I realized yesterday that I was feeling really good – about the parents I know, about the community of homeschoolers I know, my relationships, just a whole bunch of things. When I woke up feeling it again, I had to share it, because it isn’t just ONE thing, it’s a lot of different things that combine to make life really good.
Yapping Working Mommy Playdates
At least two Mondays a month, my writer friend Kerrie and I meet at her house. The kids play and we write – we have named these Yapping Working Mommy Playdates.
In truth, we spend far more time talking than we do working. But that is okay. We exchange ideas, dive down rabbit holes, and provide each other with much-needed comic relief, a shoulder to cry on, and an understanding ear.
I relish these moments. I never thought I would. I never had female friendships before and they are magical and wonderful and very, very human.
Lending Libraries and Smiles
I brought in a bunch of books, nearly all children’s books, into my LEARN co-op yesterday. I arranged them on the cafeteria counter for passersby to see and hopefully take, and I asked one of the directors of the co-op, “Do you have a piece of paper that I could write ‘Free Books’ on? My notepaper is way too small for this.
She said, reaching for the books, “I have a better idea. I’ve got this lending library in front of my house and the kids books are in high demand. Is it okay if I take all of them?”
Relief washed over me. I had been afraid she disapproved of me bringing the books and cluttering up the place! Silly but true. “That sounds great!”
I love the idea of kids in neighborhoods having a place to go that has books, with no strings attached. Libraries are wonderful, but sometimes kids don’t have access to them, or have trouble remembering to bring books back.
Sexuality and Acceptance
A woman I consider a good friend and I talked about sexuality yesterday – and I am constantly amazed and gratified to know such a diverse number of people. I love that I’m part of a community that is so accepting of all faiths (or lack thereof), racial diversity, and sexual orientation. It feels like I have spent a great deal of my life tiptoeing around folks with extreme judgment, only to find a world where I can breathe deep.
We don’t always agree, and we don’t have to, but it feels as if everyone is keenly aware that accepting that we will be different is key to cooperative living. I look forward to spending hours with each of them!
LEARN Writer’s Group
Yesterday one of my students’ moms asked if I would be teaching the writer’s group next semester. I answered her honestly, “No, probably not. I just don’t feel like I’ve done a very good job. Planning a class is always a bit of a crap shoot – what do you teach, what do the kids want, what do they need to learn to move forward? And I thought I had a decent outline, a decent plan, but I feel like it hasn’t worked. I assumed others would be self-motivated, and I think that takes time, it takes guided writing for some, and I don’t know that I can explain it as well as I thought I could.”
One of the kids who has been the most challenging in class this semester said, “I think you did a good job.”
The kid drives me crazy in class – that’s a fact – but I could have hugged him, my heart was so full at that moment.
Talking About Autism
After class, the same mom stayed after and we talked autism. Her son is autistic – I had guessed at Asperger’s, but mine is far from an educated guess, I had only known something was different. She spoke of her two eldest children and how she had taken great pride in the compliments from others for their polite behavior. How it had been difficult at first, dealing with autism and how she had learned to laugh, a lot.
When your choices are cry/get mad or laugh, sometimes laughter can be best. It reminded me of how often I had the following conversation with my eldest as she was growing up:
Dee: Stop laughing at me!
Me: I’m not laughing at you, I’m laughing with you.
Dee: I’m not laughing.
Me. But you should be.
When we can’t change a situation. When our world is turned on its ear. When life deals us an especially hard hand.
Sometimes laughter truly is the best medicine.
It occurs to me that I know a host of amazing, kind, intelligent, wonderful people. And that I am the lucky one in all of this. What a community of possibility I have within my reach!