Aug 132010
 


For teachers everywhere, especially those who call Annandale Terrace Elementary home. I love you beautiful people. Here’s to another year of world changing, one early morning and late afternoon at a time.

With Love and Admiration,
G and Bubba

 


Christmas 1997

Dear Glennon,

Last year I shared a number of hopes that I hold for you. Among them were; that you would stay close to your sister, love yourself as much as your friends and family do, and have a life’s work that is about helping others. Events this year suggest that some of my hopes are coming true. As I listen to you talk about and to Mandy, I can hear a warmth and love that was well masked by rivalry in the past. Your love and respect for her is more obvious than ever and your intention to watch over her is evident. You seem much more at ease with yourself. You are less anxious and more confident about relationships at home, at work, and hopefully with your peers. That is a sign of being more centered. Getting there is a life- long process. It seems to me that I was in my mid forties before I became completely aware of who I was. Believe me, that was a relief. It occurred to me about the time I stopped blaming people and circumstances for my problems.

It is good to see you settled on teaching as a career. It is even better to see you excited and enthusiastic about it. It is better yet to see you defend its importance. If you continue your pursuit of this career, and I believe you will, you will find yourself involved in some mind boggling contradictions. People who tell you that the most important person in their lives was a teacher will also ask you why you do it for a living. People who work with no goal in mind but to accumulate money will pity you for wasting your talent in teaching. People who tell you that your efforts are crucial to the future of the country will resent you for making a decent living at it. It is uniquely American to be uncomfortable with teachers. Especially those who teach the very young. Whether because of their subconscious or some other involuntary reaction, all of them will ultimately respect you for what you do. But their reactions can serve to diminish your beliefs and sense of self. So Never, But Never, allow yourself to become defensive about being a teacher. Take’em on whenever and wherever. When you confirm your choice to teach by defending that choice, you are affirming yourself, your dignity, your pride, those you most admire, and even your ancestors. A few days ago I realized that you will be a third generation educator. Your grandmother taught in the 20’s, which means that, should you hang around the classroom for a few years, we will cover a century of influencing the lives of children which will include four generations.

It is a good feeling to know that this Christmas morning finds you with your family, happy with yourself, and growing towards your dreams.

I LOVE YOU,

Dad


Aug 122010
 


The following events occurred yesterday:

As I was getting out of the shower,Tish burst in the bathroom and stared at me rather critically. I gave her the evil eye.Undeterred, she said the following:

Mommy, what are those dangly things on your belly called again?

I nervously looked down to find out what foreign objects had attached themselves to my person during my shower without my knowledge. I located nothing.

What are you talking about? There’s nothing on my belly.

Eye roll from Tish.Yes there is, moooom. Those dangly things you used to feed Amma with.

I double check.

Wait. Are you talking about my breasts?

OH YEAH. Breaaaasssasts. You got Belly Breasts, Mom.


Go to your room, I said.


It’s two hours later. I have completely forgotten where I put Tish, which is far from my main concern. My main concern is that I also can’t find my book and I’m dying. It was a really, really good book, and it’s been lost for three days now.I finally find it.

In the washing machine.


This is the third book I’ve washed. I washed Barbara Kingsolver’s Bean Trees, (please read) David Sedaris’Me Talk Pretty One Day, (please read) and now I’ve washed Howard Zinn. (Yes, Sister, I know I also washed Bird by Bird but four book washings might suggest that I have some sort of problem, so I thought I’d stick with just the three for this particular post.)

This book washing issue might not be so weird, especially for me, who once had to call the sweet fire department three times in one week to rescue my children from cars into which I’d locked them nice and tight.

Unless, as my now repentant husband pointed out yesterday… it’s just that you hardly ever even wash our clothes…so how does this keep happening?


Go to your room, I said.


I must find a way to start paying attention while doing things. I don’t understand how people do it. I mean all the time? A girl has to pay attention all the time? That’s ridiculous. I think I’d rather just pay for new books.

Love you Monkees. Really, really do. Have a fantasic weekend. Try to pay attention.


Kive,

G

P.S. Yes, the book reeks of mildew. It was in there at least three days. I have come to the conclusion that while I may be able to do hard things, I am incapable of doing easy things. Whatevs.





Aug 112010
 

 

Wild Geese
by Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting–
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

At the risk of being obvious, I’d like to remind everyone that she is fine. Better than fine…brilliant, divine, crucial to the rest of us. Now, today, just as she is. With all her fear and anger and jealousy and regrets and secrets. With all of those parts.

You don’t have to be good. You don’t need to be better. You just have to accept, each moment again, that you are good enough already. If you wait to start living and loving until you are ready, I’m afraid you’ll die first. It’s a beautiful world, and it wants you to play.

You belong in the world’s family of things. And if you do not show up, no one will take your place. Life is not a game of musical chairs. If you do not sit down with us, your place in our circle will be empty forever. So there is no need to rush, no need to grab, no need to panic, and no need to perform. Your place is yours, not because you are funny, or pretty, or stylish, or good. But because your place was created for you before you were anything at all. In light of this, let us relax, be glad, and calmly and gratefully, take our places.

And let us remind the others in our circle today that we’re happy they took theirs.