The (Orange) Badge of Courage

SOLSC Day 31

I signed up for this challenge after I declared I was breaking up with challenges. And here I am, at the beginning of my last post for the month. It wasn’t easy, but it also wasn’t as hard as I imagined.

This brings to mind my “one little word” for the year. I wrote about this five years ago on this day, my first blog post. Synchronicity with a capital S! I’m not the one little word type. At least I wasn’t then. The past two years my one little word was create. I’ve been working on that in so many different ways, but my focus has been writing.

This year, I almost didn’t choose a word. But one found me anyway. I’m still not sure about how I fee about that one little word because words are anything but little. They can carry the heft of the world or they can take you to new, unimaginable places. And spaces. Like this one.

This year, the word that found me is courage. I gradually began posting more frequently last year during the shut down. Being locked in, writing was my way to venture out. People have always encouraged me to write. They see things in my words that I fail to see. S’s room takeover was my first pandemic post. Then I started playing a little and had such fun publishing a Videoconferencing Yearbook.

Chris Margocs of Horizon 51, a fellow librarian, shared this space with me and invited me along. I dipped my words in and here I am. She doesn’t know this, but the Day 2 Slice, You Know That One Friend? is all about Chris.

I typically shared my blogs on FB, but sharing it with others in this way taught me so much. There are so many talented writers out there. You all have taken me under your wing with encouragement and support. This is my first writing group other than those in my undergrad courses. That was a long time ago.

I plan to continue posting on Tuesdays. Seems easy compared to posting every day. I’ll venture out to join other writing groups. As an educator, work overlaps into my personal space and always has. That’s the nature of working with your passion. I’m ready to venture out on my own and break away a little. Carve out some writing space for me.

I’m no longer a classroom teacher, but I have always loved teaching writing. As a librarian, I have to figure out how to get a group of students to participate in the classroom challenge next year. Muster up the courage to do something out of the norm on my campus.

And that’s what words do. They give us courage and teach us about ourselves. Above all, they connect us to others through the power of a story.

Red Velvet Cake

SOLSC Day 28

Time! Stay still for a little while. Well, you did last spring, or so it seemed. I’m the one who needs to stand still. I’m the one who needs to slow down. I’m the one who needs to stretch out moments I have, to enjoy them, be present. It’s not your job to stand still. That’s on me. And I haven’t been doing it well. Ever.

For today, the plan is baking a cake with S. From scratch. Red velvet with cream cheese icing, her favorite. Laundry can wait until tomorrow, but baking a cake can’t. Social media doesn’t care if I show up. Neither does my messy bedroom.

Time, I apologize for fussing at you. For saying you aren’t enough. You don’t change. While we’re here, can you tell me why we humans think we need to slay the day? As if it’s something that needs slaughtering. Why can’t we just enjoy it? Like a slice of red velvet cake with cream cheese icing.

You are enough. It’s not you, it’s me. I’m not doing enough. I rarely do enough. I’m doing too much.

We Eat Here, Too

We got a good deal for our table 
from a guy right down the street. 
He even delivered it for us. 
It's solid and if you bang your knee against 
the inside frame just under the table top
you'll swear you hate the thing. 
The top needs refinishing, but kids, 
so we'll leave it. 
And we have left it that way, 
scratched and stained,
losing  a little color each day.
They protest when we discuss a new finish
I protest at the work it will take 
only to have it scuffed and smeared with, 
life. 
I fuss at everyone who doesn't use a coaster, 
but why bother? 
The kids say it adds character. 
And it does.
There's space for 6 or 8 or 12 or more, 
we've stopped counting. 
We manage to squeeze ourselves in 
when friends and family visit. 
Taking turns sitting at the table, 
much like we did at Nana's. 
It's held up well.
Sophia's first birthday, the first big event
It's hosted countless others
Visits from Mom and Dad along with Dad's pile of newspapers, 
notes, pens, reading glasses, 
mugs of his piping hot coffee 
and a small mountain of Mom's tamales.
Halloween parties
Tortilla making lessons
A birthday candle lined with Tacky Glue, 
sprinkled with gold glitter and sequins.
My best friend's graduation party.
Homemade pizzas--
so many homemade pizzas.
Writing sticks of all shapes and colors
Spilled bowls of Cheerios
5 layer Play-Doh cakes
Mixology experiments: 
Mexican martinis, 
wine-usually red, 
blackberry margaritas, 
strawberry mojitos, 
and the good anniversary crystal 
bubbling with cheap champagne.
An almost empty wine glass, a red ornament,
and a red pear gnawed with a little kid’s bite 
protesting “Mommy I didn’t like it!”
adorns the end of a 
"fancy" Christmas dinner. 
That night we used a tablecloth.
Snow days with pancake breakfasts.
Piles of papers that needed grading.
Homework--
the kids' and mine.
Hours of graduate school assignments
Science fair and craft projects
LEGO builds and chatter
Family game nights
A thick smear of blue paint from a 
Halloween costume making session
and nail polish drips I couldn't remove.
Gingerbread house building parties 
that stopped because we outgrew the table and 
got so darned busy taking kids to 
holiday related school activities.
GNO get togethers
where we all sit around and color,
jars of colored pencils, pens, and markers 
snaking down the center of the table.
Pandemic teaching
Online Sunday night meetings 
with family across the miles.
Writing 
every morning, 
at least three pages, 
with a coffee mug by my side.
Asking for and giving grace.
They say home is where the heart is.
Ours gather around this table
where we live and breathe,
hope and dream.
And sometimes,
we eat here, too.