Holy ultra-serious blogeration, Batman!
Let’s take it down a notch or nine, shall we?
Because in spite of all the intensity I have expressed here recently, life is damn good right now.
“Damn good” is, of course, subjective. My damn good is not the same as yours (well, for a few of you it’s the same; you know who you are), but comparison is a road I avoid so let’s take a left turn and move on.
Carter is more stable than he has been in 18 months. He’s sleeping well most nights; we haven’t seen a genuine rage in quite awhile; even his anxiety has eased somewhat (and how happy am I that he can go to the bathroom alone again?). No way do I expect this to last. He’ll most likely fall apart tomorrow.
(That last bit was for the universe. Hello, Universe? Do not fuck with me. I am taking nothing for granted; I revel in every moment of health and happiness. There is no lesson I need to learn right now! I’m all learned up and humble so take a break! I will buy the scones and coffee and you can get some rest.)
Aaaand…(drum roll here) Carter went back to school last week! Life is better when Carter goes to school because he’s always calmer and happier when he’s busy. Also, I’m a much better mom when I’m not with him 24 hours a day. Really, I love that child from my hair to my toes, but he is intense.
Now that he’s in a year-round school, I love that Carter doesn’t lose as much ground over the long summer and there are more breaks during the year, all of a reasonable length. But what’s really awesome is driving him to school when the other moms in the neighborhood are looking down the barrel of four more weeks. I feel like I’m getting away with some kind of brilliant mom-crime.
In the midst of all this wonderfulness, this stability and sleeping at night and hours during the day during which I write in peace? There is room for me to think. I can feel my brain stretching out, relaxing, the cramps letting go. I have time for words, to use them to make sense of the world and myself.
Why yes, it is every bit as delightful as it sounds.
Spencer has been cleaning out our sun room (which, since we don’t use it much, has become a dumping ground for everything that doesn’t have a home of its own) and he found a Rubbermaid bin full of spiral notebooks. My old notebooks.
Let’s pause here for a moment. I’d like to suggest that, should one of your children discover a giant box full of your teenage angst poetry? You go hide before you commence with the reading and laughing. Otherwise, it’s quite likely that the child, and maybe some other children, and perhaps even your spouse, might take some of the notebooks and start reading. Then? The taunting and the mocking will commence. With gusto.
Under all that teenage angst poetry and faded scraps of paper (Most of which proclaimed my vast difference, and the immense difficulty of living in a world so devoted to conformity; ye gods, how was I to survive?) I found my fifth grade squiggle book.
I loved that squiggle book. I mean, loved it. I was hurt and upset that Mrs. Mills wouldn’t allow us to take the books home.
Pretty sure I was the only one.
They worked like this: Mrs. Mills opened each student’s spiral notebook to a blank page and made a little squiggle. We drew a picture from that squiggle (I hated the picture part and rushed through it.) and then wrote a story or poem based on the picture.
I was an avid reader from the time I became truly literate early in second grade, but that squiggle book made me fall in love with writing down my own words.
It also gave me my first taste of real success. I wasn’t athletic or popular and although I was intelligent, I wasn’t much of a student. But the writing? My teacher and the other students loved it. Every time Mrs. Mills gave me a super-writer award or read one of my poems out loud in front of the class, I got half an inch taller. Once, Mrs. Mills read one of my poems aloud to the class and one of my classmates asked, “Did that get a super writer award?” When Mrs. Mills said no, a noisy murmur went up. She should get one. We want her to get the award! That’s a good poem!
I’m pretty sure I would have busted my buttons if I’d been wearing any. To this day, that’s one of the proudest moments of my life.
When the end-of-the-school year awards assembly came around, I shuffled off the cafeteria with everyone else, dreading an hour of boredom while people collected awards for perfect attendance, good citizenship (I was a well-behaved kid, but nowhere near friendly enough for awards that hinged on being nice to others.), and accomplishments made in PE.
But then! What’s this? The two fifth grade teachers, standing in front of 50 almost-pubescent kids who couldn’t have smelled very nice, announced a Writer of the Year Award. I sat up straight. Could it be? Would it be me? Would I finally be the one to take home a trophy? A ribbon? A certificate? I imagined my dad’s face when I told him, saw my mom smiling at my accomplishment. Oh! I wanted that! I held my breath and waited, waited, waited for them to announce that…
Stephen Sanchez had won the Writer of the Year award.
Yes, that’s his real name, though it might be Steven. That was 30 years ago and I remember everything, even the expression on Stephen’s face as he walked down the center aisle to get his trophy and certificate.
If I had won that trophy and certificate? The certificate would be in a frame on the wall and the trophy would sit right next to my computer.
Reading through my old book (the wire is rusted and the pages are yellowing) is a treat. I remember feeling then, as I learned to write stories, that my brain was stretching out, relaxing. I found that when I wrote words down, put them in lines, I could make sense of the world and myself.
Happy happy sighs to be at home in myself now.
Universe? I am not testing you. Have another scone.
(Psssst…there’s this fun thing I want to do with my friend, and it’s silly and it will make me laugh. And you know how very important laughter is to me, right? So pop on over here and click the thumbs up next to my comment.)