of September. Does any part of the year feel more inspiring to you for your writing?

In my part of the world, September marks a month of pronounced beginnings and endings. Some years the summer seems to come to an abrupt halt where suddenly, despite the continuation of boating season, the sea suddenly turns too cold for anything other than basking in the ocean shallows near the shore. New Englanders will often keep their boats in well after the coastline erupts in colors of Autumn but summer clearly ends when most children retire swimsuits and swimmies and began donning uniforms and crisp new school clothes. September marks the beginning of the school year and children file into bright, brick yellow buses as the landscape transforms around them.

I love the Fall, and September remains one of my favorite months even though it has been marked by loss in my life. I feel promise in that new chill at night and that first expectant harvest moon. I find that I feel the tug of my craft more acutely at this time of year. It is like the coming Autumn fires me in some way, setting off nerve connections that have been driven dormant by the summer's distraction. The world around me shakes off the humidity and heat and begins to ripen in a way that makes me feel peaceful and focused.

"Blogging Circle of Friends "
DAY 1406 September 20, 2016
" Patience is a necessary ingredient of genius."~ Benjamin Disraeli Do you agree or disagree? Who is the most patient person in your life? How do they accomplish it?

I am not patient in most matters that require it. It is a life skill I have yet to even apprentice in. I marvel at people who display patience, who have that virtue ingrained into their natures. I envy them. I think teachers are some of the most patience people in the world. Children of all ages can be challenging and most of our teachers are managing classrooms that are far too large. They are charged with not only our student's academic progress but a lot of their social achievements and advancements. In many cases, they are the first line of defense against cruelty, fear, insecurity and social isolation. They keep our children safe, encourage good habits and behavior and work to keep them all on the path to becoming sensible, upstanding adults. They need patience in truckloads. Their profession is one of the last truly noble vocations left.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Monday Deluge and The Miracle of Thought

Monday morning brought a cold, crushing deluge just as I reached the door of my daughter's school. We rushed inside but not before we were both sopping wet. Before I had a chance to lament my own poorly chosen footwear, my daughter announced that her shopkins slipons were soaked through to her socks. No matter that the rain came as unfortunately and as untimely as possible, I was still a lousy parent because I failed to have a spare pair of shoes or even socks in my car. Feeling miserable inside and out now, I walked her down to her classroom trailing thin ribbons of water from our dilapidated ladybug umbrella. Despite being soggy, Jaden's mood had improved now that her dentist appointment was behind her. She hurried off to her desk, but not before circling back for another hug and kiss. This kid always seems to know when I can use seconds on affection. I rushed back out to the car, hoping my seat warmers would at least partially dry out the back of my dress on the short ride to the office. This dark, horrible morning has been the rancid icing on my suck cake today.

"Blog City ~ Every Blogger's Paradise"
Day 925 September 19, 2016
Prompt: “Miracles are thoughts. Thoughts can represent the lower or bodily level of experience or the higher or spiritual level of experience. One makes the physical, and the other creates the spiritual.” The Course of Miracles. What are your views on thoughts being miracles?

I almost want to skip this prompt and would have if I hadn't committed to get back into the swing of things this week. It seems entirely too ethereal for a wet and miserable morning. My brain feels fuzzy as I read and re-read the prompt, like I can't connect two coherent thoughts. This morning my thoughts definitely do not feel like miracles. They feels like lead weights being pushed around in my brain, sluggish and labored. "Miracles are thoughts"...maybe. Sometimes? It depends. I have never considered myself very philosophical. It is hard for me to connect my daily barrage of thoughts to a "higher, spiritual level of experience". I feel like my thoughts come in a continuous stream, even when I am writing. I "see" the thoughts more than feel them. I'm not sure I know how to think other than in a lower or bodily level.

"Blogging Circle of Friends "
DAY 1405 September 19, 2016
Prompt: Use the following words for inspiration: spirit, dust, paradise, phoenix, cage, fruiting, love

Callie checked her watch. She still had over an hour until her meeting. As she had feared, she had arrived to early and now she was forced to bear the anxiety as she passed time in the narrow, urine colored waiting room. She caught the eye of an elderly man, scoping her out over the top of his magazine. Callie tried not to wither under his assessing gaze. She tried not to let the scrutiny turn the well worn wheels of doubt in her mind. There was no reason to assume he didn't see her as what she now was, an attractive middle aged women waiting to see her dentist. physician.

Callie smiled at the man. He quickly dropped his gaze back to magazine. He was reading one of those glossy travel rags. There was a photo of some tropical destination on the cover, some remote paradise far from the dust and grime of the urban Midwest. She suddenly longed to be anywhere else than here, with this man and what he may or may not be seeing in her. She felt the familiar rush of panic, the cage of her insecurity rattling around her. Callie closed her eyes. She began to recite her mantra silently inside her head. She was a fire spirit, a phoenix, beautiful and strong. After a few moments, she opened her eyes. The man was staring again.

