If you give a child a cookie…

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(If it was a hard day for me…..chances are…..it was a harder day for her.)

 

If you give a child a cookie

maybe she will be grateful

maybe in her heart she’ll feel

you really care and remember it

 

You know that she hasn’t had breakfast for the last three mornings

 

but

Chances are she won’t let on.

 

She’ll devour the cookie,

run outside and within five minutes

throw a kid off the Big Toy and laugh at her for crying

 

Chances are…no good deed will go unpunished

Thanks to the Law of Sublimation

You’ll be feeling crummy

as you’re repaid with the usual arguing, sass, and back-talk

within the hour.

 

If you help a child with homework

maybe she will learn,

maybe not

Chances are,  the teacher won’t learn her lesson either…

and will make the same attempts and failures again and again

erring on the side of the kid

 

The child will remember 5% of what you taught her

in spite of all the time and prep and effort

while you know deep down,

you could have divvied all that Grace and all those minutes

to the other twenty-three

knowing you’ll not see the work of “the one” return the next morning.

 

If you give a child a muffin,

wait with her, watch for that “promised” someone

not show up,

you read with her, make excuses for the one who broke the promise,

and then gift an extra copy of the coveted Dork Diary chapter book

to her, because you know she wants it so much

knowing she doesn’t have her own books at home,

 

Chances are she may never be able to read it.

 

If you buy a child some fashionable snow boots

for a Thanksgiving Eve doorbell ditch,

If you supply another homework folder, and another, and

three more adhesive multiplication charts,

and days on end of lunching

and hours of listening to nonsense in the deafening lunchroom,

 

If work endless, after-school hours

composing and sending email for and in her behalf,

making the “really hard calls”

 

Don’t be surprised if

one day

all “the parents”  crawl out of the wormy woodwork

come to town in a dirty dust cloud demanding impromptu meetings and action

only to broadside and defame you to your face

in front of your boss

and maybe even in front of the child,

who may even join in for a crazy chorus

 

If you give and give and give

to children

don’t expect positive emotional cash flow

Life’s not Fair and Love is sometimes hostile

don’t expect folks to be kind

or the team to be professional

Truth is….the work’s not Safe and is prone to

burnout

 

If you give a child a cookie

don’t expect anything in return but some of their cavities

Every day is an inequality and a wonder

and only the roughriders survive to rope and tie down fleeting smiles

 

I wake to humble and realize

(sometimes at 3:00 in the morning)

I’m middle-aged, stuck, afraid, and lonely

No one can help

and there are just some things that school can’t fix

politicians just don’t get it

no one seems to get it and I am invisible

really

 

I tell myself again….

People are more important than things

more important than test scores

most of my life I’ve believed it too

and this, while being beaned in the head by a kids’ cookies

 

Sometimes I think: This is not what I signed up for

but it’s what I got

 

I try to change my thinking to

If you give a child a cookie….

maybe,

just smile and let it go.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Signs

Aspens quake. Tickled by an April breeze, thousands of fuzzy caterpillar-like buds dangle mid free climb announcing “Here, ye, hear ye, Spring is here!”

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Blessed Sun day

 

(Sometimes you have to make your own green and sunshine.  Sometimes you just have to open your eyes.)

What a glorious evening in Summit County! The sun is playing hide and wink with me in all its brilliance. I’ve been reading The War I Finally Won, a sequel to The War That Saved my Life, by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, in a favorite soft-stuffed chair next to the window. It is a story of loss, love, and healing.  I am reminded many children carry invisible burdens and scars for no fault of their own. Thankfully, there are angels watching over some of these same small ones in the form of foster parents, teachers, clergy, counselors, and more.  Once again, I send a silent prayer up to a Loving Heavenly Father and vow to be more open, loving and patient with the children in my life.

