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.
I used to re-write all my notes to study for Social Studies tests Margie and I would sit and eat Pizza Hut pizza in her den and quiz each other I failed Latin though, basically, in 9th grade – Maybe it was a D. My teacher paused at my desk and quietly suggested I try Spanish the next year I loved Spanish
I used to play the piano really fast for recitals I was up on a stage and I guess I just zoomed through I loved the way the keys felt, but it was hard to make the time to practice I quit in eleventh grade and focused on my acting I loved acting
I used to decorate my bedroom door with intense messages Animal Rights, Women’s Rights, Quotes and sarcasm too I was the president of the Animal Rights Club in High School, or maybe co-president We met in the art teacher’s room and hung signs in the hallway I loved activism
I used to… I spoke Spanish I played the piano I performed plays I marched for causes
I use Carmex now. I say now – even though I just got it from Target yesterday I say Target – even though I didn’t go into Target, I just pulled up to the drive up spot so they could load my bags in I say my bags – even though it was just one bag: Carmex, tea, washer wash I say Carmex, tea, washer wash – even though there was also a bag of vegan chocolate covered coconut
My point is, I use Carmex now and even though I think you used the original and mine is strawberry well, the pack came with cherry and mint too, but my current open Carmex is strawberry even though mine might be a little different every time I use it, I think of you and your Carmex and how it seemed like it was always just there, almost unnoticeable, but there like on your van console like on your classroom desk like in your pocket once I think you dropped it in the parking lot and then found it at the end of the day or the next day or something and I remember asking you if you were sure it was yours?
Memories are weird but I use Carmex now because my lips have been so dry the last time I saw you, I think there was a Carmex on your night stand I can’t be sure, but I think it was there, almost unnoticeable, but there next to the glass of water with the straw and you were thirsty and I gave you sips of your water and we said I love you and you said you were so glad I stopped by and I was glad to stop by
I was working after school when the neighbor texted to make sure I knew that one of my kids had started a fire pit — in the driveway.
This is confusing because we don’t have a fire pit in the driveway.
In my mind, I was remembering the science experiment about 5 years ago, where our driveway looked like a scene from a miniature dystopian book.
So when I went outside, I was surprised it was an actual fire pit. In the middle of the driveway. Being fueled, of course by old firewood and hand sanitizer.
“Oh my.” I said. I was pretty calm, even though my 8th grader knows better.
I reminded him of the rules about fire. Namely that you don’t make one without permission and that the only fire pit you use is the actual fire pit in our backyard.
“It’s a really great fire!” the kindergarten neighbor from up the street said.
Our next door neighbor kids came back out for a quick fire check, bringing along some fire starters in case they were needed. One of them sat in a camp chair even though it was her dinner time. I have a feeling if I had started singing some campfire songs, we could have started something… But they were called in and it was time to get rid of the fire.
I told my boys that it was a well made, very cute fire – but still… It had to go out.
“Ahhhhh…. But first!” I said. “Do you know what month it is?” I looked right at my 14 year old, who has done the classroom slice of life challenge before. I raised my eyebrows a few times.
“Oh no!” he said, and he tried to stop me from taking a picture.
“No, no, no, no…” he said with a squinty look.
“Your only saving grace is that I can slice about this.” I said.
He looked at me with puppy dog eyes.
But, rules are rules. Some parents discipline with restrictions, groundings, and other assorted forms of punishment.
I just write it down.
“You’re going to take a picture of this little fire?” my kindergarten neighbor asked me.
“Yep!” I said, “and then I’m going to write a story about it and publish it! It will be famous!”
“But it’s just a little fire!” he said, surprised.
A little fire, a little slice, I guess. If you build a mini fire pit in the driveway without parent permission in March? I’m going to write about it.
So, I hope that serves as a fair warning to the next person who wants to build a fire pit in my driveway.
My daughter can drive now. Like all by herself. On the roads YOU drive on
I think you know where this is going.
She was a baby who stretched her arms with her elbows bent She wore sleepers and sleep sacks and slept in my arms for most of her babyhood She was a toddler who called grapes “erdeps” and loved mud puddles She watched Elmo over and over and changed her clothes 5 times a day in preschool – always with a turn in the snow white dress
This was just yesterday, friends And tomorrow she will be off to college
Metaphorically tomorrow – Geez – I have more time than that.
So I have a request For every other driver
That. Means. YOU.
It’s simple really.
Get off the road if you can I mean do you really need to drive? And if you must drive, do it safely Obviously don’t drink or text or try to put your mascara on Be safe and kind or stay home.