Before I left for work this morning, I posted errantly on Facebook, “celebrating” my forty-sixth first day of school. Today was, in fact, my forty-seventh. Poor Mrs. Goldberg, my kindergarten teacher! I left her caught in the cobwebs of my aging memory. How could I forget my first-ever school experience? Kindergarten–one-half day of nickel pints of milk, graham crackers for snack, and PASTE! Man, I loved how paste smelled and felt (no, not tasted!)–laid the educational foundation for all the learning that followed.
One year of kindergarten, plus grades 1-8, high school, college, graduate school, and now, twenty-eight years into my career as a school speech-language pathologist equals forty-seven. I began five-year-old kindergarten when I was four years old, FYI, lest you tack another birthday candle on my cake.
In that incorrect post, I remarked that the first day of school was cooler when I got a new pair of shoes and a bunch of new clothes to mark such a momentous occasion. And OK, mock me, go ahead, I loooooooved school supplies. Still do. I looked forward to the first day of school with gleeful anticipation every year.
Now? I would like to sleep just a short while longer each morning. I only cried once on my first day of school, after hitting my head on my desk. I am certain that individuals employed by Google or IBM don’t have to sit on the filthy floor below their desks, struggling to shift fully loaded file cabinets in order to plug in their computers, but I do, and I bonked my head on the way up. I dropped the first of many, many, many workplace profanities for Fiscal Year 19. Starting strong, yo. My mouth that is, not my head.
I don’t have much new to say, friends. My dog is sick again, I’m home for good from my (for me) long stretch of travel, I’ve read a number of books, though nothing life-altering recently, I’m still riding my bike, getting back into yoga, baseball season is over and we await callbacks from tryouts for next season, my big kid gets braces Wednesday, and starts high school in a week. I’ve hit the end-of-summer blahs like a switch. Can malaise have a switch? ‘Cause it feels like malaise would be more like an ooze, you know?
I did want to share a non-blah blast from my big kid’s College For Kids Young Writer’s Academy a few weeks back. I’m not a poetry gal. Never was. But I discovered a new genre at parents’ day. It’s not something I’m likely to pursue (because, poetry), but it’s a neat little conceit: found poetry. Ya see, whatcha do here to create a found poem is take an existing piece of literature or news article, select snippets containing powerful words, and lay them down. You can leave the found poem as is, or use it as a basis from which to edit. The instructors provided a variety of texts, including the Shepherd Express, a local weekly not penned with the arch-conservative set its target demographic.
I opened the newspaper randomly, also randomly choosing an article. Here’s my found, unedited poem (guess what was big news mid-July?)
My children are just broken
My kids distraught
Lessen the number of families being separated
We saw it in slavery
We saw it in internment camps
No religion anywhere
Treated like an animal
People need to come together
Supporting each other
Ta-da! The best poem I ever/never wrote.
Course instructors again hit us up for a six word memoir, and this year, unlike the my introduction to this kickass exercise, I was pleased to share mine:
Writing tells me how I feel
Today, writing tells me that I’m a little sad to be back at the 40-hours-per grind. I feel as though I’m missing some critical pieces in my kids’ lives, like being at work right now means I’m denied some of their secret dreams and hopes. Writing tells me I’m anxious about my kid getting braces and starting high school in the same week. It tells me that while I’m taking strides toward better physical health, I must continue to seek outlets for supporting the health of my heart and mind as well. I’m not sure that a new pair of shoes or a fun new outfit would serve that purpose, but surely they couldn’t hurt, right??