This is a simple poem – and not really about The New Year at all. But, it feels fitting and reminds us all, as we need it, to give thanks for what we have.
I do have to say, though, that the calendar I bought is designed for moms and comes with five thousand little stickers to use for various activities. My OCD is loving those fucking stickers!
I even has a plastic wall file thing just like the Real Simple people had. Only mine came from Staples and cost about 1/3 as much. Now I have a place to keep all those papers that come home from school reminding me about yet another fundraiser or that my kids will end up on the top of a bell tower if I don’t take the ‘wait a year’ recommendation for kindergarten.
I think it may be the weather.
Or the season.
But my mind keeps fluttering back to different times. Different Me’s.
I find myself thinking about the numerous people that have crossed my path over the years. I wonder where they are in the world and what they’ve become.
I think about the budding actor I used to share laughs with in college. We’d run into each other at the coffee shop, share at table, and talk about nothing and everything at the same time. I wonder if LA is still calling…
Whatever happened to the slightly odd girl I met in second grade? It was Mrs. Watson’s class and I flipped her the bird once just because the other kids didn’t like her. She was kind of awkward and geeky (and not at all worthy of the middle finger).
Or the boy that gave me a promise ring and offered me the world one cold, Ohio day. It was that intense relationship that brought me to Georgia and ultimately led to me meeting my husband. I’d like to thank that boy.
I remember one Christmas in college when I was too poor to travel home (and I just happened to work in the only store that was open that day). I spent the night drinking coffee and playing poker with an out of work truck driver that was fighting liver cancer. He taught me the game and gave me much needed company on a night when you want to be anything but alone. It was snowing outside and the weather was always hard on him. I heard once he moved to Florida.
Or the English professor I had as a Sophomore. She had lost her husband at one point and talked of love and books in a way I’ve never experienced since. She showered us with hope and was the only person I’ve ever seen completely relish the ‘few moments’ she had with the man of her dreams. No regrets. No wishful thinking. Just sheer appreciation.
Or the struggling grad students that breathe in and out to the same academic air I do – does the kindred spirit among them have a purpose that is more than just brief? Will some of these souls cross paths with me for more than a mere moment?
Why did my path cross with these people? Why so briefly? Why, in some cases, so intense? Why, in the midst of the chaos of celebrating the holidays with my children and family, do I hear the faint whisper of them in my ear?
Remember me. Remember the time we tried to change the world? I can tell you a story. Table for two and the biggest carafe you’ve got!
I recently wrote this for Deep South Moms, but would love to get more feedback on the issue.
My oldest child started Kindergarten this past Fall in what I would consider a typical public school here in the Deep South. It’s not too big and not too small; it’s just a typical suburban school. I remember when she started school that she was so excited to learn. She couldn’t wait to read and loved practicing her handwriting so that she could keep a journal ‘just like mommy.’ She was eager to leave for school each day and couldn’t wait to return to school the next.
That excitement began to wear off as the school year moved along and it didn’t surprise me at all. But, what I didn’t realize until recently, is that her lack of excitement may very well be boredom. She comes home from school with a backpack full of worksheets. Countless worksheets. She doesn’t tell me much about what she does at school because, according to her, they don’t do much of anything. I figured she was just being a bit dramatic in her recall of school events. Until she told me about recess.
The other morning we were looking for her extra hat and gloves before she left for school when she informed me that her class doesn’t take recess outside anymore.
“What do you mean you don’t go outside and play anymore?”
“Well, we have not gone outside for a while and my teacher said we won’t go outside fore the rest of the year because it’s too cold to play outside.”
“We still have recess, though.”
“Oh, do you just play in the gym?”
“No, usually we just watch TV.”
I was shocked. Shocked. My brilliant child is spending her recess time watching TV. Not only is she being inundated with countless worksheets throughout the day, but she isn’t even given time to run and play and get fresh air. I have not talked to the teacher or the school yet, but here in the South it’s rarely too cold to play outside. I grew up far North of here and I can tell you without a doubt that there certainly are kids having recess in December above the Mason-Dixon line!
Once the shock wore off a bit I was faced with the question of whether my child is actually receiving a quality education. Sure, we do our best at home to supplement, encourage, and provide other learning opportunities. But, the bulk of her education is supposed to be happening at school – the place she spends a good six hour a day. And, it isn’t. She’s coming home bored, defeated, and without the excitement to learn that I’ve seen in her since she was old enough to sit on her own. She’s losing it. She’s losing a love of learning and a love of school before she ever really gets started. I don’t know what the solution is, but I know that, as a parent, I will do anything in my power to try and fix the situation.
Maybe it’s as simple as a bit of fresh air during recess. Or, maybe it’s dependent on something bigger – like homeschooling. I do know that we better figure it out pretty darn quick! I would hate to have her lose that love of learning before she’s really even gotten started.
Last night Hubby and I had some old friends over. We made chili, let the kids run wild, and laughed our way through the evening.
Oh, and we drank.
We drank lots.
These friends of ours, well, they must be fish.
This morning was…bad.
I began the ritual of many aspirin and hours of hydration. I’m just now beginning to feel less like something you’d find on the bottom of your shoe after a night in a seedy bar.
Glamorous, I know.
But, even with the horrible hangover, I had a great time! And, even though I’m not 22 anymore, I’m glad I can still cut lose from time to time!
Today you turn two, Sweet Charlotte. Today marks the anniversary of your exit from my body and my inability to keep you all to myself. Before you were born you were all mine. You curled safely in my body and it as if only the two of us existed. You were a part of me and I got to experience your every motion and breath before anyone else in the world. I felt you move and shiver and stretch and say ‘Mommy, I lub a yew’ long before your sweet voice ever echoed in my ears. I would have kept your entire existence to myself if I could have.
But, how could I not have shared your sweetness with the world?
You’ve been a solid part of my world for longer than two years, but it has only been that long that I’ve had the simple pleasure of watching you with my eyes instead of feeling you with my senses. Every moment of everyday you change and grow and become this person, a person who’s entire being shakes me to my core. It must be the way you softly hold my hand when we rock together in the afternoons. Or, the way you hug my neck so tight as if you’re trying just as hard to melt with me as I am with you. It’s the smiles and the giggles and the attempts to stop the world just lay your head on my chest. It’s almost as if your entire purpose is to show me completely innocent love – the kind of love that is pure and asks for nothing whatsoever in return.
Today you are two. Today you’ll giggle when I kiss your toes and tell me ‘No fair!’ when I won’t allow you to do something that you so desperately want to do. You’ll eat cake modeled after your favorite stuffed animal and say ‘Mmmm, delicious!’ as you smear it all over your face. You won’t wear a bib, of course – because in your world bibs are for sissies! You’ll run to me attempting to tell me the multitude of things your brother and sister did you to in an effort to practice tattling – your new favorite skill! You’ll open presents, touch the Christmas tree, take off your shoes and socks a thousand times, and shove numerous things in your pockets. You’ll hop, skip, jump, and twirl your way around the house while firmly stating ‘I a princess!’ You’ll pretend my calculator is a phone as you call every imaginary friend you have. You’ll sing Ziggy Marley and insist you pooped in your diaper only to laugh at when I confirm there is nothing in there.
You’ll spend another day being the amazing child that your are and reaffirming my faith in a power bigger than myself. I am blessed to be your mother and I love you with all that I am. Happy Birthday, Sweet Charlotte
If you have sons and you’d like them to NEVER, EVER get laid then put them in these:
If you have sons and you’d like them to NEVER, EVER get laid then put them in these: