Sep 242010
 


For Aprile, who has suffered enough. I love you, girl. Hang on.


Well, it’s Friday. We made it. It’s been a good week.

Next week won’t be, likely, because I was checking Craig’s Blackberry yesterday and saw that his only calendar update for Monday says: “EXPECT THE WRATH.” Confused, I said, “What’s the wrath?” Craig said, “The wrath is you. I schedule your PMS.”

Kay.

Anyway, since we kicked Meltoncholy’s little bottom this week, I thought we’d celebrate today.

As many of you know, last November I came down with Lyme Disease. It was a bummer. I was sick, sick, sick for a long while. We ended up moving far away to focus on my recovery.

I’ve been feeling really healthy lately. For the past few months I haven’t had a single Lymie symptom, except for when there are a lot of dishes to do or it’s bath time or there are little fingernails to cut. Then I often relapse on the couch.

I went to see my Lymie doctor recently and told her how good I’d been feeling and I asked for another Lyme test. She said she’d do it, but not to get my hopes up because since the Lyme test detects Lyme antibodies, once a patient tests positive, she often tests positive forever. Okay, I said. Let’s just do it anyway.

Three days later, my doctor called and said:

“G, I’m surprised and excited to tell you that I’m standing here holding your negative Lyme test. You don’t have a drop of Lyme left in you. You’re done, G. You did it. You’re all better.”

Since I was silent, she went on to say:

“It must’ve been that last blast of antibiotics.”

And I finally said, “Maybe. Maybe. I don’t think so, though. I actually think it was the Bay. And my family. And all the praying Monkees.”

And then it was my doctor’s turn to be silent until she said, “Yeah. Hm. Welllllll. I guess praying monkeys would be pretty powerful. Umm…are you okay?”


Yes. Yes. Yes! I’m okay!

I’m OKAY!

Thank you Monkees, for Loving Me Through Lyme. I believe, with every bit of my grateful little heart, that we beat this thing together. A million thank yous.


Soak up the Little Beautiful Things this weekend. And then put them to bed early and hit the couch. Heaven, isn’t it? Post-bedtime-couchy-time?


Love, G



Sep 262010
 



According to Paolo Coelho, author of The Alchemist, this is why we don’t Follow Our Dreams:

“There are four obstacles. First: we are told from childhood onward that everything we want to do is impossible. We grow up with this idea, and as the years accumulate, so too do the layers of prejudice, fear, and guilt. There comes a time when our personal calling is so deeply buried in our soul as to be invisible. But it’s still there.

If we have the courage to disinter dream, we are then faced by the second obstacle: love. We know what we want to do, but are afraid of hurting those around us by abandoning everything in order to pursue our dream. We do not realize that love is just a further impetus, not something that will prevent us going forward. We do not realize that those who genuinely wish us well want us to be happy and are prepared to accompany us on that journey.

Once we have accepted that love is a stimulus, we come up against the third obstacle: fear of the defeats we will meet on the path. We who fight for our dream suffer far more when it doesn’t work out, because we cannot fall back on the old excuse: ‘Oh, well, I didn’t really want it anyway.’ We do want it and know that we have staked everything on it and that the path of the personal calling is no easier than any other path, except that our whole heart is in this journey. Then, we warriors of light must be prepared to have patience in difficult times and to know that the Universe is conspiring in our favor, even though we may not understand how.

I ask myself: are defeats necessary?

Well, necessary or not, they happen. When we first begin fighting for our dream, we have no experience and make many mistakes. The secret of life, though, is to fall seven times and get up eight times.

So, why is it so important to live our personal calling if we are only going to suffer more than other people?

Because, once we have overcome the defeats-and we always do-we are filled by a greater sense of euphoria and confidence. In the silence of our hearts, we know that we are proving ourselves worthy of the miracle of life. Each day, each hour, is part of the good fight. We start to live with enthusiasm and pleasure. Intense, unexpected suffering passes more quickly than suffering that is apparently bearable; the latter goes on for years and, without our noticing, eats away at our soul, until, one day, we are no longer able to free ourselves from the bitterness and it stays with us for the rest of our lives.

Having disinterred our dream, having used the power of love to nurture it and spent many years living with the scars, we suddenly notice that what we always wanted is there, waiting for us, perhaps the very next day. Then comes the fourth obstacle: the fear of realizing the dream for which we fought all our lives.

Oscar Wilde said: ‘Each man kills the thing he loves.’ And it’s true. The mere possibility of getting what we want fills the soul of the ordinary person with guilt. We look around at all those who have failed to get what they want and feel that we do not deserve to get what we want either. We forget about all the obstacles we overcame, all the suffering we endured, all the things we had to give up in order to get this far. I have known a lot of people who, when their personal calling was within their grasp, went on to commit a series of stupid mistakes and never reached their goal-when it was only a step away.

This is the most dangerous of the obstacles because it has a kind of saintly aura about it: renouncing joy and conquest. But if you believe yourself worthy of the thing you fought so hard to get, then you become an instrument of God, you help the Soul of the World, and you understand why you are here.”




**Also, If you haven’t yet read the The Alchemist, Pretty Please Do.**

Love, G



Sep 292010
 
for little e, and l

“Don’t worry, Scout, it ain’t time to worry yet,” said Jem. He pointed. “Looka yonder.”

In a group of neighbors, Atticus was standing with his hands in his overcoat pockets. He might have been watching a football game. (*He was actually watching the house next door to the Finch home burn to the ground.)

“See there, he’s not worried yet,” said Jem.


(8.105-107) To Kill a Mockingbird


I’ve been thinking about my mama friends for whom the start of the school year is a difficult time, because the classroom has proven to be a tough place for their child to display his particular brand of genius.

For these precious mamas, starting school means revisiting old worries and facing new ones. It means tears and tense phone calls and scary conferences and comparisons and lots of fear and anger and suspicion and Oh My God, Is He Allrights and What Are We Doing Wrongs?

I have some thoughts about this and so I’ve just sent up a Twitter prayer to the G-O- D that it’ll all come out right. Sometimes I know something to be true, down deep in my bones, but when I try to turn it into words, it changes. Gets all jacked up. Like how blood is blue till it hits oxygen and turns red. Which is why I predict we’d be better off if people talked less and just quietly knew more. She said, as she wrote her 367th blog post.

Here I go. I’d like to talk to you about your brilliant children.

Listen.

Every child is gifted and talented. Every single one. Everything I’ve ever written about on this blog has been open for argument, except for this one. I know this one is true. Every single child is gifted and talented in a particular area. Every single one also has particular challenges. For some kids, the classroom setting is the place where their genius is hardest to see and their challenges are easiest to see. And since they spend so much time in the classroom, that’s a tough break for these little guys. But I know that if we are patient and calm and we wear our perspectacles and we keep believing, we will eventually see the specific magic of each child.


Like my student who was severely dyslexic and also could’ve won Last Comic Standing at age seven. “Hey, Miss Doyle. Were you really busy last night or something?” Yes, actually, I was. Why do you ask, Cody? “Because your hair’s the same color it was yesterday!” The boy was a genius.

Like my precious one who couldn’t walk or speak because of his severe Cerebral Palsy, but whose smile while completing his grueling physical therapy inspired the rest of my class to call him the “bravest.” Genius, that kid.

Like my autistic little man, who couldn’t have hurt another living being if somebody paid him to. He was the most gentle soul I’ve ever known. And he loved animals like they were a gift made just for him by God. Which, of course, they were. But nobody in our class knew that but him. Undeniable Genius.

Like my third grader who read like a kindergartener and couldn’t add yet. But one day I stood behind her at recess, where she played all alone, and heard her singing to herself. And that was the day I discovered her gift. It was also the day that she discovered her gift. Since I FREAKED OUT. And marched her over to the rest of the teachers to make her sing for them. And announced to the class that we had a ROCK STAR in our midst. And she quietly beamed. And she sang all the time after that. All the time. Actually, it was a little much. But we let it slide because you don’t mess with artistic genius.

Or the little man in one of Chase’s classes who was always getting in trouble. Everyday, getting in trouble. And Chase came home one day and said, “I think he’s not listening because he’s always making pictures in his head. He’s the best draw-er I’ve ever seen. He’s going to be famous, I bet.” Chase was right. I’ve seen this kid’s work. Genius.

Or my little one who was gifted in learning the classroom way, and was miles ahead of the other kids in every single subject. But had challenges being kind and humble about her particular strengths. So had a lot of trouble making friends. Sometimes it’s tough to be a genius.


Every single child is gifted. And every child has challenges. It’s just that in the educational system, some gifts and challenges are harder to see. And lots of teachers are working on this. Lots of schools are trying to find ways to make all children’s gifts visible and celebrated. And as parents, we can help. We can help our kids who struggle in school believe that they’re okay. It’s just that there’s only one way to help them. And it’s hard.

We have to actually believe that our kids are okay.

I know. Tough. But we can do it. We can start believing by erasing the idea that education is a race. It’s not. Actually, education is like Christmas. We’re all just opening our gifts, one at a time. And it is a fact that each and every child has a bright shiny present with her name on it, waiting there underneath the tree. God wrapped it up, and He’ll let us know when it’s time to unwrap it. In the meantime, we must believe that our children are okay. Every last one of them. The perfect ones and the autistic ones and the naughty ones and the chunky ones and the shy ones and the loud ones and the so far behind ones.

Because here’s what I believe. I think a child can survive a teacher or other children accidentally suggesting that he’s not okay. As long as when he comes home, he looks at his mama and knows by her face that he really is. Because that’s all they’re asking, isn’t it?

Mama, Am I Okay?

In the end, children will call the rest of the world liars and believe US.

So when they ask us with their eyes and hearts if they’re okay. . . let’s tell them:

Yes, baby. You are okay. You are more than okay. You are my dream come true. You are everything I’ve ever wanted, and I wouldn’t trade one you for a million anybody elses. This part of life, this school part, might be hard for you. But that’s okay, because it’s just one part of life. And because we are going to get through it together. We are a team. And I am so grateful to be on your team.

And then, before we dive into “helping.” Let’s just eat some cookies together and talk about other things. There are so many other things to talk about, really.

And then our kids will see that we are like Atticus Finch . . . Hands in our pockets. Calm. Believing. And they will look at us and even with a fire raging in front of them they’ll say, “Huh. Guess it’s not time to worry yet.”

And then we’ll watch carefully. We’ll just watch and wait and believe until God nods and says, “It’s time.Tear open that gift, Mama.”


And we’ll get to say our Mama FAVE. Told you so. Told you so, World.