Spring break usually brings a day or two of useless, waste the minutes away, type of days. The types of days when you don’t have to leave the house unless you want to. When you can whimsically make decisions based on your preference of the second. The types of days I don’t often get without careful planning. The type of days that I just can’t get my hands on this week due to a variety of circumstance.
So I’ve been making the most of the pockets of times between “drop off Maddie” and “pick up Maddie.”
Drop off Maddie.
Read some magazines.
Watch a show or two.
Snack on some Ding Dongs.
Pick up Maddie.
Back to life.
Drop off Maddie.
Ignore the dishes.
Put the laundry away.
Start a book.
Enjoy the silence.
Eat some Nerds.
Pick up Maddie.
Back to life.
Drop off Maddie.
Catch up with a friend.
Snuggle with the furball.
Pick up Maddie.
Back to life.
And what a life it is.
Maddie is going to be eight this summer. There’s a lot of things we’re holding on to in a last ditch effort to slow time. Both Brian and I are at varying degrees of letting go. This was most evident during a conversation the other day.
Maddie is world famous for not being able to find her own hand when it’s right in front of her face. I was relaying how she couldn’t find the applesauce one morning so she asked if she could have potato chips instead. Of course I said, no chance kiddo. Make some toast and have some strawberries. I chuckled at her attempt to work the system.
Where were YOU? He asked in what I might say was an accusatory tone.
You let her use the TOASTER?! What if she burns herself? What if she used a knife to get it out?
Yep, accusatory. We remain divided on how much kitchen responsibility an eight year old can handle. I wasn’t about to remind him that she carefully cuts her own strawberries most mornings. He may have called the authorities.
Meanwhile, Maddie is becoming quite the seamstress. She’s designing dresses for her dolls, sewing little animals for her dolls, and is a pillow making machine.
She proudly shows off her creations to her Dad and he returns with genuine appreciation for her skills.
I can only assume that he has no idea she operates a sewing machine. Or that she threads and works a very sharp needle and works a hot glue gun to attach details.
I’ll keep those details to myself until he’s ready.
It’s no secret that books are my jam. Nor is it a secret that I am not much of a multi-tasker when one particular thing is taking up all the real estate in my mind. The current monopoly in my mind is books. Not much a change, except I’ve got to adjust the lease. I’ve got to create vacancies for the new occupants: books that take up the real estate in the minds of eight year old readers.
This is how I found myself diving into the stacks of a local book rescue. Found myself sitting on an ancient library stool flipping through each title imagining the reaction of each reader and looking for the opportunities for the teacher in me. There were titles that brought back memories and titles that were new discoveries. Some that will be mentor texts and some that are just plain fun.
Two bags of books to be stamped and inventoried. It’s a start.
A start to building a place that welcomes readers and encourages them to explore. A place where they can discover their passions and delve into their wonderings. A place that takes us places beyond the four walls of our classroom. A place where we can bring the world to our fingertips.
For me, it’s the most important piece of a classroom. It offers possibility and wonder. It allows children to see themselves both in and behind the words. It’s a place for us to gather together, or alone, to be readers and writers. Most important of all, thinkers and learners.
It’s the classroom library.
And I’m on a mission. A mission that starts today and never ends. For this piece is ever changing and adapting to its occupants.
Much like my mind these days.
*The last Poemy Monday (on a Tuesday) is a compilation of my slice titles from the month thus far.
Morning slip and slide.
Mojo, where did you go,
another one bites the dust.
Set the alarm,
a shrinking neighborhood,
the spider awaits.
a futile rescue mission.
Maddie a study in contradiction,
destined to glitter,
momma let me in.
The ultimate solution,
an assist from some calicos.
the other woman,
this is us.
History is cool,
the same books.
My March trade.
Human beings are fragile. This line is lifted from a friend’s slice yesterday and it is stuck in my mind with a hold that is demanding I lift it and lay it down in a slice of my own.
Human beings are fragile. In one moment you are finally watching the long held in the DVR episode of your favorite TV show, and then the world tilts on its axis when you hear of some friends’ broken hearts.
People, I know are rimmed with the most fragile of edges. Those edges start to fold in when the most devastating of news strikes. When a loss takes those edges and powers through to a person’s core, you’d think they’d be done.
But as your heart is breaking for their broken heart, you discover that the fragile parts of us don’t stand a chance against love, comfort, compassion, and faith. Those elements of us join forces and hold our fragile edges together. I’m seeing it first hand.
In their love for a mom and grandma that will always remain strong no matter the distance of time from this loss. In their comfort in her again joining those lost before her, making this family on earth one less, but that family in heaven, one more. In their compassion toward others that are feeling this loss, and you just know they follow the example set forth for them, and they truly mean it. In their faith that shines through every snippet, story, and memory they share with the world.
