Moving On

Standard

Our VERY best friends are moving. And they aren’t just moving down the street they are moving a full state away.
We are moving too of course. We bought the house they lived in and loved for over a decade. Because I can’t imagine a Christmas Eve after all these years that isn’t spent waiting for Santa in that living room. Smelling gingerbread men bake and waiting for the one who escapes from the oven. I love that house and all the memories it holds, and all the great new memories it promises.
But today I’m just sad. Sad because in less than 48 hours my very best friend will be 8 hours away, not 8 blocks. Sad because she takes with her my children’s best friends. Sad because my husbands best friend goes with her too. Sad because she won’t be there to laugh with me as I fix up my amazing new house…
I’ve decided that it’s okay to be sad today because our very BEST friends are moving. I want my girls to know it’s okay to be sad. I want them to know it is ok to grieve the change in seasons even as you celebrate the all the new things they have to offer. So tonight I will be sad. And soon we will go visit our friends and they will come visit us, because seasons change but real friendships last forever.

The “Horax” told me “how lucky” I am, for all “the places” I’d go, thank you “Sam I am.”

Standard

Despite constant assertions that reading to children is essential in their development I cannot help but feel as though books by Theodor Seuss Geisel as well as a wide variety of other author’s are dismissed as somehow unessential reading.  As it is March 2, the day we appreciate crazy hats and crazy cats, crazy ways and crazy phrase, please allow me to hop up onto to my soapbox for moment.

I grew in a “homemade house.” A house where jelly, peaches, pickles, and much else only came in jars marked “Kerr” not “Dole,” not “Claussen.”  I wore hand-me-downs, knew that a flea market was not where people sold fleas, and could make a toy out of a box.  As I have said before, I grew up where books had more value than money, often because money was harder to come by, and the library was free.

The poorest of children can be rich in a book.  The loneliest of children can have friends in a fairytale.  The saddest of children find a laugh in the funny pages.  The slowest kid in class gets to be as fast as super man on the pages of a comic book.  The kid who cannot escape four walls finds out about “all the places they will go.”

It is because of books by Dr. Seuss that I was able to read books by Shel Silverstein. It is because of that, I learned this:

“Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”

It is because I read that, that books became more than an imaginary escape hatch, they became the real way out to a life better than the one I was born into.  The ability to read offered me the ability to write.  I went to college not on a trust fund, but on the pages of essays I wrote for scholarship applications.  Children who are taught to read early are given a head start to a life they are able to choose, rather than a life that was chosen for them.

Today honor Dr. Seuss.  Read to a child.  Donate a book to a library.  Teach a child to read.  At the very least remember that if you are reading this, someone did it for you.

 

One does what one can.

Standard

Many years ago a man was walking down the road and he saw a small bird lying with its feet up in the air. The man said to the bird “Little bird, what are you doing?”
The bird said “Holding up the sky.”
The man laughed and said “But surely your little legs cannot hold up the sky?”
The bird said, “One does what one can.”

My mother told us this joke often as children, but what was once only a dry joke, has now become my mantra.

Lately, I find myself at the mercy of Life. There is little I can do about:
the recession
the necessity of IEPs (Individual Education Plans)
my children’s penchant for catching every germ that runs through town
and most recently,
my brother’s deployment to a war zone

The way I see it I have two choices:
Be Chicken Little and scream “The SKY IS FALLING,”
or toughen up and start doing what I can.

While trying to find a way to honor my
wonderful,
irritating,
faithful,
frustrating,
big hearted,
bratty
brother
while he is gone, a light bulb came on. Or rather my 10 year old brought to light that if “Uncle David can workout in Afghanistan, we should workout here.” Thus, the “couch to 5K” journey has begun.

There are several reasons I am NOT doing this.  I am not doing this because it will bring David home faster or safer, or because I might set any world records (I assure you I won’t).

I am doing what I can, where I can with what I have.  One does what one can.

I cover my ear buds with earmuffs and run in snow boots, because my “track” is covered in snow, but that is the track I have.  I use my iPhone to run a “couch to 5K” app that tells me exactly what to do because I am NOT a runner, but I can follow directions.

I can focus on being healthier, while working toward a goal that honors my brother’s appreciation for fitness. I can spend time running for free, feeling good about my choices, rather than mourning the loss of financial freedom to buy more “stuff” (which is why I use my husband’s hand-me-down sunglasses). I can do something character building with my daughter and focus on her strengths.

If life seems a little too big for you right now, if you feel like the sky is falling, join me; together we will do what we can.