Wednesday, June 21, 2017
As my daughter neared the end of her 1st grade year, the pace of life left little time for much reflection. It seemed she was moving at breakneck speed through field trips, award ceremonies, piano practices and those last few events of the school year. Even as I saw the changes in her, I failed to take the time to document them when I should have...to take photos and to write the blog entries that would memorialize her journey for us both. I am usually better at such things, especially when so many more of the moments are fleeting and she leaves more and more of her childhood behind in the dust of her running feet.
The other morning, we had a few hours before we had to be anywhere. She was sleeping in my bed, having migrated there in the middle of the night as she so often still does. Her eyes were closed, the long lashes and lids masking eyes that had become uncommonly green this year. She had one leg thrown casually over the comforter and the sun was painting a pattern of light across her caramel-colored skin. She looked so peaceful, so uncommonly beautiful in repose. I grabbed my phone and snapped a picture just as she opened her eyes. She gave me her mona lisa smile and slipped back off to sleep. I watched her for a few more minutes, basking in the bittersweet knowledge that she could not stay 7 years old for even one moment longer than time would allow...no matter how completely wonderful age 7 is.
At age 7, Jaden has found her "silly". She breaks into a dance in the home depot aisle to make me laugh. She makes up comical songs in the back of the car and she makes funny faces...everywhere. She often talks in made-up accent, revealing glimpses of the strange and goofy language she has adopted with her friends at school.
Speaking of friends, she has forged friendships with kids that share her depth of wonder and her interest in the world around her. Her friends are sweet in nature, intelligent and caring. I'm amazed by her ability to find and bond with other boys and girls like her and proud beyond words at her circle of friends. I'm grateful that her choices have enabled us to meet theses children's like-minded, lovely parents.
At age 7, Jaden has grown into a leggy, active child who wears the summer sun like a second skin. She battles to stay outside as long as the day allows. She loves walks, helping her Dad in the yard and running...she is always in a state of movement these days. She likes to know what the plans for the day are but is just as comfortable staying home. Often if given a choice, she will choose to remain in, delighting in getting to spend long afternoons playing on the deck. She loves to read and draw but you can just as often find her perfecting American Ninja Warrior routines in her swing set.
She loves music, and though this has remained a constant, her tastes have become more refined. She is more choosy when I scan the stations in the car and will usually demand that I put on "phone music". She has become a big fan of Walk off the Earth, drawn to the musical proficiency and general rockstar coolness of the band's female frontliner. Her second ever piano recital revealed a concentration and poise she hadn't possessed last year. Though I watched her with my heart in the throat, she played with a newly minted grace and confidence that amazed us.
Age 7 has brought a spark of fresh attitude. She pushes every button sometimes and defiance flashes in her sea change eyes whenever I made demands she doesn't agree with. She is frequently obstinate but never truly disagreeable. She likes to get her own way but she's never one to make large scale requests. We battle but we are also quick to find compromise...so far. Jaden is still quick to kiss us without prompting, hold our hands, thrown her arms around us in photos and demand to sleep, cuddled between us at night.
Jaden is, at age 7, becoming uniquely Jaden...she is fresh, funny and full of life and love. Bugs and bees are terrifying but sharks are cool. Slime is awesome and bubbles are still all the rage. Candy necklaces are the best ever accessory and shorts are the preferred outfit of choice these days. At age 7, Jaden is uncommonly beautiful in every possible way.
Friday, June 2, 2017
"Blogging Circle of Friends "
DAY 1660 June 2, 2017
What's trending where you are?
Fear. Fear is trending in my little corner of the world.
I live in a blue state and if anything is trending most apparently here, it is the constant undercurrent of fear. Many of the people that live here are scared they will lose their healthcare, they are scared they will lose their hard-won rights. They are scared that this administration is making decisions based on winning another four years rather than unifying a broken and divided country. Even among those that supported Trump, there is a fear that he may not be all that they hoped and the motivations behind some of the recent decisions made may be less honorable, less transparent than his surrogates insist they are.
I have tried to remain politically independent - it is almost a job requirement as I work in an industry that is largely supported by conservatives. Yet, more and more I feel myself identifying with those in my community. I find it more and more difficult to try to accept the agenda of the administration or extend a measure of good faith to this White House and current President. I was admittedly never a Trump supporter but I tried to be hopeful. I tried to find a middle ground. I tried to have faith that as a nation, we could unify under our leadership. But, I am out of good faith. I am disappointed. I am unimpressed. I am fearful.
The President came here recently for a commencement address at the Coast Guard Academy. The protesters were there bright and early. My daughter craned her neck to peer at them as I drove her to school. Her school is adjacent to the CG campus so the streets where lined on both sides with people holding signs. It was early and things were calm. People were respectful. The police were drinking coffee and chatting with the groups on both sides. She and I talked about civil protest, we talked about democracy and freedom of speech. I told myself it was a good lesson and experience for her. I went to work, monitoring the event via NPR live streams and social media.
Then, I saw him, standing there proudly in the full white robes, the recognizable costume of the KKK. Seriously? Here? In this community there is such a person who feels embolden enough to be out here like this? And before you even say it, there were plenty of people in the "pink hats" I know...BUT historically, as far I as understand, no one wearing a "vagina hat" has ever been associated with the degenerate, violent, racial persecution and murderous acts perpetrated by the clan. Who are these people who live and exist among us? Who are these people that harbor these kinds of ideals in their hearts and who suddenly feel that this President and his administration has some how given them a pass to be the fear-inciting hate-mongers of their own dreams? Fear. I felt it that day, right down to my toes.
Suddenly, I wasn't sure sure this was such a great lesson for my daughter...my mixed faith, bi-cultural daughter. Suddenly, I was fearful for her.
A week later, I watched an intoxicated Trump supporter, and Connecticut resident, verbally attack a Muslim family on a beach in Texas. He proudly and repeatedly struck his chest saying "Trump is my fucking President", while he hurled hate speech at them and grabbed his crotch suggestively. This past week, a good Samaritan was stabbed to death after coming to the defense of Muslim women on a train who were being openly harassed.
What kind of world are we cultivating for our children? Where are the leaders working to unify us as Americans? Where is the President who will help heal our fractured masses?
Fear. I get it now. I have it now too.
"Blog City ~ Every Blogger's Paradise"
DAY 1176 June 2, 201
All of us have slumps and getting back on track varies drastically among us so let's toss ideas around on how to stay motivated with our writing. What works best for you?
My writing career is constantly hampered by the availability of free time. I have very little hours in a day that are not already allocated to mothering a growing daughter and pursuing a career. I live under pretty consistently thought bubble of "not enough hours in the day..sad face emoji". Motivation has never been an issue when you are compelled to do something, as I have always been to write. Truly successful writers, write. They find the time. They have the discipline. They make sacrifices in pursuit of their craft. They don't force their best work into life by executing compartmentalized writing sessions over their lunch hour a few times a week. I know this. I am largely at peace with that knowledge I suppose. It makes those random publication acceptances so surprising and sweet.
I know that trolling submission deadlines helps me sometimes, a proposed anthology theme might spark off a creative well. I use Duotrope.com to search accepting markets and calls for specific submissions. I try to keep a blog, write my assignments and keep plugging forward. Sometimes something grows from exercising my writing muscles no matter how mundane it seems at the time.
The best advice I have is to just write, whenever, however....just do it. Each time you do, you are giving yourself the opportunity to get better and to connect with what you are in your heart...a writer.