Tuesday, November 9, 2010

About Face

I sat for a long time this morning, considering the face in the mirror, surveying the damage like a landlord deciding whether or not to return the security deposit. When did all these spots get here? Brown and red, small and not so small. And lines. Long ones between the brows from years of reading with expression, small ones framing the lips from hours of shushing noisy children. Above the face, errant grays, below it, gathering jowls. I see my mother. Oh Sweet Jesus, right there, on the left cheek, my Grandmother.

Happy birthday?

Some people are gracious about aging, mature, grown up. They see their wrinkles as the reward of years of laughter and love. Their spots and splotches are badges of honor from time well spent.

I'm not one of those people. I just see middle-age. And I liked youth better.

I am 46 today. I can almost feel myself cresting the peak, beginning the steady descent. Let's just hope Frank Sinatra was right—the best is yet to come.

As I scrutinize this tired face, my son's voice intrudes on my self-pity. He is laughing and chattering like only children do. Beyond him, the familiar sounds of my husband, fixing lunches and pouring egg nog into my coffee, just the way I like it.

I'd trade this old face for a young one in a second. But not if it meant returning to a life before them. I may even take a new wrinkle or two, if that's what it took to keep them.

Happy birthday indeed.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Keeping His Head

My seven-year-old has a mind of his own. Even when he doesn't have a head.

He never wants to be whatever the popular costume is. Never a transformer or a superhero. Never anything Disney. And I guess it shouldn't come as a surprise. When your kid was watching Batman cartoons, ours was memorizing Michael Jackson's zombie moves in Thriller.

Last year he was a mummy. This year, The Headless Horseman.

He loved it, for about 12 minutes.

Then the shoulders started slipping.

And the layers got too hot.

So he ended up trick or treating in black jeans and his mom's white button down shirt. When people asked what he was, he called himself a cowboy.

But I think he's an angel.

Or a Muslim woman going to disco.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

My Little Tiger

And he's still got that new cub smell.
. .

Sunday, September 26, 2010

A Friend in Need

My friend Melanie has it going on. She is blissfully married to the man of her dreams, has two healthy, successful sons, is partner in a flourishing law practice, has amazing friends and is still smoking hot well into her forties. If she weren't so damn fun to be around, a girl could really hate her.

I know it sounds like Melanie has it all, but sadly, she is still one critical level shy of climbing all the way to the pinnacle of happiness.

Melanie's Hierarchy of Needs

Thank God she has devoted friends like me who are there to throw her a rope and help pull her up to the summit. And last night, we made time in our busy lives to do just that.

Knowing that true self-actualization can only be reached by going the distance alone, we stepped aside and let Melanie negotiate the final steps of the ascent.

She gave it her all, from the comprehensive Google search of fall cocktail recipes to the thorough scouring of liquor store shelves, but I fear I must report that Melanie's efforts were not successful. Her attempt to grasp the perfect fall cocktail turned up instead something that she herself best described as tasting "like ass."

And so, Melanie will continue to seek perfection, in life, and in cocktails. And her friends, loyal to the end, will stand by her side, drinking tirelessly until at last her quest is fulfilled. Because that is what true friends do, people. That is what true friends do.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Too Good To Be True

Because I like living indoors and eating at regular intervals, I avoid blogging about any school related topics that could be construed as negative or critical. If you don't believe me, just see if you can find a single word in my archives about my previous aide.

Moving on.

But then, I moved to my new school. And there was Sarah. The words "new and improved" don't begin to cover it. Sarah, in a word, is perfect. She has an innate understanding of how a classroom, my classroom, should be run. I think it; she does it. Truth be told, she's smarter than I am and much more organized. I should be her aide. Sarah is in grad school and next year she'll be a full-fledged teacher herself. For a brief sliver of time, the kids in our room have had the rare privilege of two equally qualified teachers. However, through a fluke of bureaucracy, Sarah is not qualified to be a Pre-K aide.

Yeah. Moving on.

So tomorrow, she's leaving me. When something seems too good to be true and all that. I'm sure her replacement will be just fine; everything at this new school seems conspicuously better.

I just hope I don't hate her for not being Sarah.

Thank you, Sarah, for the best 16 days of my teaching career. I miss you already.
. .
. .

Friday, August 27, 2010

Happily Ever After

It was last spring when my principal broke the news. Due to the shifting student population, my school would be losing one of our three Pre-K classes. Due to lousy decision making skills resulting in a complete inability to pick a career until my thirties, I had least seniority. I was being transferred, like it or not. As an elderly person, I did not embrace this sudden and involuntary change. Given the choice, I would have stayed put, surrounded by the comforting known.

