Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Boiling Rice at 4:44

Boiling Rice at 4:44.

It is my desire to wake each day with the goal of taking better care of my body (no excuses to miss the gym this early) and continue to do the best I can for my teens (sometimes I feel like giving up to my selfish desires). They are getting so old.

Yesterday, when filling out a survey, there was an entry for number of children in the household under 18. But when I tried to enter my oldest's birthday, the year 1998 wasn't present. The form stopped at 1999. This took be aback. I thought to myself, "2000 zero zero party... tonight we're gonna party like it's 1999. He was born in 1998, right?"

Just for a moment, 1998 it seemed so long ago. Before I know it, he will be gone. Gone on to college, into his post mommy life, his early morning/late night spontaneous hugs and kisses will be a memory.

So this morning, I boil rice for his lunch because I want to treasure these moments.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Just My Opinion Man!

You know, writing is hard work. Teaching writing to students is hard work. Teaching students to add details might be one of the harder concepts to teach. There are ways to teach it--like requiring students have a certain number of details per idea, that can be counterproductive to real writing AND strangle the voice of the writer.

Here are some requirements I heard today:
When teaching expository writing, never let a student use an anecdote; they may slip into narrative
Always require students to have 4 details for each main idea
I require students to use a preview statement.

What if I do not have 4 details to add to my main topic?
What if I have 2 strong details to support that main idea? Should I scrap it?
Is it not a good idea?

What writer ever said that a certain number of details is the magic number? No one.

Some of the best writing is not organized in one specific way however, some of the worst writing might be.

School writing and life writing shouldn't be so different. My daughter tells me that it is. She believes in fact, school writing and life writing are different and they should be.

She texted me, "If we weren't supplied a formula (thesis, example, explanation) then we wouldn't know where to start. The teachers are teaching us how to write about a prompt rather than waiting three hours to get inspiration and cramming in the last hour."

I understand what she is saying, I do. My problem is that she isn't drawing information from her life. She sees inspiration as outside of herself, which makes me sad.

To Be A...

To Be A...

a mother of teens
teacher of teachers
a woman
a human
a daughter
is to be alive.

If You Are Silent About Your Pain...

"If you are silent about your pain, they'll kill you and say you enjoyed it." Zora Neale Hurston

Writing about pain seems private. Who wants to hang each tear, lonely night, and regretted conversation outside of their door? Yet I know that writing is transformational. It helps move me through pain in a way that nothing else can. And it empowers, validates and releases me; like a deep exhalation after holding my breath. Writing transports me back through time. A glance through my writing and I witness the themes and topics of my past, remembering the forgotten.

But if I don't write, I don't tell my story, no one will truly know how I feel. I smile a lot. It is a genuine smile, a loving smile, a smile for others. My smile is a gift from God. Except for sometimes that smile isn't the whole piece of my story. Sometimes I am distressed, wondering how I will make it another day. I am human. That's how it be sometimes. Inside hurts and it's okay. Tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow is a new day.

If I don't tell it, my pain is for not. Then others think my smile is reflective of this journey. My smile is important, I am grateful for it, but is isn't all of me.

Zora knew that history is mind of the teller. I will be the teller of my story-- if someone else tells it, it will be fragments of their memory, not mine.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

A Do Over

This morning I began my Slice and saved it to return to. It was a positive Mary Oliver "Why I Wake Early" inspiring thought. But now I cannot write about it. No space in my brain. I came home to my teenage daughter, standing in the kitchen with a look of distress. As I tried to engage with her, I made it worse, which was the opposite of my intention. But it didn't matter. She is still sad and I am too. And the worst thing about it is that as a teenager she will not hug me, my touch seems to hurt instead of heal. (What ever happen to my sweet, kissing, loving baby girl?)

In the kitchen, I stood wrestling with the dishes, cooking, an unfinished presentation waiting, and my life list along with everything else to do undone... I'm feeling very overwhelmed. And alone. I need a do over. I want to pick up the eraser, wipe clean methodically, everything I did wrong. Today. Yesterday. I want a chance to do it right. Hindsight is 20/20, and knowing what I know now, I would do better. I just know I would. 

Does that ever happen? Does an adult ever get a chance to do it over? Maybe in our imagination, a book, or a lottery ticket win but none of the former are my reality. So, here I sit, contemplating how best to pick up the pieces, organize this mess, and begin again. Sore knees and gritty hope, I will try again. I will push against giving up because, even though I am so tired, that just isn't an option.