I blew my hair dry this morning using my mom’s hair dryer I find blowing my hair so boring It takes forever So I thought – Because thinking – Well Over-thinking Is one of my super powers
I thought about how my mom used to blow my hair dry for me I thought about how when my hair is short it takes so much less time to blow dry I wondered why my hair looks so good when the hair stylist blows it dry I wondered how anyone ever has time for this sort of thing every day I mean, why do I feel a need to blow dry my hair ever? Yes, it looks better, blonder Feels softer, smoother But like, so what?
My first year teaching I used to arrive to school with dripping wet hair (as if my mornings were so busy before I had kids) (what the heck was I doing with my time?) I would walk down the hallway, sometimes drying my soaking hair with school paper towels You do know school paper towels, right? Even slower to dry than a hair dryer My principal would give me a little side eye if she passed me She was a very proper woman I was a very young second-grade teacher I’m sure my dripping wet hair made her shudder
Deep in thought The hair dryer switched to a quieter sound It smelled even burnier than usual My hair was almost all dry But not quite My goal had been totally dry hair Laugh if you want, but this is a big goal for me But the smell got worse, and the sound got weirder So I had to turn it off
Have I ever told you how my memories are like blurs of pictures and sounds and feelings? I remember the same things over and over, but not too many things. Thank goodness for childhood friends who fill in the gaps. And even then the memories aren’t crisp enough for actual articulation. But even a slice of a memory makes me feel like I’ve caught it.
Have I ever told you about the boy in preschool who dumped a cup of water on me – on my pretty new white sweater with flowers? We were at the water table, and I was so mad when it happened. I don’t remember why I thought water on a sweater was the worst thing in the world, but it was. It really was.
Have I ever told you about how my friends and I were so obsessed with robbers, that we made robber stew in potholes after it rained. Our imaginations were so powerful that we thought, for sure, a robber would be so hungry on the prowl that they would definitely eat the stew we made with the poisonous berries, twigs, mud and stones. We even wrapped the rope swing around the swingset, making sure we would confuse the robbers if they tried anything with that swingset. Did we think they were going to steal it or maybe play on it? I don’t know. It’s fuzzy.
Have I ever told you about how my friend and I would stare out the window into the dark during a sleepover? We would convince ourselves that there were robbers out there. Robbers! The scariest thing ever when I was 7. My mom would come in and sigh, “You are scaring yourselves!” and threaten to separate us for the rest of the sleepover if we continued. Separating from my best friend – even scarier than robbers. We stepped away from the dark window, and held hands until we fell asleep.
Have I ever told you about how one day I heard my mom and dad whispering. They told me to go back in my room. I couldn’t hear them at all, but I could tell they were making a plan. Some sort of surprise. When they called me back out, I said “Are we going miniature golfing?” and they were so confused – how did I know the plan?
Have I ever told you about the day that we were having a big picnic and my best friend and her family and the German family they had staying with then were there. The four of us, all around 8 or 9, I think, we went in to dress up, including stuffing rolls of socks in our shirts. All was fun and games until we emerged back outside, lumpy fake breasts sticking out. Embarrassing. Oh, I remember the embarrassment. (Somewhere there is a picture of us, and if I had it, I’d share it, because now it is only hilarious.)
Have I ever told you about going across country when I was 10? We stopped at a Mexican restaurant and I ordered chicken enchiladas. They weren’t bad, but they weren’t good. I sat there looking at my plate wondering why I was eating chicken. We didn’t eat much meat, but still. I made the real connection at that table. “This chicken was once walking around as a chicken.” I said, or thought, who knows – the memory is blurry. And I decided then and there to be a vegetarian.
Have I ever told you that later when we drove back from Mexico, I leaned on the dozen or more Mexican blankets my mom had bought. I rested in the backseat and read Archie comics maybe the whole way. An early vegetarian, before carsickness got ahold of me, reading instead of looking out the window at the glorious landscape. How odd.
Memories are strange things, how they blur and fuzz and repeat. I’m trying to live in the present though, after all – the present is when all those memories happened, right?
H wanted to wake up early and start the day with a walk I was proud of myself for going to bed before 11:30
I was up at 4:00 Downstairs making coffee, tired of trying to fall back to sleep by 5:00 Resting on the couch with the cats when H came down at 6:00 Falling asleep with a mug of coffee in my hands by 6:15 Finally out the door for a walk at 6:30 The dog was happy, but also confused He likes his mornings slow
Pink sunrise Crisp spring air Birds chirping “So good to start the day with movement” “We should do this more often”
There are neighbors running up the hill by our house Then down the hill Then up the hill
“That will be us one day” I say, as we shuffle towards them “We start with a morning walk, but one day we’ll be running up the hill”
I’m drinking my coffee still And hoping nobody notices I’m still in my pajamas
The neighbors stop at the bottom of the hill one by one to do push ups “Should we sing to them?” I ask my 14 year old You’re my inspiration . . .
But then the last man gets down in the middle of the street for his push ups “That’s called testosterone,” I say “There’s no reason on God’s green earth that you need to do push ups in the middle of the street”
We’re home now For more coffee It was a short walk Pushups not included But it was a good way to start the day – crisp
and even though today each word and thought was interrupted Like even these words, friends. Even these thoughts- Interrupted by people I love needing me calling my name, “Mama” telling me things, asking me things, fighting in the other room…
I did it. Even today.