Sometimes, it's a really good thing I don't always get what I want.

I've been at the new school seven days now, and even with my trusty Merriam-Webster Online just a click away, I couldn't possibly find the words to say how happy I am. Over the moon happy. Clicking my heels happy. It's 2:35 already? happy.

Strange things happen at this new school that I hope I never get used to. Things like the principal going out of her way to make sure I have what I need to be happy, even on a Saturday. And a teacher wishing me a "winning" year, and handing me a lottery ticket. Or an aide showing up out of the blue, wondering if I needed anything done. Then there's the (handsome!) counselor stopping by just to read to the kids.

The Lunch Lady isn't even mean.

Weird, right?

And then there's Sarah, my aide, who is sweet and smart and hard-working and reliable and agreeable and cooperative and very possibly perfect. If I had to, I would pay her myself just to have her with me every day.

But I haven't even told you the best part yet. Every once in a while, just for a second, I see him.

And, well, I just don't have the words.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Look Moms, No Hands!

When a Pre-K teacher meets her new parents at the beginning of a school year, there are certain questions she can expect: What time should I pick him up at the end of the day? Can she have a teddy bear for nap time? That sort of thing.

But this year I got a question I wasn't expecting: Can you touch the children?

The first person to come up with a sadder or more disturbing question than that wins the deed to my house! Hell, I'll even toss in the dog, because I know nobody's coming up with anything to top that.

Can you touch the children. In Pre-K.

sigh . . . .

Unfortunately, she didn't just pull the question out of thin air. She asked because her sister's kids go to a popular new school in our area that has a strict no-touching policy. Because I'm sure if some creepy pedophile does happen to get a job there, he wouldn't think of breaking policy. Well, I was going to defile that kid over there, but damn the luck! There's a policy!

There are bad people in the world, it's true. And there's nothing that should be more jealously guarded than our children's safety. But denying a child a comforting hug, a deserved pat on the back, or a reassuring hand to hold, in my opinion, has the potential to cause more harm than it prevents.

As for my Pre-K kids, I started the year by giving them each a beautiful little welcome gift ~


Sidewalk Chalk

Rainbow Marshmallow Twist

And a big hug.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Hot Dog!

No matter how sweltering the weather, it rarely bothers me as much as it does most people. My husband will be sopping wet with sweat while I'm tucking an afghan around my knees. Somehow, my body just seems to stay cooler than normal humans. I may well be slowly dying from poor circulation. But I'm okay with that, because even in Arkansas, there's rarely a day hot enough for me to resort to air conditioning in my car.

Today was one of those days. August is not pussyfooting around, y'all.

When I ran out to do a few errands today, the temperature was every bit of 100° with a heat index of 368°. By the time I walked from the house to the car, I looked like a Salvador Dali painting. There was no way in hell I was sitting in that car without cranking the AC as high as it would go. And why not? No one in their right mind would be caught dead in an un-air conditioned car on a day like today.

At least no one who could help it.

When I opened my car door at the Office Depot, the first thing I noticed was the oppressive slap of hot air across my face. The next thing I noticed was the barking. It was coming from a sleek, sexy silver sports car. Or more specifically, from the frantic bite-sized Yorkie trapped inside it.

Sadly, I am not making this up.

Despite the rotisserie-like temperature, goose bumps immediately crowded my flesh. I began muttering cuss words under my breath, more or less. I don't think I could have been more livid if it had been a child. And I'm not even an animal person. God help the poor son of a bitch who does this in my sister's neck of the woods.

I huffed to the front door and waited a long minute or two, deciding what to do. Minding my own business was the first option ruled out. Soon enough, a beautiful young couple strode out of the store, hipsters with too much disposable income and not enough sense. I glared at them as they sauntered toward the car, debating whether I should deliver a searing lecture or stay more true to character and just talk smack about them behind their backs for the next few weeks. It was the woman who made her way to the driver's door. "Awww . . . look at this poor doggie," she sighed. And they went to their real car and drove away.

Once inside the store, I all but accosted the first uniform-clad body I saw. In the most controlled voice I could dredge up, I spat, "Somebody has their fucking dog locked in a car out there. Will you please make an announcement and tell them that I'm waiting five more minutes and CALLING THE POLICE!" I'm nothing if not classy.