She had lived her entire life under the judgmental eyes of others. She had been abandoned, bullied, threatened and marginalized. After the surgeries, she had thought it would easier. She had spent hours in the mirror, looking for flaws but the truth was that she was lovely and feminine in every way. She had found immeasurable happiness in her reflection now that it matched what had been inside her since birth. As she learned about how to flatter and highlight her features, she felt the wonderful fruiting in her soul. Callie had expected that love would see her through the rest of the way, love and her mantra. She wondered, feeling herself shrink under the man's rude stare, if she had been foolish.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Looking Back

"Blog City ~ Every Blogger's Paradise"
DAY 908 September 2, 2016
16 is the hot topic for WDC. Let's talk about the number...where were you, 16 minutes, 16 hours ago, 16 days ago, 16 months ago, 16 years ago? Are there any similarities?

Where was I back...16 minutes ago?

It would have been just before 8am this morning. I was standing in the first and second grade wing of my daughter's school talking with her new first grade teacher about her first day. I was feeling positive and happy, proud of my little girl and fully engaged with her new and exciting journey.

Where was I back...16 hours ago?

I was sleeping, only to have woken up just after 1am for the third or fourth night in a row. I loathe this trend. It leaves me feeling drained in the morning, robbed of something essential I really need to make the most out of my day.

Where was I back 16 days ago?

My daughter and I have established a yearly tradition of taking a trip to Southwick Zoo each year. Sixteen days ago we were feeding baby pygmy goats and shy deer, smacking up ice cream and riding the zoo train through the beautiful elk forest. It is a fun day where we get to just be together, experiencing one of our favorite places. I loved watching her feeding the deer, her hand timidly outstretched toward graceful animals who were just as timid and shy around her. We rode the skyline together, watching the animals moving below our hanging toes. The ride is basically modeled on a ski lift chair ride, molded to fit the terrain of the little zoo. She liked the way it suddenly would speed up as it banked around a turn or appeared to narrowly miss the tree tops as it climbed up. For one harrowing moment, we stalled over the alligator pit and she giggled and pointed to large green beast waiting below our dangling legs. We ate our lunch all the while dogging chip-stealing sparrows and overly curious wandering peacocks. It was a nice day.

Where was I back 16 months ago?

It gets harder to recall where I was on any specific day but sixteen months ago, we would have been in the beginning of May. That would have marked the last full month of kindergarten for my daughter. It had been a remarkable year with a new school, a new uniform, a new routine. She had done very well in her subjects as well as socially. She had made wonderful new friends and she had developed a love of academics, math in particular. The year was rapidly coming to an end on us and we were all looking forward to summer.

Where was I back 16 years ago?

Sixteen years ago I would have been in my mid-20's. It is so difficult for me to think back to who and what I was then. I had moved back from from college, which had been one of the most defining times in my life to date. I had been through a personally traumatic experience that I had gone through without the knowledge of my friends or my family. I think I was still struggling with the aftermath. I was involved in an unhealthy relationship that had escalated to the level of abusive and I was dealing with the fear and shame of where my life was heading. It would be several more years before I pulled myself from that wreckage. I'm glad to look back over the time leap above and find myself a wholly different person today than I was all those years ago.

"Blogging Circle of Friends "
16 is the hot topic for WDC. Let's talk about your AHA moment when you were 16, 32, 48, or 64? Were there any parallels that come to mind? Inquiring minds want to know.

It is odd to spend so much time focused on looking back this morning, particularly when I am so preoccupied with how quickly time is moving forward as evidenced by my daughter already starting the first grade. I feel that I can't possibly have a six year old already. How could she have grown so much just this summer alone?

I'm not yet 48, and 64 seems light years away to me today. I'm certain there will be many AHA moments as I stumbled my way to and through those particular milestones. Today though, I can look back to age 16 and 32 with some clarity.

Looking back to age sixteen, I see now that I was living a bit dangerously ahead of my years. I was smart about it but I was mixing with things that I should have had no business with at that age. I can see now that I was taxing the limits of my maturity with my boyfriend but also exposing myself to emotions and experiences I would have been better holding off a year or two. The 16 year old me was so egocentric about life. I could only see the world on one level, I wasn't very good at reading the messages around me, heading the warnings. I was a little slow on the uptake. As a result, I found myself in situations that were potentially harmful. If I had to pick one AHA moment it would have to be that I often underestimated my ability to affect others by my behavior and while it could have ended badly, thankfully it did not. I told myself I was mature enough to handle things but looking back now, I see how dangerous that attitude could have been. Luckily my boyfriend was a good person, a kind person. He blew the whistle on a situation I could not clearly see for myself.

My early thirties seemed a lot like one long, dark AHA moment. At 32 I felt like I was just surfacing from a shit storm of trauma and grief. I was just starting to consider the possibilities that life could be more than loss and broken promises. I knew I was a survivor but I feared I was also a loner and I would have to make peace with that. I was trying to have faith. I was rebuilding my solitary life and finding strength in reclaiming my home and my path. I was dating, but not seriously. I was filling my needs in the ways that seemed safest for me at the time and looking for love hadn't seemed safe or realistic. Then, somewhat reluctantly, I went on a date with someone I had already deemed was "so not my type". At my grandmother's urging, I drove to the local car park to meet him, completely devoid of expectations. What followed would prove to be the best date of my life. That date would lead to our marriage two years later. My AHA moment at age 32 was realizing that sometimes you can only really be open to finding love when you stop looking for it. Most importantly, despite everything I had gone through I always kept hope alive in my heart and my life today feels very much like the reward for never having allowed myself to lose faith in that hope.