Posts Tagged ‘life lessons’

Running & a middle school boy’s wisdom

My son and husband are watching a televised track meet being held in my hometown.

My mom used to take my siblings running along that track. We were all fast runners, something I thought we’d inherited from our dad until my mom’s cousin exclaimed how fast she always ran.

I was in middle school the one and only time I was chosen first for a team. My P.E. teacher explained my class would be running various durations for the next several weeks. She’d pool each team’s time for each run and tally them at the end. The team ending the challenge with the shortest total running time would get a school store credit.

Tim, a quiet boy I knew only as a skater, was named a team leader. He was told he could choose before other team leaders. He named me without skipping a beat.

I was shocked. A weirdo in weird clothes, I was always chosen last or close to it. It never occurred to me that a middle schooler might choose teammates based not on popularity but skill. Indeed, many adults haven’t mastered this! Read more…

Leaving stones unturned

There’s this TV
detective, Backstrom,
who hates everything but
catching bad guys

Racing to find a victim
before she dies, he
grudgingly joins a
prayer circle;
he did, after all,
say he’d do anything
to find her
(no caveats
for things he finds ludicrous)

In stillness,
he sees things
concealed from him

He finds
not by seeking
something new
but by stopping to view
what’s already there

(like today)
I need to
remind myself
(like Backstrom)
that the answer isn’t always
in finding every stone to turn
but in standing still long enough
to see the ones
already there
all along

Laughing at myself

“Would you like to buy some Girl Scout cookies?” a small, bespectacled girl asked me as I left the grocery store.

“No, thank you!” I said as I cruised past.

“Good job being brave!” I heard her mom encouraging her.

Her mom’s words bounced around my brain as I crossed the lot toward my car.

Brave? I guess it is, huh?

I turned around and returned to the girl’s table.

“Tell you what!” I said as I handed her five dollars. Read more…

Be brave without me

Yesterday I cooked five dishes in one two-hour burst. This wasn’t my idea of fun, but a first practice run.

I go back to work in three weeks. I will be gone almost twelve hours daily, leaving me with just one waking hour each evening to spend with my kiddos.

I want to spend every minute of that with my kids.

Every. Single. One.

So, for now and once each week before returning, I’m building my cooking multitasking muscles by cooking many large dishes in one short burst.


Driving to preschool this morning, still aching at the thought of being separated from my kids so much, I interrupted my four-year-old’s Ninja Turtle drawing. “Soon we won’t have this much time together every morning, so I’m glad we have it now.”

“Are you going back to work?” he inquired, still drawing. Read more…

Escape from Terror Teacher

I knew something was wrong with my son’s new school the moment I absorbed the incident report.

My initial response was horror. “My sweet, sensitive son did that? What on earth is happening at the school for him to do such a thing?”

Exhausted from tending to his baby brother and in the throes of post partum depression, I focused my chagrin on him. “I am so disappointed in you!” I told him repeatedly as we drove home.

“But he told me I had to!” Read more…

“How are you raising him?!”

My Friday evening took a scary, unexpected turn when a neighbor intercepted my son and me on our porch. “Come here,” he told my three-year-old son, Li’l D. Li’l D hid behind my legs.

Conversations with this neighbor had been friendly to date, so I smiled and said, “Nope. That’s not likely to happen. He saw a cricket on the door, and he’s convinced all bugs are out to get him!”

My neighbor ignored me, instead addressing my son again. “I told you to come here.” He held out his hand and said, “Come here and take my hand.”

Bemused by the weird turn of the conversation, I said, “No. I don’t believe in forcing kids to respond to adults, even close friends. It’s important training for them learning to trust their instincts.”

Again my neighbor ignored me and demanded my son respond to him. Li’l D planted himself more firmly behind my legs. Again, more vehemently, I said, “No.”

“How are you raising him?!” my neighbor demanded, finally addressing me. Read more…

Wanted To Buy: Takebacks

Oh, yeah!

Oh, yeah!

I was barely sixteen when I first moved out of my mom’s house.

I stayed with a girlfriend, S, from the local community college, where I’d just begun my third term of studies in what would prove a successful bid to get out of high school a year early.

I managed six weeks of living with S before I decided home wasn’t such a bad place to be. As I wrote in my online journal:

I don’t want to go “home,” but I don’t want to live with S. She drives me crazy. Not even the siblings make me nuts in the same way does S.

Eventually I’d discover that shared lodging often breeds resentment, but at the time, I was sure S was the problem. Well, her and her rabbit. Also her 3 a.m. phone calls from her mom, who’d demand S awaken me so she could tell us how very, very much she loved both of us.

Life at my mom’s house seemed oh so sweet by comparison. For a couple of weeks. I let her know how grateful I was by saying things like, “I hate you! I’ll hate you forever!” and–because I knew it got under her skin like nothing else I could say–”I wish I’d never been born!” Read more…


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