Thursday, September 29, 2011

I love you more than the Universe

Dearest GIRL,

Last week you turned 7. You said it best...Mommy, I think my body is growing so much because it knows I'm about to turn 7.

I can never express how proud I am of you. Each day you are open to see what you can accomplish. You reach high and usually succeed. Your tenacity and willingness to try it again will serve you well in life. I admire your spirit and how you never give up.

You have an old soul that is visible in your eyes and spirit. You often seem much older than your age. Sometimes I forget... I treasure our conversations and your curiosity about life. You ask lots of questions, and sometimes the answers you receive are not enough. You have to ask more questions until you are satisfied.

You have a fiery temper. Sometimes it is hard to reach you, because you are so angry. But, after you have had your space to cool down, and when you are ready to talk it through, the anger passes. One of the things that infuriates you is when something isn't fair. I wish that life was fair, my love, but it isn't. However, there is one thing I do know. If there is a way to make things fair in a situation, you will do it.

I love how you stand up for yourself, and are not swayed by your peers. If you don't agree with something a friend is doing, you bow out. You are learning how to do this gracefully.

In addition to your writing notebook that you keep in your back pack, you have started keeping a diary. I love how you go to your room, close the door and take the time to write down your thoughts. I hope that you will always take that time for yourself. It is important.

You've assimilated so easily into our new schedule with extended days after school. I wasn't sure how it would be for you, but you've greeted the new change with your usual eagerness. When I pick you up, you run across the field or the parking lot or the cafeteria - wherever you are, you run...shout MOMMY!!! and throw your arms around me. It is the best greeting in the world.

I love how you are not caught up in our media culture. You don't yearn to be a rock star or wear the latest fashions. You aren't afraid to get dirty when you play, and you love to dress up for something special. You are confident in yourself. I hope you will always have it. It is something special.

During your birthday shower at school, you told me one of your friends said, "I like how you are always caring about other people." How lovely that another 1st grader has that perception about you. You have the ability to be friends with everyone. And, that is admirable.

You are busy with many things this year...Choir and Daisy Scouts and Ballet. I sat back and watched you last night at your first Daisy Scouts meeting. You jumped right in with your usual excitement. I took in your beauty - your brown hair flying out as you danced, your swirling skirt and long legs, and your radiant smile. And, I was full.

You are still saying that you want to be a Kindergarten Teacher when you grow up. Whatever it is that you decide to do, everyone around you will be the better for you being in their lives.

I love you more than the Universe, the stars, banana splits, mustard, hot dogs, artichokes, boomerangs and of course up to the moon and back. You are my schnooks, always. I treasure you, and feel lucky every day to have you as my daughter.


Your Mommy

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Friday, September 23, 2011

this was a completely ordinary morning

JCK believes in being candid and open with her children - within reason and when appropriate. At least this is what JCK strives...for. It is to be mentioned that sometimes this plan backfires and gets JCK in hot soup. Speaking of hot, JCK was driving her children to school the other morning when the following ensued.

BOY: OWWW! My foot feels like it's on FIRE! It REALLY hurts, Mom. OWWWW...

JCK would like to mention that this was a completely ordinary morning in the Motherscribe household. Feet on fire, being brutalized by the fierce seat belt bully, JCK's son is prone to exaggeration. JCK has NO idea where he gets it from.

GIRL-- staring at her brother...perhaps a rolling of eyes.

JCK: (Making her best effort to redirect.) BOY, I think you're going to be all right. You can be like me. I feel like I'm on fire all the time now.

GIRL: You do?

JCK: Yes. You know how a woman can have a baby?

GIRL: Yes.

BOY -- Beginning to nod off, but the fire in his foot appears to have abated.

JCK: Well, when a woman gets older, her body can't have babies anymore and her body gets a little wacky and she gets hot flashes. It's pretty weird, because your body feels like it is on fire.

GIRL: Does your uterus blow up?

Nothing like laughter with your children to overcome hot flash entertainment...

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Friday, September 16, 2011

But, before JCK goes up in flames...

JCK is a bit verklempt. Throw in gobsmacked, with a splash of agog, and you get the picture. This would have nothing to do with her turning 50 next week, or that she recently accepted a full-time job the week before her children started back to school. Or, that her husband has nicknamed her, with affection, Woman on Fire - not for her fiery spirit, but more for the fire that appears to rage on and off within her body day & night. Ahhh...the hot flashes. Ain't life grand?

