My birthday is in September so sapphires, which is the birthstone for the month, has always had special meaning for me. Blue is my favorite color, especially deep blue with a touch of black it. I don’t know the artistic name of that blue, but “sapphire stardust with one drop of water” would work!
Like everything else this year, birthdays seem like they shouldn’t be celebrated. This year, I’m thinking about giving on my birthday instead of receiving. I usually love having a day (or two) just for myself, but sharing seems to be a more appropriate way of marking another turn around the sun. Maybe next September will be a “sapphire dust with two drops of water” type of year….
Squeaking in under the wire of Sadje’s What do you see? #46. The picture above might seem hopeless, scary to some – a figure alone in the desert. But to me, I felt envious of the time to be alone, to walk and think, to feel the heat on my skin and the notice the individual grains of sand beneath my feet.
I know this feeling is because of all the “family time” we have been having. I never realized how much I enjoyed having time to myself until those opportunities were curtailed with this pandemic. I grew up in a family where we were together all the time so I actually don’t mind all the togetherness, but since having a taste of time alone when all the kids were in school last year…being able to sit in a silent house is definitely a luxury I enjoy!
The idea of vastness though, like being alone, can be hopeless and scary sometimes. But Kate writes:
spaciousness or vastness often opens our minds especially if we are feeling tightness or fear
Writing this poem made me think of all the things I am afraid to do alone, but that are easier to do with others. As the old adage states: there is strength in numbers, strength in being together – whether with friends or family.
Creating vastness also means creating space for others to join you. If we are closed in – physically, mentally, emotionally – we won’t have the space for others – other people, other ideas, other experiences.
With all the discord in our world today, creating space for togetherness seems to be one solution.
But not-Yay for the “inspiration” for this poem. It’s been a very hard week for “virtual learning” aka “learning from home,” especially for my younger daughter. She misses her friends and dislikes feeling that she is missing out on all the fun stuff of school. Yes, tweens can experience serious FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). Our Montessori school has been playing “catch up” with technology since they were not a high tech school to begin with. Coupled with some internal dysfunction that often arises during times of crisis, her school wasn’t meeting her needs academically or otherwise.
This made my sensitive girl very upset – she excels in school and the feeling of disconnect was very destabilizing for her. Despite her attempts at communicating with the teachers, nothing was done to address these problems. While I certainly sympathize with the stress and pressure that teachers are currently under, no one – NO ONE – has the right to disregard and disrespect my child.
Mama Bear drank some coffee and readied for battle.
If you are a parent, you know the pain of witnessing your child be in pain, whether physical, emotional or mental. Sometimes they have to endure it – sometimes they should endure it (especially if it is an outcome of a bad decision on their part). But as a parent, if I can protect my child from pain or take it away from them, I do – I have – and I always will.
Maybe this makes me one of those entitled parents. I feel that parents of color (as well as parents of kids with different abilities), when we are advocating for our kids, we are often seen as entitled, demanding, troublemakers. Unsurprisingly, another child (white, female) who was experiencing the same issue as my daughter, had her concerns addressed compassionately and immediately. You don’t want to think about what other factors might come into play, but that is always in the back of my mind. I wanted to make sure my girl knew that even if racism was in play, that she shouldn’t settle for something less than what she deserved.
In the end, we did reach a resolution and hopefully these improvements will be implemented next week.
Mama Bear will be watching…..
I could not post this on September 11, 2020 and not pay tribute to the lives lost on this date, 19 years ago. Like most people, I can remember where I was when I heard the news about the first plan crashing into the Twin Towers. I remember everything about that day.
Growing up in New York, I have very fond memories of the Twin Towers. I’ve lain down on the pavement between the towers and watched the sky turn behind the towers, making for a dizzying and awe-inspiring experience (this is what nerdy high schoolers did back in the day). I’ve been to the top and marveled at the busy beauty that is New York City. The news reports, the pictures of the horrors of that day are now also etched in my mind.
I loved this image of hot air balloons rising. We have a hot air balloon company near us who take off from the local airport. My kids have loved seeing them float over our house. One time they got close enough that when we waved, the people in the basket waved back.
Hot air ballooning has always intrigued me. But it has also terrified me – flying high in the sky in a small basket, subject to the whims of wind. There are only two choices – sit at the bottom of the basket and try not to hyperventilate with fear, or stand up, turn your face to the wind and enjoy the scenery.
With the pandemic still going strong and the upcoming election, I’ve struggled with this choice. But the blue skies have been beckoning me…enjoy the ride and let my hope ride….
