Month: April 2016

Small Moments

Recently, I’ve been trying to be more mindful of the small, but special moments in my life for often our happiness is found not in major events, but in ordinary events which bring a small measure of joy. I just had one of those “small moments”.

For several months, I’ve been helping a bright, articulate high school girl improve her non-fiction reading skills and hone her ability to answer tricky test questions. Today, I rushed out of school to be home in time for our 5:00 appointment. It was a busy day and I was beat…not really looking forward to “teaching” for yet another hour.

As usual, this lovely young woman arrived promptly at 5:00. After a bit of chit-chat, we began working on two related passages, practicing good reading strategies, marking up the text and preparing to discuss it. Elaine worked diligently, following directions to the letter, reading with a high level of focus and stamina, preparing to discuss the salient points of both articles. Using the first stance from Kylene Beer’s latest book, our discussion centered on what surprised us. The issue  of the contaminated water in Flint, Michigan was the topic of both articles and there was plenty of facts contained in the articles that stunned both of us. By the time we finished sharing reactions, our session was almost over. I reviewed the purpose of strategies we had used and encouraged Elaine to try to approach non-fiction text using the “What surprises me?” stance we had practiced.

As Elaine prepared to leave, we laughed and talked about a few ordinary things, she thanked me and I closed the door. Suddenly, I realized I was no longer tired. “Working” with this sweet high school student challenged and invigorated me. Elaine’s happy and grateful demeanor, her ability to work purposefully, and her high level of motivation kept our session moving in a positive manner. This impressive young lady fills me with a sense of optimism about today’s youth and I enjoy the small, special moments I share with her.



Little Boys

The highlight of my weekend was celebrating Patrick’s birthday. Patrick is my grandson, my only grandson, my only grandson who just turned six years old. As a mother of four boys, having a grandson in addition to eight grandaughters is not only a delight, it is a peek back in time. In Patrick, I recognize the many dimensions of being a little boy that I so loved in our own sons.

At times, Patrick is playful, funny, teasing. He loves to hide when I walk in, then jump out and surprise me. He loves sports, games, tricks, jokes and ice cream. I could say the same about all four of my sons. On another day, Pat may be in a more serious mood, filled with wonder, questioning everything, open to deep discussions. This is the best. Perhaps the teacher in me enjoys the chance to explain, ponder, and question right along with him. These moments remind me of the bedtime ritual of tucking in our sons and engaging in conversations that I believe helped to shape who they are today.

Time with Patrick is always enjoyable, entertaining and meaningful but I must say my favorite time is when Patrick wants to sit on my lap and read a story. Knowing the lapsitting won’t last much longer, I savor the moments and do my best to infuse storytime with joy and affection. Patrick has been read to his entire life and by now I can see that he views reading as a pleasurable experience. Storytime always brings me back to another time and place reading to Michael, Matt, Jack or Joe (and, of course, Rose) Our sons are now grown men, which makes it even more special to once again learn about dinosaurs, travel to foreign places and share adventures with a little guy on my lap.

An Unwelcome Guest

It’s Tuesday and I intend to stay true to my SOL commitment, even though I am sitting here wondering what to write. Truth be told, I’ve been a bit down these past few days. Sometimes, melancholy sneaks in the door, pulls up a chair and like an unwelcome guest, intrudes on us. Possibly, the combination of a good friend’s death, a return to winter-like weather, and the reality that my teaching career will last only a few more weeks, can be blamed for this malaise. Who knows? Certainly, if you are reading this you know the feeling. For no one escapes periodic visits from this guest. The trick, of course, is gratitude, activity, and reaching out to help another. So, perhaps, I’ll simply show her  the door, explain that I have better things to do than spend time with her, and get on with my life.

April Fools

It’s been awhile, I must say                                                                                                               Since I’ve been fooled on April Fool’s Day.

But today my brother got the better of me                                                                                     When he texted that Trump as a candidate was not to be.

The text said that Trump dropped out of the race.                                                                         I wasn’t surprised, thinking Trump wanted to save face.

Quickly, I tried to verify this matter                                                                                                   but the lack of information made me mad as a hatter.

About five minute passed and then                                                                                                   I heard from my dear brother again.

“April Fools”, he said to me.                                                                                                               But I’ll get him back, just wait and see!