Hello, again...

Well, that was a short month.

I remember days passing that were eternally long, but then nights came, and another day was born and then it was September. Just like that.

I wrote more letters and worked my way through five or six books from the library that did not have Elmo in the title, and went running and bought a bunch of art supplies at this super cool secondhand craft store and Laurel and I made giant messes with paint. We painted a lot of kayaks.

Laurel is somewhere between a holy terror and sheer delight. She lives life with the kind of exuberance that frequently results in some kind of mess. She fears nothing. She is friendly and inquisitive. She talks in brief phrases and sentences now. "Bees eating nectar?" and "Berries hiding the birds eat them." She calls napkins "lapkins" and it's so darn cute I can't bring myself to correct her (well, I corrected her six dozen times, but she doesn't seem to like my way of saying that word, so I've given up for now). I came home from running yesterday and Laurel and M were having a dance party of sorts in the bedroom. When I walked up to the house, she was standing on her little stool, pulled up to the window so she can watch for taxis and buses. She shouted "Mommy, out!" - which I knew to mean, "Please come inside, or else I will crawl out on the roof top and jump to you." I had a moment of panic until I saw M's head appear in the window. I went inside and while I stretched, Laurel stood alongside me and did toddler approximations of my movements. Which is to say, she contorted herself effortlessly with her not-yet-tense toddler muscles. When the three of us are together, Laurel shouts "Family hug!" and comes running over and we all hold onto each other and smile.

I just started working again. We have teacher inservice this week, and then the freshmen will come on Tuesday and regular school will start on Wednesday. I came home yesterday and was so utterly exhausted, not from the amount of work I did at school, but I think, from the lack of play. Play is therapeutic and energizing. Play makes people smile. I remember a couple of weeks ago, Laurel and I were hanging out in this field in the park. Just kind of shooting the breeze, the way one does with an almost-two-year old. Watching squirrels and looking for tiny flowers and spinning around in circles. That's what we were doing when this man walked by with his dog. I saw him smiling at us out of the corner of my eye as I twirled around, arms stretched wide, matching Laurel's movements. And then we fell ("ashes, ashes, down!" ) and stared at the clouds for a bit.

Tonight, we got stuck in a traffic jam on the way home, which might have been terrible, but Laurel calls it a traffic jamberry (do you know the Bruce Degen book?) and then we got some Spak Brothers takeout instead of cooking, and after dinner and a bath, we sat down and read Chicken Soup with Rice and Goodnight Moon, except Laurel wanted to read out loud, and she sort of did. And I was only a little bit amazed. Mostly I caught myself thinking, time and time again, I have never had such joy in all my life.

So, that was summer. We haven't really figured out a way to juggle everything on our plates and are desperately behind on just about everything. Except taking time as a family to love each other and play, whenever we have the chance, so I guess maybe we are not behind at all.

I'm a little worried now. I don't want to be tired for the rest of my life, and I don't want to feel like I am stealing time if I wander through the park, taking 2 hours to walk 1/2 a mile and stopping at every interesting stone in the path and hole in a tree trunk. I want to take time to explore pattern blocks with my ninth graders, and entertain their questions about real world math, and read some biographies of famous scientists and mathematicians. I want to ponder over problems.

Going into this school year, I prepared myself. I hate school (I know, teaching is probably not the best profession for me), so I stocked up on herbal tea and meditation recordings, and I just came across the following video, which makes me feel very calm, even though the awesomeness of August is gone. Alarm clocks are my new reality. Clutching a cup of coffee throughout most of the day, willing myself to stay upright and look interested while my principal talks about "the Whole Child".

So, watch this little video and slow down your life for a moment with me....

Growing is Forever from Jesse Rosten on Vimeo.


Amy B. said...

Lovely post...makes me miss you.

Anonymous said...

You are not behind at all. Welcome back.


Unknown said...

Hi Katy,
I missed your writing and am happy to reconnect. Donna and I visited redwoods in CA several years ago and I was surprised to learn that they were saplings when Jesus Christ was walking the earth. Best wishes with the school year.
Happy Labor day,
Uncle Joe

Anonymous said...

Hi Katy, I'm so glad that you are back. I do so enjoy hearing about your little angel. I also like feeling connected to your family. Enjoy every minute you spend with your family. Time goes so fast. Everything else can wait. Love, Aunt Donna Belski

kxm said...

A lovely post that makes me even happier you are my neighbor!