I heard a small voice say, "It's my dog." I turned to see an attractive blonde woman at the check out. She was wearing strappy high heel sandals and a slinky white dress that gave her a Greek goddess quality. I wondered if I could kill her with an EXPO marker.

Although I hardly even yell at my own husband, I definitely heard myself say, "SISTER!? DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW HOT IT IS OUT THERE?!"

"I only had to run in for a minute," Venus explained.


Surprisingly, she didn't answer. But I'm sure I'll see her again. She's probably my new principal.

Friday, July 30, 2010

It's Not What You Say, It's How You Say It

Another year as summertime nanny to a couple of sweet little boys has come to a close. Because I'm not grown up enough to wait for praise and affirmation to come naturally, sometimes I might give a little gentle nudge, just to assure my fix. So I came right out and asked each of the boys if they'd miss me. (I know, pitiful. Shut up.)

The older boy said what I wanted to hear, but not exactly in the way I wanted to hear it. He said, "Yeah," but his tone was exactly what one might expect if I had asked him if he'd like to tag along on a trip to the fabric store.

The younger boy, though?

"I'm really gonna miss you," I prompted. "You think you might miss me, too?" His little forehead contorted slightly, his big brown eyes brimming with confusion.

"Well yeah," he said. But if you heard his tone, you might think I had just asked if he'd be disappointed if Santa skipped his house this year. While I usually cringe at the duh inflection, this time it was music.

I've always loved those boys equally. It's not right to have favorites. But if you asked me right now if one of them took up just a little more space in my heart, I'd probably answer, "Well yeah."


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Easy Rider

"How much longer?"

"Are we almost there?"

"This is taking for-ehhhhh-ver!"

I swear, if I heard one more complaint about how long the drive to Florida was taking, I was seriously going to choke somebody.

Except, the only one to choke was me.

From me, my six-year-old got his bright blue eyes and his ability to work a room. But thank God (or St. Christopher), it was from his father that he got his traveling genes. His father, who thinks it would be "fun" to get in the car and head west, just drive and drive and drive, until we reach the other side. Or I jump out and let him run me over, whichever comes first. The two of them were happy as clams each of the excruciatingly long hours we were trapped in our Subaru, completely oblivious to our state of painful captivity, our inescapable, interminable inability to move. Nary a peep from either of them. But I suffered each mile, not wasting precious mental energy keeping my misery to myself. As we rolled past a string of correctional facilities, I envied the inmates their freedom to stand up and stretch. Lucky bastards.

I've always been like this, counting down the mile markers, anxious to be there, wherever there may be. All that clichéd garbage about life being a journey? Bullshit. Just get me to my destination already.

But not my kid. He was amazing. Miraculous, really. Almost twelve hours strapped into his booster and the closest thing to a complaint I heard out of him was, "Do you mind pulling over a minute so I can poo?"

Even though my DNA had nothing to do with his incorrigible happiness, I'm still taking partial credit because I was the one who packed his "Little Bag of Tricks." While I have no idea how to keep myself from becoming suicidal on the road, here are a few ideas if you're traveling with kids.

Little Bag of Tricks (contents may vary)

  • several quiet activities, like magnet board games
  • a variety of art supplies, including markers, crayons, rubber stamps and ink pad, notepad, and even a dreaded coloring book (you can worry about fostering creativity later)
  • quart sized Ziploc bags filled with Matchbox cars, animals, guys
  • electronics — we went with his Leapster, a portable DVD player and an iPod*
  • movies on DVD, books on CD
  • a lapdesk
  • plenty of road-ready snacks, like trail mix and pistachios

The original plan was for me to be master of the bag and only toss back activities as needed, but then I remembered that I have feet and would need a place to stow them. So the bag ended up in his control, and other than a little more mess than I had envisioned, he did great managing on his own. In fact, next year we might let him sit up front and be the grown up while I curl up in a fetal position in the backseat and whine.

Don't think I can't see where all this is leading — his love of the open road, his eagerness to go anywhere and welcome whatever adventure comes next. But I'm not going to worry about it yet. I'll probably be long gone before it comes to this . . .

Especially if we take that road trip out west.

* That part about me getting credit for packing the bag of tricks? Truth be told, our wonderful, generous, genius friend Melanie gets all the credit. The iPod, which entertained him for about ten out of the twelve hours, was her contribution, complete with its Beyoncé and Lady Gaga packed playlist. It kept our boy rocking down the highway. Maybe I should have been listening in with him, instead of finding every boring NPR station in five states.

