Ed note: Beware. This is a throwing-grammar-to-the-wind and amusing myself with run-on sentences kinda day. You’ve been warned.
How are you?
Yesterday wasn’t easy, was it? It never is. I hope you managed to take some time – time for you, time with your loved ones, time to tell them how much they mean to you. Neat thing about that, by the way — if you didn’t, you get another chance today.
I hate to say this, but I’ve come to sort of despise September. It’s just too much. The wholesale changes, the transitions, the new teams, the meetings – holy God the meetings, the back to school picnics, the open houses, the Can you? Will you? The Could you pleases?
It’s too much. It’s just too damned much.
I have stories for you. They’ve kind of been piling up while I wasn’t paying attention.
I want to tell you about the girl in Brooke’s adaptive dance class. The one who is sixteen. The one who, as soon as we walked into the studio, had questions. “When’s your birthday? How old are you? Who is your favorite Disney princess?”
The one who had questions that made sense to my girl.
“March 31st, 9, I like Cinderella, Belle, Snow White and Sleeping Beauty.”
The one who, when Brooke began to wander, gently corralled her back into the group.
The one whose favorite princess is Jasmine.
The one whose presence in the class, along with a twelve year-old girl who lit up the room, might just be as big a gift to Brooke as the class itself.
The ones who asks questions that make sense to my girl.
I want to tell you about Katie. About how she’s elbowing her way into independence. About how she’s finding her way. About the crossroads of insecurity and conviction that is middle school. About how much of the fear of middle school I’ve realized really was – is – ours, not hers. How I’ve decided that people have to stop saying to her, “Oh man, middle school .. it was HARD .. but .. “
Middle school was hard. For a lot of us. But it may not be for her. Last year was hard for her. This year is new friends, new faces, new things to learn from brand new teachers and new clubs to join. Middle school might just be her ticket OUT of hard.
I want to tell you about Brooke. About how I walked in the door the other night just as Luau was setting a timer for her to begin her reading. And how I wanted to shove that timer where the sun don’t shine, but how I was just walking in so I had to see what was going on before doing any shoving to sun not shining. And how he said that it was just, ‘ya know, for the log book so she could record how long she read for,’ and how that really didn’t make me want to put it where the sun don’t shine any less because really? The log book?
And how he coaxed her to read when she obviously didn’t want to, but not just because she didn’t want to but because it was just too much at the end of a day of Too Muches. And how I still couldn’t say anything because I’d still really just walked in but how that wasn’t going to be the case for very much longer.
And how watching her negotiate her way out of reading was sort of awesome and a little hilarious and really kind of made me proud of my kid in exactly the ways that you’re probably not supposed to be proud of your kid but how, well, that kind of happens a lot on this particular journey, doesn’t it? Like celebrating the first lie. Cause that’s big. And awesome. And wrong.Yeah, wrong. Uh huh. Sure, we can go with wrong. (But big! And awesome!)
So how when Luau pressed her, she finally agreed to read Oliver ‘with her mouth closed’ and with the ‘words INSIDE her head’ and how I knew she was full of crap and how well, that was kind of awesome (in a .. um .. wrong sort of way, of course) but still awesome and how I watched her flip the pages over one by one and I knew she wasn’t reading and then the second that she closed the book and Luau said, “Can you tell me something about the book, Brooke?” she said, “I don’t remember.” And how that shouldn’t have made me smile, but it did, mostly because by now he’d abandoned the timer so I could just watch without having to shove to don’t shine.
And then how he was still determined to get something out of her so he asked just one more question – this one about the book’s title character, Oliver, the elephant who apparently wanted to dance. Cause why not? So how he said, “Brooke, can you tell me just one thing about Oliver?”
And how she looked down at the book and then up at the wall just behind him and said slowly, articulating every word, “His name was Oliver.”
And how I couldn’t help it; I laughed. And how when Luau looked at me and said, “What do you think we should do?” I said, “NOTHING.” and he said, “What do you mean?” And I said, “We should do nothing. We should send her up to shower,” and how he said, “But what do we put in the log book?” and how I said, “A sticky note that says, ‘we’ll discuss at the conference’ because it’s just too much after a day of Too Muches and holy God, babe, promise me no more timers.”
And how he did and so we’re going to sit down with her teachers today and talk about why the log book might just not be the most effective way to get our kiddo to read.
Oh, and I want to tell you about Jennifer. About how she might just be my new all-time favorite human. How she just has this awesomeness about her – this light, this wisdom, this hard (God so, so hard) earned perspective on life. How she gets what matters and really, really gets what doesn’t and how awesome it is just to be around her and bathe in her awesomeness. And yeah, how after being with her you find that the only word you have left is awesome.
And I want to tell you about a million other things. But I can’t cause I’m out of time.
But I’m going to sneak just this one last thing and then end abruptly and it’ll be a little awkward, but I just have to go, ok? I’m going to tell you how we all have to remember that time slips away so much faster than we think and that even when the days are long, the years are short and it can all – ALL – be gone in an instant so we really have to spend every damned second as if it were our last.
Ed note: All done with the throwing-grammar-to-the-wind and amusing myself with run-on sentences. You can exhale now, Mom.