Friday, May 29, 2020

The Blank Page #PoetryFriday

It's Poetry Friday and Mary Lee has the round-up this week at A Year of Reading. Check out all the poetry goodness!

If you have a loved one who has struggled with dementia or Alzheimer's Disease, then you can understand the pain of watching someone so desperately trying to find a memory or even a simple word. There are times of recognition, but as time goes on, those moments become brief.

My grandmother-in-law wrote pages and pages of her life stories before she died. I treasure them although they belong to my husband. My mother has early dementia, and I gave her a notebook for Christmas urging her to write her stories. I don't want her pages to be blank. I want my children to know stories and to treasure them, too.

These times are heavy on my heart, and this poem is a result.

The Blank Page

Each day the sun rises,
the morning’s page
beckons for a story,
                a memory.

The sun shines, and
your eyes light up
until the words, like dried ink
fail to come
                once again.

Throughout the day
I see you searching
reaching to grasp a memory,
like a child trying to catch fireflies
blinking on and off
                in the dark.

Each day the sun sets
and the page remains blank
held together by words

Picture at Pixabay
Edited:  Mary Lee pointed out how the last line of each stanza was a poem within the poem. I bolded the words using her noticings.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

A Letter to My Daughter #SOSMagic

Dear Megan,

It is hard to believe nine years ago you made a decision that would set you on the path to where you are today. When you said you wanted to become a teacher, many people questioned and criticized your choice. You were a 4.0 student and people couldn't believe "you wanted to be a teacher."

But I knew. Mommas always know.

Last week you finished your 5th year of teaching. You know what that means? You beat the odds. Many teachers don't make it past five. I know the first year was rough and honestly, I didn't think either one of us was going to get through that one. 
Isn't she just the cutest third-grade teacher!

I have never seen you teach in person, but I have seen the love you have for your students and the love you put into making your classroom a safe and happy place for them to be and to learn.

Today, as I was driving you around town to deliver your student gifts, I did something that I never told you about. I rolled the window down and listened. 

Just listened. I watched the surprised look on their sweet little faces when they saw you standing at their door. I heard the way your love poured from your heart and into your words. "Hey, buddy! Do you know today would have been? The last day of school! I know this isn't how we wanted it to be, but I wanted to share it with you anyway."  

I saw their faces light up when they opened their gifts, specially chosen for each one. I watched them smile as they looked at the picture in the frame, documenting your time together. And I watched you stay 6 feet apart when I know you so desperately wanted to hug each one of them. It took every ounce of strength I had to hold the back the tears. 

Seeing you on those porches today with your students, I know why you became a teacher.

And I couldn't be prouder.


I’m joining an open community of writers over at Sharing Our Stories: Magic in a Blog. If you write (or want to write) just for the magic of it, consider this your invitation to join us. #sosmagic

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Memory Catchers #SOSMagic

As writers, we are also memory catchers, like someone carefully running through time with our butterfly nets and whispering, "I caught one." 

When I read Elsie's post last week about her plain walnut box, I knew what I would be writing about today. I have a jewelry box that holds "junk" but also memories of so many different stages in my life. I'll be honest, I haven't looked in this drawer for a long time. But when I did, the memories were released.
  • Charm bracelets, a fad from my junior high days. A flute, a volleyball, and a key to happiness. 
  • Silver quarters I found while working the cash registers at McDonald's.
  • My high school ring and senior key.
  • My sorority pins and pledge ribbon from college.
  • A teddy bear necklace, the very first Christmas gift when my husband and I started dating. 
  • My broken engagement ring and diamond, which wasn't really an engagement ring because we were never really engaged.
  • A sycamore leaf pendant that I was awarded for Manager of the Year during my first career.
  • Some of Megan and Ethan's baby teeth that must have fallen out of the bag where I keep them.
  • Ethan's first library card when he was four years old.
  • My mom's business card when she lived in China.
  • Girl Scout pins when I was a leader for Megan's troop.
...any many other things that I have just kept tucked away over the years.

I really have no idea why I have kept many of these things in this drawer. I guess it is because I am a memory catcher, and just like butterflies, I don't always want to let them go.

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Friends and Scrabble Boards #SOSmagic

Humans are wired for connection. Many times this connection comes from our families, but often our friends fill this need too.

I have many groups of friends from teaching friends to online friends to family friends to longtime high school friends. They have all shaped who I am during the different stages of my life. I can't imagine my life without any of them.

If you have been a long-time reader of my blog, you know about my high school friends - the EJDs, also known as The Eight Jelly Donuts. Most of us have been friends for over 40 years even as we have lived from all four corners of the country and from one coast to the other.

Together, we have been through marriage and divorce, birth and infertility, eating disorders and addiction, cancer scares and death of parents, career changes and life changes, grandkids and menopause. And through it all, we have remained friends.

We have zoomed several times during this isolation period. Angie, my friend-turned-sister-in-law has been "playing" a new kind of Scrabble game. She chooses a theme for a board and builds words to fit that theme while challenging herself to use all of the letters. This is her EJD board.

This board reminds me of my students. I worry about them. Middle school is a time for change not only physically, mentally, and emotionally, but also socially. This is the time when friend groups change. Elementary friend groups evolve into middle school groups, which can set the course for many years ahead.

I have had students tell me the worst part of this pandemic is not being able to be with their friends. I have parents who are allowing kids to see each other while other parents are not. In the middle of this, kids are trying to figure out where they belong. Some feel their friends are changing and some are moving on without them. Some are trying to hang on to the friends they have while trying to understand who their true friends are.

Middle school life is messy even without a pandemic.

I worry.

They are searching for connection. They need connection.

I reassure them by telling them my own friend stories while they are rewriting theirs. Life revision is hard. They are beginning to place the tiles on their own Scrabble boards. In the years to come, I want them to be able to use all of the letters and to connect all of their words in their own beautiful stories.

And I pray that they become blessed with their own EJDs.