A Big Nag, a namaste, an invitation

The Big Nag began a couple months ago; January maybe?

Let me back up. One morning, I was in one of Lansing’s elementary schools on a preschool tour. Louisa’s old enough to go next year and I’m old enough to see the value in free childcare, should we get in (please, sweet baby Jesus). This particular building is a public Montessori school called Wexford. Sounds very British (it’s not). Its neighborhood is near ours; it’s full of small, tired houses and potholes. Koi swim in a small pond outside the front door.

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On our visit, the principal walked Louisa and I by another fish tank in the lobby and into a preschool/ kindergarten room. I’d braced myself to see typical preschool fare: glitter glue, blocks, someone crying. I have children; I know what this looks like.

Instead, hear me: all was quiet. Children’s bodies lay in a loose circle on a big piece of carpet. Their little eyes were closed; they inhaled and exhaled at the teacher’s yoga instruction. We watched, mesmerized (my children are never this quiet, not even in sleep). After a minute, the class returned to “pretzel legs.”

Namaste, they all said.  

“What’s that word mean?” the teacher asked.  

A boy said, “It means, I see the good in you and you see the good in me.”

[…]

The three thousand who learn somewhere else, and we who live here anyway

I lugged a ladder around my house Monday morning, spraying vinegar water on the windows and wiping them clean with newspaper. It was the Sunday paper, and that matters because it wasn’t just the paper in my hands that left its ink on my fingers. I kept the front section on the front stoop under a Read more about The three thousand who learn somewhere else, and we who live here anyway[…]

We’re in so deep

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She stood stoically by the brick wall, a gaggle of giggly girls to her left. “Look at my new puppy backpack!” one girl shouted over and over to last year’s classmates as they walked by. Alice didn’t move much from the line Ms. W’s class was making outside the second-grade wing before their first day this morning.

She looked at her shiny new shoes, her yellow lunchbox with bicycles on it hanging by her knees. She sniffed. Her three-year-old sister sat at my feet.

 

Around the building stood Dave with Violet, outside the kindergarten wing.

We made it; we landed outside the school building today, sputtering and wiping the water from our brows.

[…]

The start of a beautiful relationship (with a place)

 

“We’re home! We live here now!” my 5-year-old said as Dave and a friend hauled our couch into our new living room. Later, Dave read library books to wet-haired girls under blankets on that couch while I sat on the love seat, day-dreaming about the Oreos I was about to eat as soon as they were in bed. Later still, a lamp post outside made black-and-orange striped shadows on the bare walls as I ascended the red-shag-carpeted steps to our attic bedroom.

After midnight, the rain pit-patted above me. “Thank God: I’m home,” I thought.

Home. What’s different about this one, and why does any of this matter? Am I making more of this than necessary? How many Oreos are we talking?

[…]

To which God is saying, ‘Yeah. Duh.’

Earlier this week: The window opened wide, vertically, and the neighbor stuck out her arm to wave hello, and leaned on her elbows against the sill. “What are you tracking?” “We don’t know yet!” Violet yelled up to her. Surreal: sparkles of snow swirled from their roof; the snow on the ground untouched by boot prints, but only for Read more about To which God is saying, ‘Yeah. Duh.’[…]

The old house on Ontario Street

I still dream about the old house sometimes. It was charming, despite previous owners’ weird preferences for paint colors and toilets in impossibly limiting closets. Original woodwork; drafty windows. We’d grill peaches on the deck in July, scrape ice from our windshields from November to April, and the sun would rise as I safely ran Read more about The old house on Ontario Street[…]

‘The family is, practically, a commune’

“Wagner says, in his most beautiful opera, that art is only a way of remembering youth. And the older we grow the more precious it seems to us, and the more richly we can present that memory. When we’ve got it all out, — the last, the finest thrill of it, the brightest hope of Read more about ‘The family is, practically, a commune’[…]