Bittersweet

One of my main goals in writing is getting emotions on paper. I often find it hard to say aloud how I feel. However, if I can physically write down the words spinning in my head, it often brings a sense of release. Today, there may be too many emotions…

Our district made the difficult decision to transition to distance learning for the remainder of this semester. The announcement brought an initial sigh of relief. Teaching during a pandemic is challenging, to say the least. Stress levels have been increasing daily.

Yet, even during the struggle, there have been moments of light. Experiencing the joy of music with students-watching lightbulbs turn on. Being part of a loving, supportive staff that is always saying, “We are in this together!”

Nevertheless, here I am today. This is the last day for students this semester. I have already had conversations with older students this morning-a questioning look in their eyes-my attempt to assure them everything will be ok. Even one of my quietest students called out my name in the hallway, “Hi, Mrs. Morris,” followed by a big hug. They know…

There are no easy answers. The relief that accompanied the decision quickly mingled with a sense of sadness. So, today I smiled and listened. We danced the Reindeer Pokey and did body percussion to Jingle Bells. I reminded them that I love them and that we will be together again soon. And that it is ok to be sad because that is when we can show our love for each other.

The following visual from Taya Oelze’s kindergarten class says it best! You might want to zoom in! 😉

How to help friends who are sad. ❤

Birthdays

Today is day one of year fifty-three! How is that possible? And my oldest son, who was born on my birthday, turns 26!

Teaching school on your birthday means lots of kids asking, “How old are you?”  I always make the older ones do the math.  But if youngers ask, I just tell them. 

Their reactions are precious!  And good for my self-esteem.  At least one will say, “Oh, you look a lot younger than that!” 😉 Of course today, one also mentioned that 53 was almost 100!

Birthdays are a time for celebrating and reflecting. And I have definitely felt celebrated! I suppose this poem is my reflection. ❤

Digging Holes

Some days I am
Tempted to dig
Holes deep in
The ground
Deep enough
To bury regrets
Yet, experience
Teaches that will
Only leave behind
A landscape marred
By mounds of guilt-
Perhaps planting
Would be a better
Choice than burying-
Sowing seeds
Of encouragement
Instead of judgment
Acceptance instead
Of comparisons
Recognizing that
Each of us has
Holes we could dig
Regrets we could bury
But we also have
The power to help
Fill ones scooped
Out by others
Tending a landscape
Covered by the beauty of
Love and understanding

Things I’ve Missed

How many things
Have I missed
On daily walks
Thru the house
Across parking lots
Up and down
School hallways
I’m certain there
Are others walking
The very same paths
Sometimes I see them-
Really see them
Past the superficial
How are you? I’m fine
But other days
The path becomes
So familiar
I simply stroll
Looking down
Focused only on
The thoughts inside
My own head-
Oh, to not miss again
The things I’ve missed before

Musical Legos

I can’t think of too many birthdays or Christmases for our children that did not include Legos of some kind. There were superheroes, Star Wars, dragons, even the Friends coffee house for Rachel last year. Some of the more intricate sets remain on display.  

I remember watching in amazement as they tore through the instruction booklets. It seemed like building times grew shorter as complexity grew harder. Pieces were sorted according to numbered bags, carefully following each step. A sense of accomplishment once each piece was in its place.

Several months ago, I read a story about a new Lego creation-a baby grand piano. The creator’s wife is a pianist, influencing his idea. Amazingly, this piano was to have working parts, gears, Bluetooth-somehow allowing it to actually play music. Even the piano bench would be adjustable-every pianist’s dream!

Casually I mentioned how cool it would be to have that set. Of course, the actual process of building it didn’t enter my mind. I was, however, fascinated with the final outcome.

Yesterday, we had an early birthday celebration for me and our oldest son, Robert. We share a birthday. Our family loves us so well. We each received thoughtful gifts pertaining in some way to our interests.

But I bet you cannot guess what gift I received from my husband. Yep! That grand piano Lego set! I felt like a little kid on Christmas morning. ❤

As I type, my dining room table is covered with bags of tiny pieces-twenty bags. Wait, now there are nineteen bags. With a little help and supervision, I put together the first two bags last night.  😉

This project will challenge my patience and fine motor skills. It will help me explore other areas of creativity, different from my usual. It will be good for my brain. But most of all, it will be good for my heart. Reminding me how much I am loved and that everything really does come full circle-even Legos.