Their love. Their comfort. Their compassion. Their faith.
Human beings are fragile. But these other forces bolster our fragile edges and somehow bring us the strength to keep going. Maybe even, the fragile edges are where they are so that the power of these forces can break through and bring us peace in the most difficult of times.
For the sake of my friends, I hope this to be true.
I need this to be true.
Is that a spider?
Why, yes it is dear. You’ll have to get that, I can’t reach.
Well I have to clean out the gutters. Don’t you hear the water flowing? It’s clogged.
That’s nice dear. About that spider…
I’ve also got to check on the brisket. So you’ll have to get this one.
I had that silverfish the other day. On my arm. And I didn’t even screech. Not even a little.
I do all the outside stuff. You do the inside stuff.
At this point I suppose we should name him then. He’ll fall down and hang with you tonight.
Fine. You have to get something to kill him with then.
Kids’ interests come and go. We all know this. Maddie at one point last year got a Pikachu at Build a Bear. He was a cute bright yellow beacon upon entering the store. She has loved him off and on for the last year. Just to be clear, she did not care about the greater world of Pokemon.
Fast forward and she’s been coming home with the newest oldest thing, Pokemon cards. It’s all the rage and close to being banned from school grounds as she tells it. Of course her steel trapped mind recalls that once upon a time SHE had a Pokemon card.
Remember mom, I got it when I got my Pikachu. It came with him! It has to be here somewhere!
Oh, right. Well. This only child house that is filled like a five child house might just be hiding this card somewhere in the chaos. Commence Pikachu card rescue mission!
This is great timing as we have about 10 big, strapping, bbq eating, baseball guy picking men convening on our casa tomorrow. Organizing and clearing is not really her forte but she’ll do anything to find this card.
I suppose at some point I should tell her that I threw that card away months and months and months ago because she:
a. Did not care a lick about Pokemon
b. Had nine million random
pieces of crap treasures lying around the house and something had to give
Somehow as I watch her bulldoze through straightening up, I don’t think she will see it my way.
My daughter’s school was the host of a used book sale yesterday. The flyer had come home a few months ago asking for donations. I knew families and teachers were clearing out shelves. Forced to be discerning about which to keep and which to let free.
3 for $1!!!! the latest flyer and Facebook post called out in big letters. We are drowning in books at our house but there’s always room for more right? Off we set to the school.
Upon entering Maddie and I split ways and were diving into our own stacks before you could blink an eye.
Calling out to one another about a gem that just had to be rescued. She on the hunt for certain chapter books and I perusing with the first inklings of new classroom library in the corner of my mind.
The prospect of heading back to the full time land of children is all together exhilarating and terrifying.
But books are my jam, so naturally I start there.
As I shift through stacks I am taken back to titles so familiar I have to open the front cover to see if my name is stamped there.
I see titles mixed in that I know for certain are or were on the shelves in the bookroom I work to maintain.
I easily find the teaching gems and start to use my very handy seven year old for book recommendations.
The exhilaration grows as my stack increases and while edges of me are still terrified, I take comfort in the fact that even towns over, the books are the same.
Despite all the change, there’s enough of the same to build on.
The popular crew these days. The trendy crew these days.
Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton. Aaron Burr.
Yeah. The stoic stiff faced portraits that stared at you from your history books are cool.
People are crowding in droves to see them. The screaming and cheering when they step on stage is enough to make you want to whip out the noice cancelling headphones.
Except when you’re happily in the midst of the screaming and cheering swarm. When you’re in awe of the set, astounded by the performances, brought to tears by the verse.
When you sit there and all you can think is This is so, cool. You don’t have any other words for it.
I’m still coming off the high of being there and experiencing it alongside a swarm of high school choir kids. They’re excitement and wide eyed awe was contagious and I found myself looking at their reactions as closely as I watched the performance.
For these kids the level of excitement could only be described as equivalent to me getting a lunch date with JK Rowling and Kate Di Camillo (that would be a really big deal like really really big deal).
These kids got to see themselves in the performers on stage. They got to imagine the possibilities. They got back on that bus and under the layer of star power they were basking in, the talk of the technique started to seep out. They could do this too.
That moment there on the bus was my favorite of the night.
King George was pretty stellar too though. Like epically so. 🙂
Maddie, what should I write about?
You should write about how you worked at McDonald’s and you didn’t like it so you went to the candy store. The End.
Brian, what should I write about?
You should write about the 20th anniversary Sevendust show and how we didn’t get to go. You could watch the video if you need inspiration.
Gabby, what should I write about?
No response. She is a cat after all.
Hailey, what should I write about?
Mawww! (That’s her meow that usually means, Feed me human!)
I’m surrounded by useless inspiration. They didn’t give me a darn thing to write.
Maybe they should slice instead.