Thanks, Melanie!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Catch .22

When you do 90% of your shopping at garage sales, it tends to make you a bit naïve about the real world of consumerism. I'm sure I'd be the worst failure ever in the history of The Price Is Right, what with my impossibly sheltered exposure to reality. A brand new Cadillac Escalade, Bob? I'll say $10,000!

Well turns out it's not just my idea of what things cost that's warped. Last night we went to Academy Sports to pick up a few necessities for our upcoming vacation: water shoes, sunglasses, swimsuits, that sort of thing. I strolled down the beach accessory aisle, contemplating the potential of SpongeBob boogie boards and Jumbo Castle Molding sets. At the end of the aisle, I took a right, and found myself suddenly in front of a display of items not on my list.

Other than that living-under-a-rock thing, I have no excuse for how shocked I was. I'm fully aware that the Second Amendment is alive and well in America, I just didn't realize it was subletting space next to the yoga mats and soccer balls at my local sporting goods store. I get it that hunting is a sport. I can even buy in to the idea that it's necessary and noble, although my husband will never see me naked again if he ever pulls into our driveway with a bloody deer splayed across his Subaru.

But handguns? PINK fucking handguns?! Really? REALLY?

Not one for playing it cool when completely over-reacting is an option, I grabbed my six-year-old by the arm and yanked him out of the aisle like it was on fire. They may as well have been selling freshly severed human heads. But then I couldn't help but wander back, over and over, while my husband kept my son a safe distance from the clearly hazardous unloaded weapons. Eventually I struck up a conversation with the man behind the counter, Max, who is probably writing about me in his blog right now, too. I needed to know why the pink. Why the intentional effort to make lethal weapons look cute. He told me what any normal woman would have instinctively known, "Women like to accessorize." Then he laughed and added, "And when the manly men come in and make fun of them, I just tell 'em, 'Well wouldn't you feel foolish if you had to tell somebody you got shot with a pink pistol?' "

Oh Max, I think feeling foolish would be low on his list of pressing concerns.

So then I asked about the ridiculously adorable Deringers on display. These fun-sized versions of the weapon that John Wilkes Booth carried into Ford's Theatre to do his part for the Confederacy are now, apparently, all the rage with ladies who lunch. According to Max, the infinitely concealable Deringer is the way to go, especially in the summertime, if you don't want your piece messing up your silhouette. Linen can be so unforgiving.

I had to ask Max, how many ordinary citizens are there walking around Arkansas with these things lurking amid their Kroger cards and Altoids? At first he said thousands, then shook his head and corrected himself, "No, tens of thousands." At which point another employee walked over and really blew my mind, "No, it's more like 300,000."

I'm not going to rage against the Second Amendment. I understand that people have the right to bear arms, and to protect their families. But I don't think our founding fathers could have envisioned The Real Housewives of Little Rock accessorizing their ensembles with pearlescent pink .22s. Just as toy guns should not be made to look real, real guns should not be made to look like toys.

The Children's Defense Fund offers this chilling statistic: In one year, more children and teens died from gunfire than from cancer, pneumonia, influenza, asthma, and HIV/AIDS combined. If you must own a gun, at least have the sense to pick one that looks scary as hell. Then lock it in a box painted with zombies and tarantulas and bury the box in a pit full of pythons.

And don't invite my kid over.
. .

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Olly Olly Oxen Free

Days like this don't come around every day in Arkansas. Well they do, but not until October. In July, the combination of cool temperatures, low humidity and intermittent breeze falls somewhere between a gift and a miracle. Which is why I did what I can only assume all good mothers did today: I locked my child out.


At first, it was a bit like a prison break in reverse, him and his pals searching for breaches in the security and sneaking back inside. At one particularly low point, I even caught them crawling through the doggie door. But I was undeterred. I ignored their protests, shooed them back out and wedged heavy furniture in front of all points of entry. I won't kid you, there were a few moments when I was in serious jeopardy of mutiny. But they're really too short to do much damage, so I persevered.

A little later, a neighbor girl noticed the signs of life on the lawn and came out to investigate. Her nanny conscientiously came over too, to see if maybe we were evacuating because of a fire or carbon monoxide leak. When the little girl decided to join the boys in the yard, I felt a tiny surge of success. Right up until I overheard her say, "My nanny said however long I stay outside, that's how long I get to play Wii when I go in." Of course she did.

