Nine-to-fourteen inches of snow was the prediction. Grocery lanes were jammed with customers stocking their larders (if larders were a thing in 2019 urban Milwaukee) with the necessities a snowpocalypse demands. Cancellations flurried in late Sunday afternoon, then dumped en masse and at the speed of light. Kids rejoiced, then made a mad dash for sleds and snowpants. School district superintendents pushed their social media campaigns for the most clever delivery of snow day school closings (the dude from Missouri Valley wins all, this week or last, hands down).
I was delighted not to have to set an alarm this morning and I’m relieved not to be navigating snow-covered, ice-crusted roads, not gonna lie about that, friends, but I expected more from “thundersnow.” Though it’s picking up again, I believe they oversold it.
I spent a too-short weekend partially prostrate on my friend Ann’s couch. Too short in part to my eagerness to avoid the impending doom of the snowpocalypse. I really have become a wuss as my years on this earth advance. Maybe I’m smarter too, but mostly, I’m much less a risk-taker than I once was. Hoping to avoid an early arrival by Mother Nature, I hit the road before noon Sunday.
Thank you to the inimitable Charles M. Schulz for his colorful characters with character.
In my little Peanuts metaphor, Ann is Lucy Van Pelt, dispensing psychiatric advice, and yours truly stars, or slumps really, in the role of Charlie Brown, trying to make sense of my anxieties. I write about stuff here, but there, on her grey couch resting my head on the most calming, nuanced shade of coral accent pillows, is where I talked. I won’t bore you with the details, but voicing the words, “I think I bordered on depressed for a few days” was cathartic. Saying those words helped me realized I’m already rising through, returning to equilibrium. Five cents, please.
Other thoughts from the couch. . .
No, I haven’t gone under the needle, but twice since Saturday and with two different friends, it’s come up. My BFF just had bangs cut into her naturally platinum spiral locks–“cheap Botox” she claimed. I wear my glasses more frequently, masking those deep, deep, deep furrow lines between my brow with chunky tortoiseshell frames. I thought the laugh lines would be the most prominent as I aged, but it would seem I’m less jolly than I imagined myself, my face wearing worry or anger more often. Boo.
I once proclaimed that I would NEVER consider plastic surgery. I was 35 then, the hell did I know?? I am vain though, and I probably would shoot my face full of toxins if I weren’t terror-stricken that I’d become paralyzed, or worse, dead as a result. I like my smile lines–wouldn’t change those. And no, my lips aren’t as elastic as they’d been, but who wants to look like any one of the thousands of “Housewives” along with other celebrities, barely recognizable as humanoids anymore?? I mean besides the thousands lining up every month at their plastic surgeon’s office. Stop the madness, ladies! And gentlemen, for that matter.
In education, we endure cycles of pendulum swings. In 2019 THIS is what’s best for kids, we’re told. You’ve been doing it all wrong, y’all–THIS [insert new thing here] is the best approach to learning. Stick around long enough and you’ve heard it all–Whole Language, Direct Instruction, Site-Based Management, Multiple Intelligences, School Choice (let’s just DON’T), Learning Styles, Problem Solving, Understanding a Framework of Poverty, Differentiated Instruction, Whole-Small-Whole Group Instruction, Full Inclusion, Common Core State Standards, Standards-Based Grading, Trauma-Informed Care, Social-Emotional Learning, Interventions, School-to-Work, College and Career Ready, Mindfulness, Every kid gets a Chromebook! Geez, my fingers need a break from just typing!
Ann and I observed how the pendulum’s swing hasn’t quite returned to the opposite arc–instead it’s pinging at a near 90-degree angle. When will we inch back to what teachers know actually works? When will pedagogy be stripped from politicians and big-money publishing houses to be returned to teachers, you know, the ones who teach?? What will it take? I used the term revolution; Ann more astutely remarked that we are lying in wait for the next age of enlightenment, the next renaissance.
I sometimes feel that my children are part of some half-assed social experiment. Their time having been enrolled in formal education has seen more changes than in any period in my career. I eagerly await this Renaissance. I’m happy this neo-Renaissance of which I dream comes with indoor plumbing and vaccinations though. Science is real, yo.
Politics and the Government Shutdown
Nope. Not touching it. You know me? You know where I stand. I thank my lucky stars that I have Ann’s grey couch to dive deeply into ideas and ideals. And lunacy.
My son related to his father and me a conversation he’d had with a friend who is transgender about this individual’s identifying with the gender opposite the one at birth. My son was working out the pronouns, and what I loved most about this chat was that his friend being transgender was really a sidebar to matter of this friend bringing “Cards Against Humanity” and “What Do You Meme?” to play during some free time after school, about which he was deeeeeeeee-lighted. Those games are so inappropriate. So stinkin’ funny though, and let me be your cautionary tale–they’re not games kids want to play with their parents nor parents with their kids. I’m still blushing. . .
Brewers On Deck
My baby, the 6′ thirteen-year-old multi-sport athlete, through his baseball organization, had an opportunity to attend Brewers On Deck. On Deck is a massive fan fest where Milwaukee Brewers baseball players are made to make themselves available for a day-long meet and greet. Fans wait in line for autographs and photos. The event sells out annually, and with a tuxedo-clad Christian Yelich having just received his MVP award the night prior, the kids’ entry was a premium! The kid was ready to go, but begged off at the last minute. He had a chance to meet his idol, Travis Shaw, but declined. I’m told he crashed the boards and crashed his knee Saturday morning during his basketball game, so wasn’t at top form physically. I can’t help but wonder if he has a touch of his mother’s anxiety though–he was petrified to meet Barenaked Ladies (granted, he was seven at the time) and he didn’t feel like it was OK to approach Alan Doyle after a show in Chicago a few years back either. I think he’s an “I’m gonna admire them from afar” kind of guy. Not that there’s anything wrong with that; there’s not. But I don’t want him to throw away his shot.
2019 MDA Muscle Walk
Yep, I’m already ratcheting up about the timing of this year’s walk. My younger son has a baseball tournament out of town that weekend, so I already know my husband and I are going to have to split time. This year’s event is June 1, scheduled with hopes of warmer weather prevailing on walk day. My son is “lucky” that his MD doesn’t come with the side dish of massive internal complications that many kids with MD endure. But now I’m prematurely anxious/guilty about picking. In missing one or the other, which child will be deemed or feel more “worthy” of my attention, will all of us have all the right gear in the right city?
Anxiety is dumb. But that’s the thing about anxiety–it’s worrying about something that might never happen. But that doesn’t mean you don’t worry; you can’t help but worry. It’s the very definition of anxiety. I know I’ll be at the Muscle Walk, so why is this even a thing?
Probably I’ll figure that one out on my next visit down to Ann’s. Miss you already, sweet girl.