Day #23 When you love someone

This song always makes my daughter cry. She refuses to play it even though she really likes it. The lyrics hit her in too raw a spot. And I don’t blame her, because I feel it too.

Come home early after class
Don’t be hanging ’round the back of the schoolyard
I’ve been called up a teacher
She says she can’t even reach you cause you’re so far

My daughter’s perfect world imploded in 2012 when I shouldered the responsibility of ending a less-than perfect 15-year marriage. We lost the house and she had to move into two different apartments in two different towns with two different parents. This is one case when having two is not better than one.

It don’t make sense, but nevertheless
You gotta believe us, it’s all for the best
It don’t make sense
The way things go

She complained that it wasn’t fair. It just didn’t make sense to her. We never fought, I never cried; the status quo should be just fine. All of her other friends had intact families, and she would be the only one from a broken home.

Sometimes moms and dads fall out of love
Sometimes two homes are better than one
Some things you can’t tell your sister ’cause she is still too young
Yeah you’ll understand
When you love someone

At 14, her older sister saw the tension, the excuses, and the pain. She knew about the lies, the empty bottles, and broken promises. She knew that other dads would play catch, would celebrate birthdays, would read bedtime stories, not just moms. But 11-year-olds don’t really understand infidelity and alcoholism and what real love means.

There ain’t no one here to blame
Nothing is going to change with your old friends

Maybe I should have told her that just because I asked for the divorce, it did not mean I wanted it. Maybe I should have told her that both your dad and I deserve to be happy, even though it means it is not with each other. Maybe I should have told her that sometimes you are stronger when you just let go, instead of hanging on.

So now at 15, traveling back in forth in the car. She refuses to play this song. Because even though her friends haven’t changed; all of the other parts of her world are NOT the same.

*Lyrics from James TW’s song “When you love someone
** Ideas for this slice came from . Check it out at her blog

Day #21: Model of the World

“There are no “rotten apples.”
There are only people who disagree with your point of view on things,
people who construct a different model of the world.
I am going to tell you this:
No persons do anything inappropriate, given their model of the world.
— N.D. Walsch

Today I saw a child sitting by himself outside of his classroom on a wooden bench. I sat down next to him and asked him why he was sitting on the bench.

“I got kicked out of class.”

“Humm… why did you get kicked out of class?”

“Because the teacher said I was being disrespectful.”

“Oh. (pause) What did you do that was disrespectful?”

“I threw my project on the floor.”

“I see. Why did you throw your project on the floor?”

“I didn’t want to present in front of the class.”

I kept up the questioning, digging deeper and deeper. He told me that he didn’t like presenting in front of the class. He felt his project wasn’t his best work. And he had to read a lot since he had written quite a bit. I asked him if he talked to his teacher and told her how he felt about his project, and he admitted he hadn’t. He said she was really mad right now, and we both agreed that probably he should wait until she had calmed down. He said he didn’t think she would believe him about the reasons why he didn’t want to present, about how he really felt. I asked him why, and he said it was because this wasn’t the first time he has been bad and made her mad in class. I asked him why he kept acting this way, and he told me that he had been kept back, and he really resented it. He didn’t want to be in 5th grade again, he wanted to be in the 6th grade with his friends. I asked him if his teacher was nice and cared about kids or if she was just teaching for the money. He laughed and looked me in the eye and said she really cared.

“How many more months do you have left of 5th grade?”

“3 months”

“Do you want to do this all over again?”

“No.”

“Do you think she knows how you really feel?”

“No.”

“Teachers are really smart, but we can’t get inside kids heads and hearts. Maybe you should talk to her about how you really feel so that the next 3 months are not terrible for the both of you. Then you can move on to 6th grade from a better place.”

I left him pondering on the bench. If I didn’t want to present a project that was terrible in front of my peers, what would I be willing to do? This makes me remember that no child is ever a “bad” child. They act out defensively, because some part of them is being threatened. How can we take the “threat” out of school and learning so we can see a child as they really are, not when they are in fight, flight, or fake/freeze (as in playing dead) mode?

Day#20: A Student’s Voice

Blah, blah, blah
That is all I hear
When you are talking
In the front of the room
As I am just sitting here…

Listening to others
Disrupting,
Invading,
Manipulating,
The classroom space

You think that you are in control
That we are all learning
But by the time you are done
My mind is blank,
The last 50 minutes forgotten
As if it never happened.

Today, I was a substitute educational technician in a public high school. I was so saddened by what I saw today… the lack of learning, teaching, and respect from both sides. So, I wrote this slice from the students’ perspective. I made a promise to myself today that I will always look at my teaching from the learning lens of my students.

Day #19: Phone Number Poem

2- Jekyll & Hyde

0-A rollercoaster ride

7-Always up and down, round and round

9-Making my stomach churn and heave with nervous tension

4-Wondering when it is

6-Going to all come crashing down

3-Praying for peace

3-Praying for help

4-Searching for some clarity

2-For freedom

I am not sure about the ending of this poem. The #2 just doesn’t feel quite right. I was thinking about changing it to 2- To leave.. or To change,  but those really weren’t quite right either. I’m just looking for two words that make it all stop… the stress, the chaos, the uncertainty… to be free from chains/burdens/repression/abuse. Maybe I will try to play with this one before the end of the month.

Day #18: Stamina (or lack of…)

Well, it is Day #18, and yesterday I hit the ceiling on my writing. My writing muscles are very weak, and I have reached the day in my writing routine when they are just plain spent. I cannot lift a hand to write (or a finger or two to type). Words are not forming in my mind. There is just nothing… blank space baby.

Because of this discomfort, I am regressing to my proverbial “safety blanket” — reading. I am reading up a storm. I don’t want to put a book down. I went to the library took out 6 books about gardening, went to Goodwill and grabbed two more books, and went to the MSL 5-for-5 program and grabbed 9 YA books. I am rationalizing my inability to write today by saying, “Hey, you are a great reader! It is ok. You just have writer’s block. Everyone gets it. You are just reading so much to get inspiration.”

Actually, I am just procrastinating because I don’t think I can be a writer today. Actually, it’s because I don’t think I am a writer. I am just trying to be one. And right now, I am not succeeding. To take an idea from the book I am reading (Switch by C. Heath & D. Heath): my elephant is stuck in the mud, my rider is exhausted, and I lost the path.

I am hoping that tomorrow will be a different day. That I will find my muse again. That the rest I get tonight will rejuvenate my tired muscles… so I can last (and be productive) the 13 more days of SOL Challenge.

Day #17: Currently

watching        college softball, college basketball, Lucifer, & Grey’s Anatomy

listening         to PHOX, Shakey Graves, Lake Street Dive, & Sam Hunt

appreciating   the wood stove, warm tea, books, sleep, & snow days

loving              my four cuddly cats, two beautiful daughters, & myself

eating              organic foods, gluten-free, & paleo diet

drinking          tea with honey & water with lemon slices

wishing           for nothing… I am trying to “be” what I want

planning         plants, shrubs, and trees for a new landscape design

reading          professional books, YA books, lots of Twitter posts & SOLs