I am working on several new paintings. They are all in flux. However, when I look around my paint splattered studio, I see ten unfinished masterpieces. Who knows, maybe I will think they are complete well before they should be. A few, I might overwork. However, there is also a chance I will somehow allow a painting to shine in its full glory and become the masterpiece that it is meant to be.
How can we see the “masterpiece” in each person we meet?
Today our son, Dowan, found a tiny, slightly bouncy ball that captivated his heart and soul. He played catch with anyone who would throw it to him, on land, in water, kid, adult, it didn’t matter. When he figured out how to bounce the ball against the pool wall and back to himself, all the better. I was highly amused by the sheer delight that permeated his ten-month-old self. It reminded me of the hyper focus of someone in a new relationship or the excitement I see in students who have just found their favorite book series or a new app that was seemingly developed just for them.
When was the last time you found that new thing?
Our school district is short on money so instead of spending my summer doing curriculum development and extensive trainings, I have had a lot more time at home. It took us several weeks to figure out the dynamics of our 24/7 family time but we are finally in the groove. Our pace has slowed way down; today felt like a big day because it included picking blueberries AND swimming. Although I love my work, having the opportunity to truly slow down and hang out with my family has been a big gift.
What gifts have you received from slowing down?
The most practical thing to do tonight would have been to put all the kids down at their regular bedtime in order to insure the most amount of sleep and avoid unnecessary moodiness come morning. However, our three and a half year old, Simka, has music in her bones. The outdoor concert and swing dance was calling for her and I had to respond, practical or not.
I am writing this post after the concert and not after, “the day after” the concert however, I am pretty certain we made the right move. Simka was a vision in orange as she swirled and twirled to the rhythm of “that funny band with the piano playing OUTSIDE!” She made friends with big kids, rehashed “Frozen” with concert volunteers and gasped at the sunset as we headed home. Sometimes the impractical is the obvious choice.
When have you been happily impractical?
We went to the most accessible playground in the universe last week. The massive, ramp laden, sensory filled, bouncy astro turf covered, shaded, structures made this Rockport, Massachusetts school playground, the best I have ever seen. The twins were just as content cruising and crawling on the low ramps as the local Tweens were playing a dungeons and dragons game on the seven different slides and high ramps. I could picture some of my students with autism grooving out on the attached, spinning objects and my favorite kid in a wheelchair could navigate the entire structure. What’s the point? This playground is an incredible example of Universal Design. It is a symbol that everyone in that community has a right to interact on equal ground.
How do we provide equal ground to people in our communities, so that everyone has equal access to Parent Teacher Organizations, schools, places of worship, the parking lot and…..?
Marriage is weird
On a rare occasion, I love terrible T.V. Most recently, that means: “Married at First Sight.” The idea is that three U.S. couples marry someone that “the experts” have arranged for them. It made me start to think about how odd marriage it is: you meet someone, then as a rule, you make a deal that you will treat each other differently than you would treat anyone else. In a way, each one of our relationships is like a marriage of sorts. There are unwritten rules on how to treat colleagues, friends, house guests and elevator partners… Whether in a marriage or in a meeting, following the rules leads to a larger chance of success.
Here’s the question: How do we learn the rules?
Our oldest turned seven today. She was beyond excited all day long and did her best not to tell every stranger it was her big day (only about half). The other strangers we met, found out about our family celebration from our three year old announcer who proudly let the world know that her big sister was bigger today. At the end of the day we heard the most surprising announcement from Simka; “This was the best day EVER.” When asked why, she simply responded, “Because it was Freya’s birthday.”
How can we remember to tap into the joy of those we love?