Hello! Hello! I’m catching up with Patrick’s Pic and a Word Challenge prompts (because you know – STREAK!!). This one is #245 – Symmetry. If you need some breathtaking visual inspiration, Patrick’s website is the place to check out!
I am also catching up with my running this week. Thank goodness for Marcia’s Healthy Slice Runfessions! I’m late for the the link-up, but please check out her site if you need some running motivation! Here’s my runfession for August.
Forgive me, Nike, for I have sinned….
I runfess….I am taking Nike’s timeless motto, “Just Do It,” as my mantra this month. I’ve been heading to the basement and running/walking on the treadmill for at least 30 minutes this week. Even if I can only manage a slow walk, I’m getting on the treadmill. Even if I still have laundry to fold and dishes to wash, I’m getting on the treadmill. Even if I really just want to sit on the couch and watch TV, I’m going on the treadmill. I’m just doing it!! Because….
I runfess…I didn’t get my 100 miles in August so I’m trying again in September. The stress of deciding about school and getting ready for virtual learning really depleted my energy in August. I wasn’t sleeping well (I’m still not) and I wasn’t eating healthy (I’m still not) and I wasn’t working out (at least I’m doing that now!). So, if at first you don’t succeed….
I runfess…I haven’t been running outside for two reasons: one – doing virtual learning with the kids means that I am house bound with them. This feels somewhat worse than during the pandemic shelter-in-place earlier this year. We’re doing the same thing, but it just feels wrong – this isn’t how September should be! It’s back to school time and leaf peeping time and fall races time – not sit in front of a computer and see your friends through a small screen time. It makes me angry and sad at the same time which makes being at home difficult…..
Reason number two…..
I runfess…between the pandemic and the upcoming election in the USA, I am glad that I’m doing most of my running on the treadmill. There are numerous political signs up in my neighborhood – the biggest ones support the current administration. It is disheartening that despite everything that has happened – the lies, the lack of science based leadership addressing the pandemic, the inciting of violence, the continued marginalizing of people (whether by skin color, ethnic background, religion, sexual orientation, gender, ability) – people still support the 45th president of the USA. I feel fearful and tearful when I see those signs. It wouldn’t be a good thing for my mental health to keep passing those signs when I’m running by myself. Which brings me to…..
I runfess…it was hard to keep positive this past month. It’s like that point in running a marathon when you think you’ve been running forever and that the finish line is almost there and then you see the mile marker and realize you’re still so far away….
This is why I haven’t signed up for a 50K……yet….. But….
September RESET is in full swing!!! My feet and fingers are moving!! The rest of my body will get there….I’m also going to make sure to catch up on some of your lovely words here on the WordPress blogosphere. That’s going to be much better for my mental health!
And if you live in the USA – please be sure you’re signed up to VOTE this November!!
that can’t differentiate between sarcasm and snark.
My radiance suffers
My light gets dimmer
My flame flickers
It is not my time to shine….
Playing catch up as the school year starts! There won’t be any “alone time” this year since my kids will all be learning from home so I’m trying to “find time” when I can. Right now, time is waiting in line for take out.
Life is anything but radiant right now, so like reading and writing and running, I’m trying to find the glimmers when I can. My friend calls this “find grace” – for myself and others – during this time. It really does help find the “shine” in the heavy dullness of living during a pandemic. It’s the hope that I’m clinging to. It’s the priorities that I am mindfully choosing. It’s the gratitude for blessings that I am counting.
So while I may not yet be back to regular posts…I’m still here… and I appreciate your time in reading this….
Joining Sadje’s “What do you see?” picture prompt #42 this week with the beautiful picture above. I would have loved to know where this picture was taken, if it was for a special ceremony or celebration. The colors are so vibrant against the black background – they seem illuminated even on my computer screen. And the design – does it allude to the “third eye” or does it have some other symbolic meaning?
It’s the person’s gaze in the picture that drew me in. I made the assumption that it was a feminine face, but I could be totally wrong since there are no other indicators of gender. As with any picture, our interpretation really reflects more of who we are and our point of views/filters/biases than on what the artist’s intent is.
The gaze in this picture speaks to resignation – knowing something and accepting it. I am hoping it is a compassionate resignation – knowing the decision made is done with the best intentions and understanding of the current data.
I would like to imagine that this is the look that I have right now. I would like to imagine that it’s the same look mothers/caregivers all over the United States have, after making the difficult decision of whether to send their kids to in-person school or attempt learning from home. I would like to imagine that we are looking at each other with this compassionate resignation and also with the unspoken promise of support no matter the outcome.
The first word of this poem could also be replaced with “Teachers” and the last word would remain the same, “Heroes”. I know our teachers are also struggling with the difficult decision of return to school – for themselves and their children. Again – I bestow the look of compassionate resignation and the promise of support for the following school year.
