Tuesday, August 26, 2014

sneak attack

The second day of school, and it is the confident daughter with the did-it-myself-side-ponytail who crumbles as the bus pulls up.  The son I've ached for over the summer climbed aboard with a skip in his step -- funny, the role reversals.

She wanted to be close all morning, standing near me in the kitchen, sitting beside me over cereal, brushing her hair with a smile, holding my hand up to the bus stop.  But when the rumbling bus slowed to a stop, I heard a sharp "no" under her breath, and she threw herself against me, tears.  This girl likes to be strong, and I could tell by her frantic face-wiping and face-burying how much she wanted to hide from the full bus of kids.

I walked almost up the steps with her, whispering to both of us that she could do it, but her face was flushed and she kept wiping her eyes and shaking her head.  Then the doors closed, and I could just make out her slouched form through the darkened windows as the bus drove away.  I walked home with wet cheeks whispering prayers after her.  We'll see what day three brings...

Sunday, August 24, 2014

That One

We just got home from California last night and tomorrow will sweep our kids off to school.  I've gone through all iterations: have driven down the 55 blasting the radio to drown out the chorus of complaints, skin crawling, ready for nothing more than structure; and have sat on the yellow couch, long after the house was asleep, and written down doubts, fears about placing them in the wrong hands, about how I will miss them, and how my heart crushes when they grip my arm and don't want to say goodbye. 

Perhaps as mothers we always have "that one" that tugs our hearts right out of our chests.  I would guess that "that one" changes with seasons and stages, friendships, teachers, struggles.  This fall, my one is the tender-hearted son.  

All summer I've been hoping he will have a different year this year, one of ease and encouragement, sweet friendships, a teacher who engages him.  But as we've moved into this week, I've had to admit fears and pray the truer stuff -- that the struggles he has sitting at the table with pencil in hand will eventually build his confidence, that the unkindnesses slung his way won't bowl him over or even touch his true sense of worth and worthiness, that he'll be buoyant, that he'll have courage and know when to speak, that the words spoken and unspoken to him this year will serve to build his character, that I'll be patient and unhurried, that somehow God will give me grace to hold the big picture as I navigate the minutes. 

Backpacks are by the door, packed with lunches, shoes laid next to them (we can at least start strong), First Day of School zucchini bread is in the oven for the parents who will gather after drop-off in a mix of elation and devastation and each rung in between.  

And like every year, we will be the enthusiasts for the morning, for breakfast and the bus, for the mismatched under armor outfit Silas has laid out on his floor.  And like every year, we will act like kissing them on the blacktop and walking away is breezy, because what we want to tell them they can do it.  

As I sit here with a cup of chamomile tea, hoping jet lag wont' sink everyone first thing, I'm reminding myself that yes, these little resilient beautiful creatures, can do it.  They are made to do it, to navigate this world that some days is cruel (and many days is breathlessly fun).  I am reminding myself that this year will be part of their story that none of us knows yet, a part of what makes them, a part we haven't gotten to read yet.  Tomorrow's simply the current that will pull of from summer's eddy, push us the only way we go in this life -- on ahead.  

So my sweet Silas, as you lie in your bed, what I pray is that when you open your eyes, your heart will be assured that you, my boy, can do it; you are made to go ahead.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

from California

I am sitting in the bathtub fully clothed holding a computer.  Silas and Eden are whisper-fighting about being on each other's side of the sleep sofa bed, and Maeve is asleep at the foot of our bed.  There is no where else to be in this hotel room but here.

We are in Costa Mesa for our last week of summer.  School starts in 6 days, and I can't believe how ready I am.  I bought Silas green pencils, fat pink erasers, and a pencil bag with a mouth in hopes they would rocket him into excitement. I wouldn't say my efforts have worked, exactly, but hopefully they've helped.  Eden tries out Silas's phrases of protest, but really is ready to go.

Tonight I sat on our teeny hotel balcony and almost missed  the sunset on the bay because of conversation, while the kids swam in the pool below us and Maeve slept in the room behind.  I'm trying to front load our days, pitch them toward the jet lag with full mornings and second breakfasts.  This is week two (last week was family beach week) of doughnuts regularly before dawn.

My brain is shutting down, now that it is 8:15 in the west, and I am going to stumble through the dark to bed.  The kids have quieted, and early morning pancakes call.

Friday, August 01, 2014

A poem for today

A poem by Audre Lorde

As I Grow Up Again

A little boy wears my mistakes
like a favorite pair of shorts
outgrown   at six
my favorite excuse was morning
and I remember that I hated
spring's change.

At play within my childhood
my son works hard   learning
which doors do not open easily
and which clocks will not work
he toys with anger like a young cat
testing its edges
slashing through the discarded box
where I laid my childish dreams to rest
and brought him brown and wriggling
to his own house.

He learns there through my error
winning with secrets
I do not need to know.