Throughout March, I take pictures and jot notes to help me remember moments I might right about. Some become posts and others don’t. Here are my scraps from this March.
But other times, my heart is cool. I bob along gently like a balloon on a string. My heart feels lazy and slow, as quiet as a snowfall. This is when my heart is calm.
I stand in Barnes and Noble, reading these words from In My Heart: A Book of Feelings by Jo Witek. I stand here holding my daughter, as my son wanders the store, and I realize that this is how my heart feels right now. This is how my heart always feels when we wander here.
Sometimes we come to Barnes and Noble on a mission to find a specific book, sometimes in search of something new, and most often just to wander. This store is a happy place for us.
Barnes and Noble was there when Troy was little and more interested in playing with the train than finding a new book. It was there for us when he needed the next book in the A Tale Dark and Grimm series and he couldn’t wait even a day. It was there each time he finished a book and needed something new. It was there when he finally decided he was ready to read Harry Potter. And it was there last year when he was struggling and needed a safe place. It has always brought both of us a feeling of peace when we needed it most.
I stand here reading this book, holding my daughter in my arms as my son wanders. And I am filled with gratitude for this store full of books. This safe place. The calm we can always find regardless of the storms raging within. And I am filled with gratitude for all the memories that have occurred within these walls, surrounded by stories.
“She needed a man.”
I had heard her “reading” behind me, but wasn’t focusing on what she was saying. I was trying to enjoy our Flashlight Friday with some reading as well. But that line – that line pulled me out of my book.
“She went to Africa. She needed someone to take care of the chimpanzees.”
She continued to pace behind me, “reading” from her book. I knew she wasn’t reading the words in the book. Making up her own story is still her favorite reading time activity, even though she can read books that are “just right” for her. Some days, like today, the day before Spring Break, it’s a battle we can’t fight. We know we won’t win. After several minutes of listening, it was clear she was “reading” about Jane Goodall.
It was taking every ounce of will power not to laugh.
“I read chimpanzee books until I was six. Those were long years…” she reads as if she is exhausted.
That was it. I couldn’t contain my amusement, but tried to stay as silent as possible. However, at this point others around us were hearing this, too.
“What is she reading?” a boy at the next table asks.
“Don’t worry. Read your book,” I reply as I pretended to read mine.
She continues on and he can’t let it go.
“What is she reading?” he asks again.
“About Jane Goodall and chimpanzees,” I tell him.
Then, the girl under my table, with a clear view of the book in question, says in a confused tone, “It’s about a dog and a dolphin?”
It’s a good thing it’s the Friday before Spring Break…
This is the same student that stars in my slices Finding a Just Right Book the Week Before Spring Break and What’s a Pole Vault?. She is a fountain of slices! She has been my muse this month!
“Was that you or her?” I asked my son from the front seat.
“Her,” he said with a chuckle. He’s constantly impressed and amused with his baby sister’s flatulence.
“Wow.” It really is shocking the volume of the sounds that can come from such a tiny human. It reminded me of Fridays dinner at my husbands grandparents. “You know on Friday, I had her sitting on the table that everyone else was eating at and she tooted. They all turned and looked at us…it was really loud. I think they wondered which one of us it was.”
“Well, yeah. It’s like when you fart on a yoga ball! It like…echos,” my son said with animation. “It’s so loud!” he continued as my husband and I laugh and shake our heads. “It’s true! Have you ever farted on a yoga ball?!”
I want to shake my head at the things teenage boys find entertaining. But since drafting this slice, I’ve realized that I am writing this story…so what does that say about me….
“I need to show you something,” she said as she walked in holding her laptop.
Oh no. I couldn’t help but wondering what was wrong. My anxiety jumps to the worst possible conclusions in seconds. Why would a fifth grade teacher be coming into my second grade room? I know I came in late to the meeting this morning, but that’s not something that ever happens…
“I have to sign in again.” I waited as she set the laptop on the tiny couch and typed in her password. The horrible possibilities rushing through my mind.
When I noticed what was open on her screen, I realized why she had walked over here. She was showing me that my slice was featured on TWT today! I knew this, but she didn’t know that. I was so excited that one of my slices was chosen to be featured in the “Be Inspired” section of today’s post. However, it means even more that a colleague of ten years was so excited for me.
In the moment, I was jumping to worst case scenarios, because that’s what I always do. Looking back, now that my nerves have settled, I realize that she was smiling and excited for me. That’s what I missed in my original version of the slice – the happiness and excitement. My anxiety took over and altered the reality, so I’m taking that moment back. Luckily, it’s March and I can reflect and revise my memory of this slice of my day.
“I need to show you something,” she said as she walked in smiling and holding her laptop.
I wonder what was so exciting it caused her to take the walk down the stairs, across the hall, and then up here to the “other upstairs?”
“I have to sign in again.” I waited as she set the laptop on the tiny couch and typed in her password.
When I noticed what was open on her screen, I realized why she had walked over here. She was showing me that my slice was featured on TWT today! I knew this, but she didn’t know that. I was so excited that one of my slices was chosen to be featured in the “Be Inspired” section of today’s post. Thanks for being excited for me, Katie!
I am so grateful for the community that SOL creates and all of the teachers in my school alone that are participating. (We went from three of us six years ago, to numbers in the teens the last two years!)
wrapped around the blue petals.
She saw her reflection
absorbed in the moment.
She continued to smile
at the little girl in the mirror
who smiled back.
Content and happy.
And I silently hoped
this is how it would always be.
That regardless of
the years that pass,
the things that change,
the worries that exist,
she will always see her reflection
and smile at the person
looking back at her.
Content and happy.
“How about this book?” she says more to herself than me. She doesn’t really care what I think.
“That book is in Spanish,” I tell her, for some reason thinking it will be enough for her to put it back and pick a new one. Some of the students know how to speak Spanish, a few more how to read it. She is not in either of those categories.
She continued looking at it, getting ready to put it in her book bag.
“You don’t know how to read Spanish, so that book isn’t just right for you.”
“Yes I do.”
“You don’t know how to read Spanish. Put the book back and pick a new one,” I repeat.
She looks up at me and smiles, “Gracias!”
I can’t. Through laughter I repeat, “Put the book back and pick a new one.”