Monday, August 27, 2012

First Day of School

Today my girls went off to school without their big brother for the first time since either of them has been in school.  Off to second and fourth grade they went, confidently excited about the new school year.

I saw the oldest girl in a new light as I realized that she is now the oldest of my children in Elementary School.  It struck me, as I left her in her new fourth grade classroom, that she only has two years left in Elementary School.  I remember dropping her off at Kindergarten.  It just doesn't seem like it was that long ago.  She seemed so much more grown-up this morning than when she went to bed last night.  I watched her hug friends and show off her self-styled first-day look.  I wished her good things for this year as I walked away.  Another year to grow into her skin.  Another year to learn and develop.

As for the small sprite, well, she was in true form.  Confident and happy, ready to conquer the world.  She was eager to get settled into her classroom.  Eager for another school year.  Eager to see friends.  She pulled  me along through the hallways she now knows well.  Because she, too, is now years from that morning that I left her apprehensive in her Kindergarten classroom.  I gave her hugs and kisses and watched her skip away to her desk, settled next to a good friend, ready for her adventure.   I wished her a year of good experiences and new friends.  A year to untangle her sprightly ways and spread her wings.

I got back to the house as the boy was rising.  His eyes told me that he was nervous.  The first day of Middle School.  A new school, a new routine, new friends, new experiences.  They all awaited him.  He fidgeted with his backpack and his shoes and his colorful self-styled first day clothes.  The confidence he went to bed with was replaced with quiet anxiety as he tried to anticipate his new world.  As we pulled into school we went over his schedule again.  We talked through the layout of the school.  I reminded him of the friends he already knew he'd see today.  I told him that I was positive that they were nervous, too.  I told him that he was ready for this.  That he is courageous, intelligent, and strong.   He got out of the car, still nervous, but a little more reassured that he would make it through the day without a completely embarrassing mishap.  As I watched him stroll into his new school, I felt a tear roll down my cheek.  He stepped out of the car with his head down and shoulders slumped.  But I saw a transformation as he neared the door.  His head rose, he pulled back his shoulders, and he stepped into a new world, outwardly confident and holding his inner anxieties at bay.  As I pulled away I was taken back to each first day with him.  From the first day of preschool to now, I remember each of those days vividly.  In my minds eye, I watched him grow like images in a cartoon flip book.  So quickly moving through the images that brought me to today.  My baby he'll always be.  But I'm so incredibly proud of the young man he's becoming.  This will be a year of growing in maturity, and probably size.  A year of stretching his skin in so many ways.  I wished him strength and confidence.   And the kindness of others.   And a day to start the year off right.

They all came home exhausted but happy.  The school year has arrived.  We are ready.  Let the adventure and the growing begin.

Friday, August 24, 2012


one day a gnome went out to play
under the umbrella shade of the white-capped beauty
growing in the backyard soil
heavy with a weeks worth of rain;
a cricket bounded by having been released
from a glassy dome by a red-caped beauty
curious about her little friend's behavior,
sad to see him go, she saw the gnome;
together they frolicked off
to fairy lands unknown to but a few
whose imaginations are captured in
kaleidoscope views of rainbow colors
and fantastical day dreams.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Proud Sponsor of Moms

I love the Olympics.  I love the thrill of the competition.  I love the dedication of the athletes, the hours put into practicing, giving their life to this one moment.  Every heart-wrenching victory lights me up.  More than that I love the one brief moment of unity and peace that it gives the world.  Yes, we're all competing.  But for one moment countries that hate each other, countries that are rife with conflict, countries that no one has ever heard of come together for this single event.  And for five minutes the problems of the world vanish.  All that matters is gymnastics or track or rowing.  I find that somewhat magical.

I love that in this moment, across cultural boundaries, you can empathize with someone you'll never meet.  You feel their victory, or their defeat.  You feel their pride, or their disappointment.  I thought the Proctor and Gamble mom commercials captured this perfectly, "proud sponsor of moms".  I cried when they showed clips of the reactions of the moms as their children won a medal.  I felt their joyous pride.   I don't know these women. The thing is, I don't have to know them to understand their reactions.  I have children, so I understand.  I understand the sacrifices that they've had to make to get their children to that moment.  I understand the stress of making sure they have the opportunity to make their dreams come true.  I know that they've held their children as they cried, thinking they'd never achieve their dreams.  I know the feeling of pride when their child makes even the slightest accomplishment.  We're mothers.  We do whatever we have to for our children.  It's universal.

As we jump into another school year, I've started the process of signing the kids up for their various activities.  I have to admit I've been a little stressed about it.  Three kids, six activities, plus their school commitment's.   And they've all hit the ages where they practice a few days a week, which costs more, of course.  I'm adding up the hours and the money, and my head starts to spin a little.  Because it doesn't add up.  By the middle of last week, I was a pretty little mess about it, considering telling them that they couldn't do anything this year.  But then we all sat down together Sunday night to watch the closing ceremonies.  The gold medal recap started and we all cheered with each accomplishment.  Pistorius, Bolt, The Fab Five, Phelps and Lochte and Franklin, May-Treanor and Walsh.  It was great to see it all again.  But it was the gymnasts that got me.  Probably because I had my own gymnasts walking on her hands behind me, cheering upside down.  I looked over at her, and I knew that the sacrifice is worth it.  Every dollar spent, every hour at the gym (or the field or the theater), it's all worth it.

I have no grand illusions that my kids are going to be Olympic athletes.  But they will each be great in their own way.  And I will sacrifice whatever I have to in order to give them the opportunity to go as far as they want to go.  Whether that's a star gymnasts in elementary school, a high-school running back, or a Broadway diva.  Or whether it's becoming a teacher, an artist, an engineer, or a parent.  It doesn't matter what it is. I will cheer them on and support them and help them make their dreams come true.  Because I'm a mother.  We do whatever we have to for our children.  It's universal.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Poetic Family Walks

This Moment

A Friday ritual. A single photo-no words-capturing a moment from the week.  A simple, special, extraordinary moment.  A moment I want to pause, savor, and remember.

*inspired by SouleMama