I'm coming to the unnerving conclusion that children are losing their ability to play. It makes me wonder: Has Kick the Can kicked the bucket? Has Donkey Kong killed Pin the Tail on the Donkey? Has Hide and Seek gone into hiding? Or is it our children who are in hiding? When our kids are holed up on the couch, playing video games or watching TV, there is comfort in knowing that they're safe. Our neurotic fears of kidnappers and child molesters and 16-year-old drivers texting behind the wheel get to take a breather. But I don't believe kids are really any more at risk out in the world today than we were as kids. Since 1993, crime rates have actually been steadily tumbling. It's just that we've developed an insatiable hunger for coverage of the crimes that do occur. How can we help but imagine every horrific way our child could be harmed when television pumps an endless stream of images into our brains. And we refuse to look away.

There are dangers out in the world to be sure, but to my mind, the greater danger is in not sending them out. We may be protecting their bodies, but we're killing their souls. What seeds can a child plant in the fallow land of his living room? It is only beyond those four buffering walls where discoveries are made, where unique thoughts are cultivated and sown. Toy manufactures know this, and take names like Discovery Toys and Creative Playthings. But what discovery can be made when another human being has already done all the creating? Children need to explore the world with their own eyes, not experience it through a facsimile of someone else's perception. They need to feel the cold lake on their toes to know boundless possibility. They must hold the wriggling frog in their own hand to know the pulsing energy of life.

Rachel Carson never had children, but she understood nature well enough to know, "A child's world is fresh and new and beautiful, full of wonder and excitement. It is our misfortune that for most of us that clear-eyed vision, that true instinct for what is beautiful, is dimmed and even lost before we reach adulthood." Parents stand with their hand powerfully poised before the dimmer switch. We can choose a low setting, or we can throw open the back door and send our children intrepidly into the big, bright, limitless world.

If we don't, who will design the video games for their children?

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Come On In, The Water's Fine (limited time offer)

While I can't recommend giving birth in Arkansas in mid-August, there is a silver lining. (Or, if you want to get technical, a bright blue vinyl lining.) Every year, just in time for his birthday party, Big Box stores are tripping over each other trying to move swimming pools.

My thrifty husband had been keeping an eagle eye on the sales, watching the prices get whittled ever thinner as summer wore on. Just in time for the party, he found a price so good he bought two! (I am not making this up.)

Because we had been waiting out the price war, or perhaps because we are morons, we waited until the morning of the party to set up the pool. Come on, it says Easy Set right on the box, how hard could it be? Well, turns out, pretty freaking hard. We dutifully consulted the directions, right after we noticed that our pool looked more like something discarded on the floor of a truck stop men's room than a pool. There may have been one or two vague allusions to the benefits of a level surface. Something along the lines of YOUR POOL ABSOLUTELY MUST BE SET UP ON AN ABSOLUTELY, PERFECTLY LEVEL SURFACE OR IT ABSOLUTELY WILL NOT HOLD WATER AND SWIMMERS WILL BE AT RISK OF IMMINENT DEATH AND DISFIGUREMENT blah blah blah. So, funny thing, turns out the hill in our back yard may not have been ideal.

But the kids were troupers. Even if there were only 11 inches of water, all perilously hovering in a thin ridge along the back wall of the pool, it was wet and they were happy. As for the adults, we buy alcohol by the case, so no one seemed to notice. The minute we sobered up the next day, we dumped out what little water remained and dragged the soggy shell up under the deck to dry before neatly storing it away for winter.

Three weeks ago, when I decided to give the pool another go for this season, it came to my attention that neat storage is not our strong suit. The liner was dejectedly waiting, right where we abandoned it ten months ago, in a moist heap on a lawn chair. To its credit, it made the most of its downtime, cultivating close personal relationships with all manner of slimy lifeforms. It seemed almost a shame to break them up they'd grown so close, but after a few hours on my hands and knees, scrubbing with bleach in the Arkansas sun, the only slimy thing left in the yard was me. I found the most level surface we own, turned the hose on high, and let the cool water slowly rise around me.

For most people, this would be the happy ending. But as I mentioned above, I am a moron. You'd think several hours of intimate contact with slimy green microorganisms would have given me a clue, but it never occurred to me that my cute little Easy Set pool would require care. I thought I'd just fill 'er up and add kids, but the algae had other plans. Within days, the pool went from sparkling cool and clear to this . . . .

No, really.