My reading spot next to the window really is divine.  For a moment I am three years old again, sprawled with dozens of books in a large box-window of the big brick 80 C Street house on the Avenues of Salt Lake City, Utah.  Flaming rot iron radiators!  Fifty years later, and fifty miles transplanted from that childhood space, I’ve found root in a rural green space.  I could grow old and die here, (God-willing, in fifty years or so), surrounded by the mountains I love and wrapped in a carpet of green Spring grass. Earlier, a herd of sleek mama cows and their fluffy month-old calves worked over the pasture, like skilled barbers with clippers, while other favorite new arrivals, the sandhill cranes, exchanged mating calls along the river edge.

I fling open the front door and hop over a soggy welcome mat and puddle.  It’s been raining off and on and the air is clean and crisp.  I am filled with hope and wonder. When the gray clouds break and the sun bursts through, it feels like God is smiling on me. It’s times like these, it’s good to be alive.  For a moment, my heart is smiling on what has been a blessed Sun day.

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Fowl Play for a Thursday

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The owl is on the hill transcending

day ……or……  night

Who who’s the wiser, she who asks, or she who listens?

Answers glide elusively through the branches

bed on the feet of shaggy giants

regurgitated pellets dot the moon-scape

eyes ……  Be still,  I pine for answers in the night

I search for Emerson,

Do not be frightened cry the rocks

Thorough your voice upon the wind

Resolve to be heard

 

 

 

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e-20/20…Trump this

Ha ha. This is the online English class my daughter must complete to graduate from high school. I thought she had perfect vision going into it. Maybe it was more like….I had a vision for her. The plan: study digital media at a trade school in the morning, drive 50 miles back home to serve lunch to high school students, go to drama class and LDS seminary, train for swim team, be a student body office, and last but not least, complete e-20/20. She did all of these….. until some shoes fell from the sky and hit her in the head landing her in Camp Procrastination. Now she finds herself feeling like a ZERO, eating onions and digging herself out of one helava helamonster hole which she occupies with one Stanley Yelnates. ONLY 250 + perfectly executed quizzes to go over the next 70 wonderful whopping school days. She is not happy these days.

Today my students learned about the US Constitution, and branches and roles of government. I had a fake Declaration of Indepence, purchased in Philadelphia, at the Constitution Hall gift shop. We read and wrote retells, asked questions and interpreted a bar graph that showed percentages of voter turn-out for US Presidential elections over the last fifty years. The big IDEA being, that voters elect a President every four years and the next election will be e-2020. “Do you think “he” will build the wall?” asked one child. Do you think “he” will build the pipeline at White Rock?” asks another. I shrug. ” I think the pipeline is ongoing,” and then I produce a pewter Colonial dollar-piece purchased at Valley Forge ten years ago. The coin is cut into about 20 pie piece slivers. “That’s fractions for you!” I add. Before I know it the day has turned to night. It’s time for bed. In a few sleepless hours it will be e20:20, or time to make the morning drive to school to teach another 8:20 a.m. math lesson on time conversions.  No telling what treasures await us at the little school on the ledges.

I say my prayers, including one for my brother in law who had a laser eye procedure today to restore his eyesight to e-20/20. All of this e-20/20 business is freaky. I half expect to see Richard Quinonez walking through my front door questioning, “What would you do if you were asked to be the next elementary Art teacher?” Then my burley-okie pal shows up in a puff off magic smoke and yells from the dreamscape, ” Get it in writing, Rosie!” and she paints the pink and purple, peeky-shoulder mural for goodness sake!”

I wonder if I will ever sleep again. At 3 am, I’m up, fully grateful for bookmaking classes, STEM, and diagrams of fourth grade fossils. It won’t be long til Spring equinox, and not long after that …. the sleep of Summer! Yay! Just you try to trump that!

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Half-Life, Seeds, and Silver Apples

Have you created anything really lovely lately?

Something that made your heart smile

or caused it to break

for the love of…or longing for

another

From the Sound of Silence, I’ve arrived in half-life,

Knowing happiness is fleeting. Forgetting how to find it.