But, before JCK goes up in flames... she does wish to put down on paper that her children have assimilated into the new schedule of three days a week in aftercare with not only aplomb, but eagerness. Indeed, JCK is now greeted with such effusive hugs and exuberant cries that she wonders why she didn't do this...earlier. It helps that her children are in an aftercare program that is run by an amazing summer camp - young counselors who play and engage the children - rather than sitting back and watching them. But, it is more than that. The Motherscribe Household was ready for the change, and BOY & GIRL are happy.

In fact, the person who has had the hardest adjustment is JCK herself. Can she say...Time Management. She wishes she could, but every time she tries to say it ...she's run out of time. So, JCK asks that you bear with her as she navigates this new path. She longs to be here writing more often, but she's being pulled in many directions. She's turning 50 (yes, she did just say that AGAIN), and keeping her chin up, along with other equipment. It's a losing battle, but she's pretending it isn't. The denial will work for a few more days, but then she'll have to smile, tuck her butt in and give a big whoop! After all, she's worked hard to get here...

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Sunday, September 11, 2011

September 11th is a reminder of our ability to come together

Today I am struck with the how, why and where's. And what I would have said to my children, had I had children then, on that September 11th morning born of a crisp blue sky, when five minutes before people were going about their day, alive, and then they were not.

We all have our memories of where we were when it happened. I remember I had left for work, and turned on NPR for my commute, as I did every morning. I only drove a few blocks, before turning around and coming home. Sobered, and not clear at all on what I was really hearing, I walked back in the front door and called out to my husband. We turned on the television. And, sat there for hours, watching the twin towers fall again, and again.

I turned 40 eight days later. We had a party. It was a little odd celebrating life and decades lived, when just days before there had been so much death. Although I hadn't been anywhere near the tragedies on that day, I still wondered...why me? Why do I get to be here and celebrate 40 years, and they don't? What is my purpose?

I'm not sure what I would have said to my children had they been here on 9/11. But, I have been thinking about all of the parents who did have to explain this day of tragedy, 10 years ago. And, of the children whose parents did not come home that day. Or ever again.

I wonder about the moms and dads who until that day were like me. Perhaps they worried that their daughter would forget to look both ways before she crossed the street. Or, that their car would be sideswiped at the exact moment that their son was playing, yet again, with his seat belt. Did they worry that they might not be the parents that they yearned to be? That they weren't sure they were strong enough, resilient enough, to see their child with extreme attention difficulties, through his school years. Or, worry that their daughter would later blame them for blatant neglect, their own energy and attention sucked into the child with challenges.

These are my worries today. I am blessed to have them, although I rarely feel that way, getting sucked into my own self-involved vortex.

September 11th is a reminder of our ability to come together in the midst of horrific tragedy, and that there is no community too large. It is the stories we share together that move us. And the Chapter of 9/11 cuts a wide swath, yet an opportunity to reach out to one another.

My children are still young. Yet, I hope that I can share more with them than the death and devastation of that day. Perhaps the purpose for some of us, is to stretch and grow and strain and even breakdown. Because we can... those that died cannot. And, they'd do it for us.

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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Tell me about the week, Mama.

My daughter and I have a ritual. After lights out, I sit on her bed in the dark and we talk about the upcoming week. She likes me to go over each day, telling her what is planned, what may happen, and what could be. GIRL is not big on surprises. She loves her life carved out in orderly pieces, with dashes of spontaneity.

Sunday night was such a night. We were at my mother's house, so she was sleeping in a big bed. I was able to lie next to her, both of us quietly breathing in the dark.

Tell me about the week, Mama.

And, I did.

We arrived at Tuesday, the first day of 1st grade.

Would you like me to walk you to your classroom on Tuesday, GIRL?

Yes, Mommy.

There was a sigh in the dark. Both of us, in synch, thinking very different thoughts.

Mommy, do parents get to stay for the morning on the first day in 1st grade, like they did in Kindergarten?

I don't think so, GIRL.

OK. Then I don't want you to volunteer on Tuesday.

Would you like to have the day to yourself, so that you can tell me about it?

Yes! And, after Tuesday, you can volunteer whenever you want to! But, not on Tuesday.

O.K., my little schnooks.

I kissed the soft baby hair that falls across my daughter's forehead, and said Good Night.

How can this little girl be so wise?

And, then came yesterday...

I was fine until GIRL lined up with all the children outside the classroom, and GIRL's teacher told the parents to give their child a hug and a kiss good-bye. It was time. Everyone knew it, but me. I hugged my GIRL tight, and let go... Then I walked away. She was ready, but my sunglasses didn't quite make it back over my wet eyes...

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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Boy deals in facts

While on vacation this week...

Kathleen, a Family Friend: BOY & GIRL, you just get taller and taller every time I see you.

BOY: That's just life.

Kathleen: Are you OK going into the locker room by yourself, BOY?

BOY: I'm a man.

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