As this pandemic continues and many of us are feeling the fatigue of continuing with safety measures, let’s practice this compassionate look above our masks. Our eyes can convey hope as easily as contempt.
I press the button right before our feet step off the driveway – Run Time! This has become our nightly ritual – our mother/daughter walks becoming mother/daughter runs over the span of this summer. I wanted our time together to give me a portal into your world – my own TARDIS into teenager-hood.
Instead, we went from walking to running then sprinting – at least for me. Your time went from a 20 minute mile to a 17 minute mile and then a 12 minute mile. This is my regular middle of the pack pace, a pace I love and can do forever even while talking. But you, my dear daughter, pushed the pace and me – faster and faster. Your current time is a 10 minute mile – too fast for your old mum to catch you and ask about the two hour talk you had with your friend who’s a boy.
Today, you almost broke into a 9 minute mile, but instead, you slowed down and waited for me to catch up, noting how much slower I am running. “Is this what happens when you get older?” you ask. Does she glimpse her future through the portal of my sweat stained face? We walk the rest of the mile, time unknown, the portal propped open.
Summer sun fading
Time passes through the portal
The sunflower weeps
In the spirit of Renard’s post, I am not going to apologizing for not posting at all in the past week. To be honest, I didn’t even realize it had been over a week since my last post. It was only when I realized that I had missed two prompts from Patrick and Sadje that I looked at my calendar – oh, how time files when you’re feeling stressed!
I runfess….my daughter is now running faster than me and has logged more miles than I have in the past month. I am proud of her yet frustrated at myself for not being as consistent as she has. On the days when we can’t run outside, she runs on the treadmill downstairs or runs around the house (literally, she is running up and down the stairs, doing laps around the kitchen island, running in circles around her siblings) while I’m making dinner or doing laundry or doing some other mom-ming duty. These are the things that I put aside when I run with her outside. While I do cherish the one on one time I can spend with her, this usually means dinner is later or I’m folding laundry until midnight. Still, I love seeing her persistence and pride in getting her mile in and getting faster.
I runfess….I’ve set a goal of hitting 100 miles in August. It’s sinking in that we are already a week in and I haven’t meet my weekly mileage for this past week. I know this is due to stressing out about whether to send my kids to school or not. I have been doing research on the computer, talking to local friends who are doctors or teachers about what they’re doing, reaching out to people for their take on the situation. It’s a lot of information and I have not yet made peace with our decision which is due tomorrow. This week though, I am getting back on track! I’ll report back at the end of August!
I runfess…I really miss races! Let me clarify, I really miss the EXPO before big races! I loved getting the free stuff and trying out new gels and drinks, getting great discounts for signing up for races. I loved meeting up with other MRTT/SRTT members and “carb loading” after getting our swag. I even loved getting the race shirt that never seemed to fit right. There was always that buzzing excitement of all these people coming together for one purpose. There is really nothing like it! I miss that.
There are so many things I miss about “pre-pandemic running.” There are so many things I miss about “pre-pandemic life”!! Still, this time has brought about some positive changes (as well as some negative). This coming month, I’m choosing to focus on these positives. Like the sunflower that re-orients itself to the east at night so it can catch the first rays of the sunrise, I am re-orienting my mindset after making this stressful school decision. Here’s to the sunrise!
I stole Sadje’s title for this poem for her “What do you see?” Picture Prompt #40. I love reading different responses to the same prompt. It just proves that we really do see things differently based on who we are: our experiences, preferences, points of view all contribute to our interpretation of the information from our senses.
Kate’s Friday Fun prompt – Pairs was the big contributor to my interpretation of Sadje’s prompt. If you remember your elementary math, the number 6 can be made by two different multiplication pairs: 6 and 1, 3 and 2. It doesn’t matter if you have 3 sets of 2 or 2 sets of 3, the result is the same. This is called the Commutative Property and it holds true for addition, as well as, multiplication. (Who said you don’t need math if you’re going to be a poet?!)
With all the different opinions going around about school reopening, I always check to see who the opinion is coming from. Opinions from teachers, especially those who are also parents, have a lot more weight than opinions from politicians or even administrators who don’t have as much at stake. Everyone thinks or feels they are doing what is best for the children – from their point of view.
We have to make a decision about whether to send our kids back to school this week and it’s not getting easier. Writers – if you have sent your child(ren) back to school, what factored into your decision? How was it for the kids? What safety measures did your school take? Do you prefer 2×3 or 3×2?
Anyone who can see the future by reading tea leaves, please chime in as well!