7 Marches, now 8 Marches.
March 2014 March 2015 March 2016 March2017 March 2018 March 2019 March 2020
And this year I finally convinced a group of teachers to write with me. I’m so proud of them! Some wrote a handful of times, others wrote each of the 31 days. Some are “my teachers” I coach Some are teachers across town One’s a librarian One’s an intern One’s a principal All of us are Writers!
And my coach heart and my writing heart and my teacher heart are so very very proud.
I’ve run out of ways to express the metaphors for the things I can’t tell you
Someone spilled chocolate ice cream on the tablecloth yesterday The tablecloths is one of those pretty ones from Home Goods It has birds and flowers, lavender and periwinkle and the perfect spring green And now it has a splotch of chocolate ice cream I’m writing this while staring at that splotch Listen, it was an accident An overzealous lover of vegan ice cream tipped a little out of his bowl And I think that it will wash out with a little bit of the right detergent I mean, it might not be exactly stain-free, but it would be splotch free It would be good, the stain would tell a story like tablecloth stains do That splotch doesn’t have to stay there, rotting the tablecloth But first I’d have to stop writing Clear the table And decide to put the tablecloth in the f#$%^N washing machine
I’ve run out of ways to express the metaphors for the things I can’t tell you
I’m trying to put myself first, or at least as one of many top priorities. You’d think this would be easy work, but alas, it is not. One thing I’m working on is my mindfulness and meditation practice. I am not a natural at this.
Last night while L was out and the boys were busy with a minecraft build, I downloaded a new meditation app to try: A free trial of special mindscapes. You have to listen with earbuds or headphones because it’s 3D sound. I settled into a nook in the couch, put my airpods in and started.
I looked at my clock and realized my newly licensed daughter hadn’t contacted me for over 2 hours. And I had forgotten to give her a curfew even. I don’t know what kind of mom just doesn’t even think to give her 17 year old a time to come home, but I just didn’t. There’s one rule that I did remind her of though – you have to text when you arrive somewhere, and text when you leave somewhere. (Thanks, Mardi for this rule idea.) She hadn’t called or texted since letting me know she had “arrived on the mountain.” It’s a hard rule to remember, I think. But, we can do hard things. Right?
So I paused the meditation after it told me I’d need 20 minutes of distraction free time. I texted L, I called her, I left a message. Mr. Thought did the same. Even though I knew that it was most likely that she had forgotten to text when she left, and her phone was dutifully put away in her bag and she was driving. . . I can jump from mindfulness to full blown worry pretty quickly. (This is why I need the app, friends)
Finally (and by finally I mean less than 10 minutes later) she called to tell me that she was on her way home, and that she hadn’t seen my texts or calls because her phone was dutifully put away in her bag and she was driving.
I started the introduction meditation again, but realized that it would totally freak me out to be jolted out of meditation when she arrived home and the dog started barking. So, I paused it again.
She got home, the boys came upstairs, I sent them all up to get ready for bed.
“I’ll be up soon, after I do this meditation,” I told them. “Please don’t yell for me.” I was feeling pretty desperate for mindfulness.
I settled into another nook of the couch, with my airpods in – noise cancelation on and started the meditation for a third time.
It’s a neat app, but the voice at first sounds a little freaky in a dystopian-robot-mind-control sort of way. So I texted Mr. Thought to warn him not to startle me because it will freak me out. I laughed at myself for not trusting the meditation app, for letting the mindfulness app freak me out, and I started to settle in. I reminded myself I was safe, in my house and had taken care of things that would startle me. I started to relax into the soundscape.
Then I felt a hand on my shoulder.
That’s not a hand I told my brain. It is a cat, here to snuggle.
Then I opened my eyes and it was a hand.
I startled, friends. I may have jumped a bit.
It was E. My 11 year old thought I was sleeping and gently put his hand on my shoulder so that he wouldn’t startle me. But I wasn’t sleeping, and I did startle. Of course he felt terrible, and I told him it was okay, while taking some deep breaths to calm myself down.
I laughed to myself about my attempts at mindfulness and invited him to sit next to me. He snuggled in, I finished my meditation session, and he fell asleep.
I guess that’s why they call it a meditation practice. Because, I for one, still need a lot of practice.
I’ve brought my laptop to the deck. My laptop, my to do list and my dog. The birds are chirping and there’s just a hint of green – Not really in my backyard that is basically a yard of mud and sticks and moss and trees. But out there, somewhere, there is green.
“Did you notice how suddenly the grass is green?” H asked me this morning. And I looked at the front yard and that is when I noticed.
“I love hearing the birds chirping through the phone” my friends said to me this morning. And I listened and that is when I noticed.
Now I’m sitting on my deck, with my laptop and my dog. I’m thinking about my to do list. I really have a lot of work to do, no joke. And I love the work that I have to do, no joke.
But did I mention that the birds are chirping and calling? Did you know my dog is snoozing in the sun? I can hear kids playing a few yards away.
This must be how procrastination starts. I feel like I’ve paused time for a moment to examine it – that moment of decision: Work or sit back and listen to the birds, maybe read a book? I still don’t know what I’ll decide. Maybe make a cup of tea. Should I go inside and get my notebook, or to the garage to get my favorite deck chair?
I haven’t even mentioned the laundry that is waiting for me inside.