Tuesday, July 12, 2016
These photographs were taken in June, when I could roll out of bed long after the sun, when we were still nervous about late frost, when slowing down and watching the beetle as it crosses and recrosses my daughter's palm was an everyday event.
(Above: my grandmother's dahlia bulbs looking unfortunately shriveled from wintering over. Some were still robust, and I am hopeful.)
Where did June go? How are we already mid-July? We have two full days left in our Foundations course at the training center, and I still feel as if I am getting my metaphorical sea legs, though I know I, like many of my classmates, have felt that puppy-anticipation of getting into the elementary materials, partly because many of us are returning to classrooms in which we need to understand just what it is we are teaching.
One of my classmates asked me how the training program has changed me, told me just how amazing it is that she is a definitively different person today than she was when we started three and a half weeks ago. (Think, too, to how much the nation and world have changed. Br'exit. Baton Rouge. Falcon Heights, not far from where we are now. Dallas.)
I had already begun shifting into a better mother after observing the toddler and primary environments at RCM. Just the tones of their voices made me slow and calm. And now, more. My daughter used to tell me heartsy love whenever my temper began to swerve, and she hasn't had to say it once--not that I have been by any means perfect in my temperament; I just got frustrated at Maya as she leaned into me, whanging as I tried to sketch out a design for embroidery--but I've felt good about the most of what I've done and how I've interacted. I know much of it is having such small slivers of time that I don't want to disgrace it with harsh words.
But also: I've learned my impatience rears so fiercely when I feel the urgency of getting something else done. When I'd have a theory paper due the next day. As above, when I'd want to get some kind of project started, completed, shifted to a new stage. When I wanted to fold a load of laundry. I'm learning how to get those things done when I first wake, or during a lunch break, so that the time I have with my children is privileged as much as possible. So we can lean into the beetle and wonder what kind, how to find out, what it might eat. We can get our feet and hands dirty again. We can draw a story together on sketch paper.
I am learning, above everything else, that the quality time we get with those we love is fleeting, that the work we are doing is important, for them and for ourselves, and that we can let our evenings become a source of frustration--please hurry up and go to bed so I can get That Thing done--or we can let it be the thing we relish the most. I choose the latter. I hope I always do.