Like pen to paper, I Learned Life is what I make of it,

Full of failures and successes

Until the pencil grew too small to hold then the lead broke

Joints aching from work and waking to smudges of meaning.

Resigned in the end to smile,  grateful just because I  could

be…grateful to be writing

from loneliness, to be heard and held in a moment

by a Universe conspiring in my behalf.

Writing… just for the fun of it, for the play of it, for the “done” of it.

For the ever-friending presence of it.

wishing for clearing,

Hoping a Muse (taking Musinex)

will sneeze and blow away the SAD inversion?

Ink for inkling

Song for singling

Gratitude and JOY beyond a Sunday prayer journal.

 

You were my Muse, Mentor and friend.

Sometimes I wonder, still, not understanding what there was, or wasn’t,

or might have been between us.

Wondering…

What was behind the wet paint,

flurries brush of cat tails

a winking shutter and lens cap,

the distant silent absent,

sound assurance, and present

certain letting go

I held with all I had

tangled in tangentsencies, not understanding God’s Plan,

or Why I do or don’t belong, but must stay on,

I choose to breath and keep on going.

 

a fluttering kite with flight plans

head in the clouds like Chicken Little

or Alice

searching for a God  to fear and love

but whom I’ve made too small,

I splay my elf owl wings, unfolding one small red umbrella feather

I hope to God that planes won’t bomb, or engines

smash my sleepless bed-head

I dial up a salt lamp for addiction

lunge dizzily a pseudo feeling Smart phone

It’s 3 am again, like clockwork

breath and force myself to sleep cuz its a work week

Maybe I want to be that tired tenured teacher

who hangs a smile in hopes of raising test scores, not seat sores,

who levels up the C report card ffor an average bell curve ringing district

Naaaah.

I do….and don’t…..and just won’t have the chance to prove it in that old way

 

And all the while I’m haunted by a film I’m forced to watch in syndication

as if it were another pill to take, here in this fear sick state

The Four Agreements make so much more sense to me

than Donnie Darco, NRA, and gun debate.

I swear Darco is schizophrenic ten times over.

My son claims that he’s not

says, “Shut up and watch!”

I’d rather dream a new dream with the children

and

I wonder what you’d say about it.

Maybe you’ve created something

warm and springing streams of …Lovely

light and lilacs

or penned some perfumed words like  Lewis

or labeled something Godly in a

sketch book.

Perhaps you’ve sailed the sky, or North Pacific, or climbed Olympic Mountain vistas

Someday perhaps you’ll share a picture story with me

that all the children knew so well

I told you once in confidence, some of my bests were written for the children.

Who would have thought an email could be more than dull school diet

just lower than the angels

Your words and winging(s) were

a heart beat

superhuman in terms of pulse and action poetry.

I drew an apple yesterday while Aslan purred and spoke of healing.

The lambs drew imagery among the silver apples, and oats and ivy

This was my ten year plan for growing trees and children:  Creative thinking

and soon again

this is the path I will be taking

not looking back on all of this  Confusion

discovering

Alchemy in tears and new spun strands of silver

while trying not to spill the spoon of oil in all my racing.

I think on smiles and tears and passing years and places

I watch the happy, struggling children cross the field and cross walk

What will become of them?

What will become of me

as I am plucked

from all I’ve known and all I’ve done for years

long gone the truth,

I just can’t dare believe it yet.

my greatest fear…rejection

believing all the while I’m indispensable….a lie I keep for feeling safe

I don my reading glasses for the

Word

concealed,, I carry Jesus on my heart

a silver apple hangs for me

up there beyond the reach and glint of Summer Light

I see your smiling eyes

they’re picture perfect proof

there’s Heaven on Earth

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Plowed Parking Lot

I’ll trade this black old for white gold! Hooray! It’s starting to snow! Up to 30 inches expected overnight in the ski resorts along the Wasatch front and back! Prepare for the onslaught Park City, Utah! (Fingers crossed)

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