Category Archives: parenting

Nothing Gradual in Graduating

Today, the Kid graduated from her elementary school (it goes to 4th grade here, then to middle school). She’d gone to this same school five years, since kindergarten, probably the longest she’ll ever go to the same school God willing, she won’t become a 5th year college grad.

She had the annual tug-o-war…
4th grade tug-o-warand the “moving up” assembly…4th grade moving up assembly
ending with her…officially graduated.

Some may complain that this generation of kids gets way too much acknowledgement, awards for showing up at school, ribbons for participating in your third soccer game. No one applauded the end of my 4th grade or 5th grade or 6th grade.

Even if these moments are the equivalent of a torturous Barbara Walters interview (“that must have been hard, losing your dad at 3…”) and I’ve run through my allotment of Kleenex, I’m glad we’re stopping to notice. I’m glad someone is making us stop and pay attention to this milestone.

How many have we buzzed by in this kid’s 9 years? And how many more will we, accidentally or because we’re tired or busy or preoccupied or stressed out?

No, I say let’s all take a break from our personal, inner world of drama and our busybusybusy and focus our eyeballs on what’s happening right in front of us, in our very homes and neighborhoods: a kid graduated, a dog napped more, a baby napped less, a friend moved, a teen took drivers ed, a grandparent slowed down, a cat didn’t come home, even a tree didn’t sprout leaves like it used to.

Time marches on. You can squeeze your eyes shut, walk your feet faster, fill that calendar as much as you want or you can take long baths, plan big, slow vacations or breath in as deeply as you want. Time? Still marching on.

But if we’re all left feeling like spectators, let’s at least take a moment to do just that – spectate. With eyes and hearts wide open, we can watch and see and soak it up until we’re fully saturated and leaking out our eyes and cannot soak up anymore.

No, it doesn’t feel gradual at all. It may have slowly crept up on us, predictably coming along, but then BLAMMO, we’re hit right in our sweet spot. Ready or drunk not.

Leaving us happy and sad and proud and fully and completely saturated.
final bus ride
Congratulations, all you graduates out there! You are loved!

Bainbridge Island Chicken Coop Tour 2012

Bainbridge Island is a perfect spot to get all farm-y or pretend to after your day job.

For the past 4 years, the island has celebrated this urge with its own Tour de Coop, a fundraiser for Helpline House, our local food bank. Lucky for you, in case you missed it, I didn’t. (Click a photo to enlarge.)
Some chicken coops were tucked in the corner of a garden,
and some backed up against the main home. One had its own garden inside, a wisteria plant growing up through the roof.One or two coordinated with a barn on the premises.But they all had two things in common: chickens
and chicken accessories! I love eggs, and the Kid would love to have chickens.But the problem is someone else in the Let the dog in! household would also love to have chickenGuess we’ll just keep enjoying the tour!

Have you gone on a chicken coop tour? Do you have chickens, or wish you did?

Accepting Lessons in Rejection

She just doesn’t get that it’s over!” my eight year old said as the phone rang for the final time. It had been an on-again/off-again friendship with another eight-year-old girl.

Oy, these girls. I cringe. They are madly in love with each other one minute, speaking to no one else, then someone does something or nothing, and voila, rejection.

Why is it those sticky lessons for ourselves land right back at our feet as parents?
I feel for her when she’s on the pointy end of that weapon, and I worry when she’s grasping the cold handle charging toward someone else just as inexperienced as she.

But experience seems to have little to do with emotion. Even as an adult I’ve felt the pain and continue to feel it, being dropped like a hot potato, bouncing a few times and rolling to a stop before I even absorb the facts of the situation.

And rejection finds you everywhere hey, y’all! let’s be professional writers!.

A friend actually not me this time recently told me how the rejection from therapists’ offices in her hunt for a counselor nearly pushed her over the edge. I personally still have to psyche myself up for babysitter rejection. Facing “no” after “no,” I could have sworn I’d been blacklisted by some secret island teen girl club for offenses unknown too measly a tip? too messy a house? no good booze to sneak?.

I wonder if offerings like “just keep busy, dearie” or “shake it off” are the right route, or the right-enough route for an aching kid.

I mean, keeping busy is swell so long as it’s not to stay one step ahead of your aching heart. Then suddenly you are on that hamster wheel of life, moving and going nowhere.

Downright inspirational, I am, right??

We want our kids to rebound in life. We hope with all their hi-speed clicking they will have a new, hi-tech emotional Teflon coating. But there is nothing hi-tech about pain.

It leaves us feeling helpless if we sit in it. Or next to it. Or *gasp* smell it on someone else.

And feelings, like a three-year-old, demand to be heard. Muzzle them and they whine persistently until satisfied or that’s what my kid always did.

Maybe the only lesson is to sit still with it, something my child is not so good at a trait she comes by honestly.

If she and I can notice and not squirm away, maybe we both will better accept that when you open up, you will sometimes get stung.

Young or oldish, compassion, resilience, and a greater sense of being alive can come from it after we sober up and stop yelling profanities.

And that’s all way better than living a closed-up, ignorant life without heart, right?

Do you have any helpful methods of dealing with rejection?

Summertime Parenting

Are you like me? Are you going to be home with your kid(s) this summer and don’t know what you’re going to do? Are you starting to worry about how you’ll get anything done?

Mostly, are you worried about how you’re going to maintain a low-level buzz and still be able to drive to all those playdates?

We have one more week of school, if you can even call it that. More like chaperoned field trips starting and ending at a school. And I can feel the anxiety starting to creep into my chest. Ugh.

Every summer, I hope for a productive, fun-filled, educational summer, and what happens? Somewhere after the hopes form life happens, I get tired of arguing and things just slide. All things slide.

Remember when slides were a good thing?

Do you know that Gershwin song are you my friend with knowledge of musicals or not? that goes “Summertime and the living is easy”?

That is just plain wrong. Summer is the hardest, especially around here. Where does everyone go? Somehow everyone who refuses to coordinate schedules is gone at the same time. And everyone who swore they were open for playdates are suddenly booked up with camps, camping trips and vacations. Gone, baby, gone. Leaving my kid with the mantra, “Mom, I’m BORED.”

We have some camps lined up, I’m hoping for some camping trips and creative home projects, and this year I will enforce some kind of reading to be happening around here, beyond reading instructions on Epic Mickey wii games.

Yes, I am hoping once again. Which usually means I’m in for a letdown. Why must it be best-summer-ever or suckiest-and-boringest? Guess which one ends up most likely?

Are you all planned up for summer? Winging it? Trying anything new?

Happy Mother’s Day!

Here’s wishing a happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there (Hi, Mother!)!

I had a few friends visit today on this sunny, glorious Mother’s Day we’re having here. See?
The Violet-Green Swallow (I love these guys.) sitting waaaay up on the top of a dying alder tree.
And, yes….
my boyfriend showed up. The American Goldfinch, who happens to go very nicely with this…
Happy Mother’s Day!