Thanksgiving Prayer

My heart is seeking
A place of safety
Not to hide
But to sing
At first, quietly
To myself
Until joy that
Runs deep
Becomes
Overflowing
Gladness, and
I can sing
Out loud
With confidence
Hearing my voice
As it mingles
With others
Looking not to
Stir up conflict
Instead, pursuing
Lasting peace…
My heart left full…
Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving will look very different for most of us this year. Mine will be nothing like those of my childhood. At least forty people gathered in my Grandparents’ small house. Everyone would fill their plate and look for a place to sit. It really didn’t matter if it was a chair or a spot on the floor. Even outside on the porch if the weather was nice. All that mattered was being together.

Although those times are long past, the memories are forever inscribed on my heart. I always look back with a smile, grateful for my growing up years.

But there is no denying the difficulties this year brings.
It is my hope we can find ways to express thanks while also acknowledging those difficulties-joy mixed with our sorrow.

Sincerely wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving! ❤

Tomorrow’s Memories

Traditions washed away
Left with a choice-
Create new ones
Or spend hours
Grieving the old
Left with a choice-
Sprinkle drops of
Sadness on those
I love or shower
Them with love
That transcends
Traditions
Left with a choice-
Allow the temporary
To weigh down or
Be lifted up by
Treasures of
The heart
Mingling joy
With sadness
While celebrating
The mysteries of
Faith, hope, love
Family, friendship-
Understanding
Today’s choices
Will become
Tomorrow’s
Memories

Good Company

Everything a chore
Getting dressed
Dishes, laundry
Talking, smiling
Each takes an
Effort beyond
The necessary
Every day is
Not this way
But today…
It is my reality
Trusting that
Giving voice
To the internal
Though difficult
Will bring relief
And if not for me
Possibly another
Not yet able to
Express their struggle-
Finding strength
In good company

This poem was an attempt to give words to a recent low period.
And though I am feeling better, I accept that it will not be my last. Such is this life. I share because it is so important to know we are not alone-even at our lowest. ❤

Sunrise Greetings

A beautiful sunrise has the power to change my outlook on the day.  If…I remember to look up.  I wrote the first poem during a poetry writing circle facilitated by Ali Grimshaw.  Check out her blog at: http://flashlightbatteries.blog/

The second poem was in response to a specific morning.  One of those skies that just could not be ignored. ❤

Untouchable Beauty

Present every morning
A greeting in colors
Variations dependent
On the seasons
On the weather
On the moment
Sadly, the greeting
Is often ignored
The day rapidly
Approaching
Filled with too
Many worries
But then there
Are those times
Where the sky
Is so vibrant
Changing with each
Added ray of sunlight
I cannot help
But look upward
With gratitude
Accept the welcome
And lose myself
In untouchable beauty

Transformation

 Colors bathe the
 Morning sky
 Swaths of pinks
 And blues
 Smiling inside
 Around the
 Next curve
 Bright morning 
 Light peaks out 
 Over the horizon
 Illuminating
 Hints of vivid
 Oranges and
 Brilliant reds
 Another sip of
 Morning coffee
 Smiling on the outside
 Hopeful transformation
 In the morning skies
 Lifting my spirits 

Rock-a-Bye-Baby

My parents rocked me when I was a baby. They sang lullabies, read stories. Made sure I was cared for. I grew up around babies-younger cousins and my brother. I rocked, fed, sang, and played with them. The example had been set for me. When I had my own children, I knew what to do, or at least, where to begin.

Not everyone has that experience. And some that do become so bombarded with the struggles of this life, they forget what is vital. When this happens, the next generation suffers.

Little brains and bodies don’t develop as they should. Gaps are created in connecting, learning, functioning. I see the results of these holes in growth every day. Improvement is possible, but it takes time and focused intention.

And then there are those days…brief moments of light shine through.  A smile, a hug, a lightbulb turning on.  The reason may not always be clear, but the result is cherished.  I wrote the following poem after one of those days. 

Holding on to the hope for more like it in the future. ❤

TOOTHY GRIN

The first time
I saw you
My only thought-
Do you ever smile?
Not even a hint
In your distant
Young eyes
And then one day
A toothy grin
Shone through
Your tough shell
Brief and unsure
But sweetly present
Reminding me
That you are
A child in need of
Reasons to smile
Hoping another
Reason will find
You again soon
Turning that
Toothy grin into
A beaming smile-
Lasting and confident

SAFE PASSAGE

The journey was
Not always what I
Thought it would be-
Rocking chairs
And lullabies
Bike rides and
Skinned knees
Tiny pieces of
A bigger picture
An incomplete map
Unfolding one
Step at a time-
The middle leg
Of the journey
Was much harder
A trusty compass
Guided through
Growing pains
Broken hearts
Moving, marriage
Letting go while
Pushing forward-
Current stopover
Mixes deep joy
With sadness
Yet, comfort is
Found in knowing
The sweet souls
Entrusted to me
Had safe passage
Along this path of
Discovering what it
Means to be a mom