Friday, October 21, 2016

Life's Lessons

Life continues to prepare me for more of itself.

As I help a little boy who struggles with paying attention and has constant meltdowns in his kindergarten class, I am struck again and again by how life has prepared me for just this moment.

I could not have helped this little guy at all without the years of rigorous training which Maeve has put me through. She gave me a hundred different tools to help with meltdowns, distractions, peer problems, and anger. Nothing was a magic bullet with her, but because of that, I learned so many different ideas and hints.

And I learned what not to do. That instead of ignoring meltdowns, sometimes comforting is advisable. That anger can be turned aside with breathing, with laughter, with distraction, with recognition. That big feelings are not a crime, they just need to find their safe outlet.

Without Maeve, I could not be of as much use at my job as I currently am. This little boy's father has asked for my contact information as he walks through the difficult valley of diagnosis, IEP, and school interventions. I don't know everything, but boy, have I been there. And boy, am I ever happy to help however I can.

I am overwhelmed with the beauty of this one precious and tender life we live. How what we are given, overwhelming though it is, can be a gift to another. If I had known, on my hardest days with Maeve, that I would find another use for these hard-won skills, it would have been an immense encouragement. As it is, I feel such deep gratitude.


Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Funny Circles

Life takes me in funny circles, sometimes.

For instance, today I started a job for a school district I worked for well before Maeve was born. As I recall, I quit in 2008. I had been a substitute teacher and had grown to utterly despise the work. The kids were wearing on me. Anyone who has been a sub knows just how unrewarding and truly unlike teaching that job is.

So for the time, I abandoned all hope of working in a school again. I worked at various small businesses, even a legal firm, and basically put education out of my head entirely.

But then my Maeve came along, and I had my hands full with parenting. Absolutely brimming full.  I took various part time jobs once Maeve was old enough to come with me or leave with someone, but nothing that took up more than 15-20 hours a week, and usually considerably less.

Lo and behold, the tiny baby girl is now in school all day. I've been casting around, applying at libraries and taking up more responsibility at my super cool small business job and my work-from-home job, and was feeling content.

Suddenly, all parents got an email home that the school was hiring paraprofessionals (or teacher's aides, as some call them). I immediately applied, breathless with excitement. Could I really end up back in a classroom again? Helping teachers, who are generally some of my favorite people? At my daughter's school?

Well, yes, I can. I'll be heading over to the school in just half an hour. Lucky me! Back where I started, back for what I studied for (kind of), back with what matters. Awesome.

And I get to be nearer to this little darling.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Gymnastics: A New Adventure

So last night we tried something entirely new to Maeve; I enrolled her in a gymnastics class.

And you should have seen the look of sheer ecstasy on that girl's face for the entire hour of the class. She was bouncing with excitement, bursting at the seams to try every new thing. The class had a lot of running, unstructured time to use the equipment, and so many new things to try. And she grinned like a Cheshire cat, every single second.

So that's a definite yes, we went ahead and enrolled her. (It's nice that this place gives you a free trial class, but in our case, it was like a gateway drug and she had to have MORE!) While we're waiting for our marvelous yoga teacher to find a new studio and offer classes again, this seems like a winner.

It was incredible watching her last night, as she gamely gave a shot to fifteen things she'd never done before, in a room full of peers she didn't know and teachers she'd just met. This is not a small thing for my daughter. But she jumped at the chance.

I love it when she surprises me.

I mean, she does love going out on a limb ;)

Friday, September 30, 2016

Like Locked Doors

One of my friends was telling me she misses my blog here, and so do I, in truth. I don't want to write much about Maeve (or, I do, but I feel I owe it to her to preserve her privacy) but there are still plenty of things for me to write about.

For one thing, now that Maeve's in school all day, I suddenly have time to myself again. I feel like I'm waking from a long sleep, and have to figure out all over again who I want to be in this world full of adults.

I thought I wanted to work at a library, and I still do, but yesterday I found out I didn't get the position I applied for - despite doing what I believed was one of the best interviews of my life. It's disheartening to find that doing one's utter best in an interview doesn't necessarily correlate to being awarded a position. But I hear library jobs are highly competitive, which makes sense, because it's possibly one of the coolest places to work on Earth.

So now I'm doing VA (virtual assistant) work and also have taken a leadership position at my awesome kitchen retail job, which are both super cool, but neither gives me a sense of purpose, of who I am.

I know that lots of people don't find their sense of purpose or self at work, and it's not exactly new, but I still feel like I've emerged from a cocoon (of being "just a mom") and I'm looking around trying to find a mirror to see what I look like, what I am now. And nothing yet is giving me that picture clearly.

But as Rilke chides us, I am trying to be patient with the questions in my life, like locked doors or books written in a very foreign language.

Thursday, July 7, 2016


I don't know how to write about this.

I didn't know how to explain it yesterday.

But Maeve and I were discussing religion, and she wanted to know what we Unitarian Universalists believe, so I was giving her the rundown on the Seven Principles which the kids are taught in a simple song. I went through each one, explaining it, seeing what Maeve thought about each of the ideas.

I got to "Work for a peaceful world" and she didn't understand what that meant.

So I tried to explain all the ways I, personally, and our church work for peace in the world. 

Which led me to our work with the Black Lives Matter movement.

Which got me started explaining, briefly, the history of racism in this country and its effects today.

Which had me trying to explain who is it that thinks that black lives do not matter.

And all of a sudden I realize, how do I tell her that police are both the people she should find when she needs help, and a force that has so often taken the lives of innocent (or at least not found guilty by a jury) black citizens.

I don't know that she's old enough for that conversation.

I'm not sure that I am, either.