Friday, March 27, 2015

27: The running joke...

My friend and I have this running joke
it pops up anytime someone asks,
"So, how do you know each other?"

She usually starts with something like,
"Well, she came to my house trick-or-treating the night before her second son was born.  We were both big and pregnant with our little guys.  And it was warm that night, so we both had pancake feet." She qualifies, "You looked cute in your little jeans and ballet flats; I, on the other hand..."

And rolls into,
"And then when we talked a little more the next summer when we were out for a walk in the neighborhood, she was trying to figure out which house I live in on our street...so I told her..." She reminds, "I wanted to meet you again, so we took walks until you and your boys were outside playing."

And ends with,
"Yeah, then she said, 'Oh, I know where you live.  I drove by a few days ago in the afternoon and saw a little girl standing naked on the living room windowsill.'"

She always blushes,
"I was mortified the day you told me that, B.  Like, who lets their kids stand in front of the biggest window in the house with no clothes on?  I looked like such a bad mom!"

I always laugh, too.
"Who cares?  It was so funny!  And I thought nothing of it.  I mean, little kids are little kids, right?"

****

One afternoon this week, the winds were just warm enough and the sun was just shiny enough to beckon kids and their parents outside for an after-school playdate. Driving home from school, I slowed down to say, "Hi" as she and her littles spread out from the sidewalk and into the grass.

"B, did you see Clark?!?"

I hadn't.  My eyes scanned the greening lawns...

"BINGO!"

On tiny, little toddler legs, Clark cleared each blade of grass with big-boy underwear draping from his smallish rear-end.  Over the top fell an even smaller t-shirt.

I doubled over my steering wheel, laughing.

Evidently, that theory holds true.


Write on,
b






Thursday, March 26, 2015

26: The last Saturday afternoon date...

We bundled up as the golden leaves blew
across the front yard and into the drive
I knew I should go
as if my heart foretold the end
that Saturday afternoon
Grant nestled in the carseat
and I in the front
We headed north, toward the place
that's one stop closer to heaven
In the parking lot I unhooked his latches
he wiggled out and into my arms
The wind still blew
and the leaves still danced majestic in the autumn sky
and the tears still formed
waiting
knowing
and then falling
and then stopping
the brave face
I put on to go through the
first set of double doors past the nurses
and then the next set into her wing
and finally the single door into her room
that opened like a treasure trove
full of the people I love
all sitting there
all waiting
for the next breath
in the center
Grandma laying
her cornflower eyes hidden
her crown of soft, white curls
danced as she gasped toward
her next breath
I looked in
my heart
buoyed only in knowing
soon she'd find
the bright space,
the perfect place,
her Savior
and
my grandpa
her mother
her father
her brother
her sisters
again

I shared Grant and padded in toward the bedside seat
I held her familiar hand and
I nuzzled her wrinkly cheek
Grandma, I love you
years of memories rolled across my heart
as I sat
smiling
at the thought of heaven
tearing up
at the thought of this world without her
that my boys would never truly know
the woman
who steadied my slippery baby body
in my parents' kitchen sink that first bath
who lavishly loved her family
who chose to laugh in all circumstances
with determination and moxie
a woman
after whom my heart is fashioned

We bundled up as the golden leaves blew
majestic against the blue sky outside her window
I couldn't stay
yet I lingered
knowing this would be
the last Saturday afternoon date
We held hands
three generations
linked





I kissed her forehead
I'll see you there...


Write on,
b

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

25: The upside of Wednesday...

4:00 Grant pick-up
Extra time for a trip to Target
Pick up cake pops at Starbucks
Prepare dinner early
Clean up dinner before bedtime

4:00 Grant pick-up
More time to work-out
Start a load of laundry
Sweep the floor
Finish that extra project

Go to bed early

The upside of Wednesday...

Write on,
b

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

24: Mentors...





I began today's professional development session on mentor texts
with this quote and after reading it aloud inquired
"How do Cynthia Rylant's words strike you?"
There was a buzz that hushed only when I pulled out this excerpt
from "The Book Thief"
letting its words swirl and swing
hang and dance
fall heavy
and then rise up again



Getting to know Hans Hubermann in Markus Zusak's "The Book Thief," page 36.


Those five months were definitely the hardest.
Every night, Leisel would nightmare.
Her brother's face.
Staring at the floor.
She would wake up swimming in her bed...
drowning in the flood of sheets...
the bed that was meant for her brother floated boatlike in the darkness...
it sank, seemingly into the floor...

He came in every night...
a stranger to kill the aloneness...
Trust accumulated quickly, due primarily to the brute strength
of the man's gentleness, his thereness.


Teachers' eyes, 
their hearts
connected
with this text
its song
and basked in the brilliance of Markus Zusak's construction

I said, "When I read this book, my writing made sense:
the sentence fragments
the long sentences
the way I may 'break the rules'
the way I try to fashion word pictures"
I said, "When I write every day on my blog, it's his writing I hear"

And he's my mentor
He shows me what good writing sounds like
He helps me envision what's possible
He empowers me to take risks
He invites me to use my voice to tell these tales

Some of them
I could see it in their eyes
immediately felt the text that had changed their writing landscape
they saw it and remembered it and connected with it 
all over again

I said, "I could teach craft moves with so many books 
but what is special is that this book has my heart; it is mine
I get it; I love it"

And now they love it too
because of our common experience
because of my excitement
because of its lyrical qualities
because of its blessing
because of its possibility for writers




Write on,
b

Monday, March 23, 2015

23: Drip, drip, drip...

This afternoon the plink, plink, plink
of the persistent sleet pelted anything that stood still
My spring disposition led me to 
black pumps with dress pants
no tights, no trouser socks
Walking into the kitchen tonight 
I noticed first thing
the Keurig's stare
and I let it make eyes at me
on account of the 
four hours mine
were 
shut
last 
night
and 
that
they 
are
barely
open
right
now
and that my toes are frozen
Tonight the drip, drip, drip 
of its comforting brew is my pre-dinner lullaby



Write on,
b



Sunday, March 22, 2015

22: Like a trip...


Sometimes it feels like I'm going on a trip
not like San Diego
rather more like a conference
or a project
or a study group
I made sure to pack extra markers
post-it notes
highlighters
copied handouts in 10 stacks
small group sets of readers
leveled L through P
guided reading lesson plans
Teaching for Comprehension and Fluency
the Continuum for Literacy Learning
A Guide to the Common Core Writing Workshop
Day by Day
glue sticks and scissors
chart paper
red napkins for the blueberry bread 
I'll lay across the stacks of materials 
when I am done packing
for the meeting tomorrow
No one wants smooshy breakfast treats
All will be safe in the backseat of the Jeep though
while we sleep for the few hours before its time
wondering about how all the details will play out
Sometimes it feels like I'm going on a trip

Write on,
b

Saturday, March 21, 2015

21: I almost forgot...

Lunch
check
thank-you note
medicine
car keys
hat
laundry in the washer
grocery list
ingredient
zip drive
promise
lunch money
file folder
mileage
earrings
birthday card
charger
laundry in the dryer
permission slip
necklace
show-n-tell tub
wallet
after-school meeting
ear buds
mittens
presentation remote
scarf
handout
this slice

Write on,
b