We're not entirely sure how the squirrel bit it, but our money's on nut allergies.

The good news is, I've gotten so handy at scrubbing the pool with bleach that this time it only took an hour. To date, that brings us to about 25 hours hard labor and 9000 gallons of water for an hour and a half of fun.

Totally worth it.
. .

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Way to My Heart

Earlier this week, we celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary. After so many years together, my man knows the most direct route to my heart. That's why he didn't take any detours to flower shops or wrong turns at the mall. He headed straight for the one thing that never fails to bring a smile to my face. And he saw that smile, the second he walked through the door with that beautiful box in his hand.

No, not that box.

This one.

Because really, when a girl has all of this, what more could she possibly want?

Happy Anniversary, baby. What say we go another ten?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Reunited and it feels so good

There were only 23 people in my class.

Most of the folks who witnessed me hiding under Miss Lawrence's piano on the first day of kindergarten were by my side still as I smiled and walked away with my diploma. The lot of us lived on the lower tier of middle class, small town girls and boys, every last one of us white as Wonder Bread. The range of diversity spanned only the tiniest sliver of the color wheel, from olive-skinned Vinnie Cappabianca to alabaster Erin Brannigan. Something else we share in common is a collective apathy about reuniting. For many of us, the moment our paths diverged in 1982, we became strangers. In almost thirty years, we have yet to so much as get together for a beer. Some of us have made the virtual reconnection made possible through the magic of Facebook, and some have come together for a smattering of lunches and cocktails. There are also a precious few friendships that have stood the test of time, people whose lives have been forever intertwined by the shared experiences of youth. But for some mysterious reason, an overall sense of communal belonging has eluded us. Or at least it's eluded me.

Last weekend, I attended my first class reunion . . . not with my class, but with my husband, and the Little Rock Central High Class of 1980. And it was magical. I left it with much more than aching feet and a mild hangover. I left with inspiration. Watching these old friends reconnect was a beautiful thing. It was clear that these people didn't just walk the same halls together thirty years ago, they didn't just share notes and giggle about the same teachers. Somehow, they became a family. I watched as they embraced and laughed and danced and reminisced. Their smiles were genuine. When one woman fell ill in the midst of her old friends, their concern was equally genuine. These were not just classmates, these were friends, bound by more than just the past.

But what was it, I wondered; what made this class so special? Was it their size (nearly 500 strong) or their diversity (smiling faces in every shade from ivory to ebony). Maybe each of them has been forever changed, made better, simply by the unique privilege of having shared a place and time with their extraordinary classmate, Roosevelt Thompson. Or, maybe they had no choice but to come together to weather the devastation of his life being cut tragically short. Or perhaps there is just something in the air at Central High, some lingering essence that students pick up through osmosis simply by sharing classrooms that were once rife with hatred and struggle, intolerance and cruelty. Within the walls of this school, injustice was fought, ignorance was challenged, history was made. Perhaps just spending time there imparts the profound understanding that friendship is no small thing, but an honor, a gift to be cherished and preserved.

Elizabeth Eckford, Little Rock Central High, 1957

Whatever it was that knit this group together, I was proud to be in their presence. And I feel certain that Ernest Green, Elizabeth Eckford, Jefferson Thomas, Terrence Roberts, Carlotta Walls LaNier, Minnijean Brown, Gloria Ray Karlmark, Thelma Mothershed, and Melba Beals would be proud, too.

I am inspired, and I'm funneling that inspiration into plans for my own 30 year reunion. Not so that I can compare what we had to what my husband's class had, not so that we can compare how far we've come or how much we've changed. But so I can remind myself of what these people already know, that friendship is precious and we should grab it with both hands, and hold on.
. .

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Nice Work If You Can Get It

I was eight months pregnant as the 2002-2003 school year came to a close. Although we'd miss the income, I was committed to my plan of giving up teaching to stay home with my son until he was ready for Kindergarten. But then, one of my best friends scooped me up to watch her son a few hours a week.

Over time, everything grew — the job, the boys, the friendship, my gratitude. I still can't believe she pays me for this . . . .

I swear some days I feel like I should be paying her. But please don't tell her.
. .

Monday, May 31, 2010

The People in My Neighborhood

When we moved to our current house, we weren't so much moving to something as away. Let's just say I didn't get along with my old neighbors and leave it at that.

We expected to be happier here, but how could we have imagined this.

There's a name for neighbors like these: magic. And I hope it never ends.