I Am Smiling!

Feelings
Often show
Right
On
Our
Faces
Before
We even
Understand them
Ourselves
There they sit
Right
On
Our
Faces
For all the world
To see
For all the world
To interpret
And though
Interpretations
Are likely
Incomplete
Perhaps
The attempt
To understand
Will prove
A first step
To understanding

I caught a glimpse of myself in an airport restroom mirror. The person staring back at me did not look happy. Add another inconvenience. Nothing major. Just a broken latch on the restroom door. That’s all.

What is wrong with me? I don’t like the look on my face.

An investigation provided the following information:

  • My 4:00 A. M. alarm was rude. I need my sleep.
  • No time for tea before my first flight. Tea wakes me up.
  • Travel is exhausting. But the adventures are worth the stress. I think…

Now put a smile back on that face and get on the next flight home!

What’s That Sound?

I was listening to This American Life podcast on my way home yesterday. https://www.thisamericanlife.org/766/well-someone-had-to-do-something The stories were humorous, unusual, inspiring, and thought-provoking. But the two related to current events in Ukraine…well, words are hard to find.

One of the stories is about a man working to change the flow of misinformation to the people of Russia. He randomly calls individuals seeking to engage in conversation about what is happening in Ukraine. He is often met with anger, arguments, and hang-ups.

But sometimes, the person on the other end listens, even if briefly. Responding quietly, if at all. His explanation-Fear has its own sound, you know.

I have breathed
The sigh of relief
Heard pure joy
Thru the laughter
Of my children
Expressed grief
With sounds
Of sobbing
But what about fear?
How does it sound?
The thought
Brings
Only silence
Halts
My hurried mind
Until heard
In the voices
Of others
Voices afraid
The next city
Destroyed
Will be their own
Voices afraid
They may never
See family again
Even voices afraid
To hear
Or speak
The truth
Others work
To forever
Keep hidden-
Listen…
Do you hear
The sound
Of their fears?

Morning Drive

The deluge
Was instantaneous
No drops of rain
Marking dry pavement
In individual circles
With their warning-
Here we come!
No, a flood
Soaking me
From head to toe
Leaving me
Floating
On my back
Waiting for the sun
To dry my skin
As it teaches my heart-
Emotions may arrive in a flood
But the memories
They are drawn from
Remain in the warmth
Of the sunshine
On my face

Why is it always during morning drives? It happened just yesterday. Suddenly overwhelmed with emotion. One single thought-Boy, I’m missing the kids.

The missing quickly changed to remembering. Remembering followed by looking forward to upcoming visits.

I know I’ve said it before. But that’s how it goes when you’re the parent of adult children. Today, I’m thankful for texts and phone calls. ❤️

Three Little Words

No, not I love you. I am sorry.

Taking responsibility for our actions is not always easy. A lesson that often needs repeating. A reminder from someone else’s example, perhaps.

The week before Christmas break at school is challenging. Emotions flowing between teachers, staff, and students cover the whole spectrum. No matter how many times we experience this phenomenon, it manages to sneak upon us.

Such was my experience with kindergarten this week…

My classroom management skills are good. But this day, the combination of tired, grumpy, and excited (me and the students 😉) took over. Class ended on a frustrating note.

The next day, one of my little friends saw me at lunch.

Mrs. Morris, I made you something. It’s in my classroom. Something to make you happy!

That afternoon, I received five apology notes. ❤️

May we all remember to say those three little words whenever necessary. And may we receive them with grace and understanding whenever offered.

Tug of War

Parading around
In costumes
Recognizable
Masks
Distracting me
From the struggle
Taking root
In my soul
Feelings
Can be sneaky
That way

Tricksters thriving
On energy
Expended in a
Tug of War
That leaves
Me trying
To pull the rope
From both ends
There will never
Be a winner
Only the need
To let go
Of the rope
Even if
It means
Falling
In the mud

I often talk about poetry being therapeutic. This poem is a perfect example. It did not provide answers to the questions on my mind. However, writing the words down provided some tension relief. It also reminded me I don’t have to have all the answers right at this moment. Maybe you can relate. ☺️

Freeze Frame

Pictures holding
History stored
In memory banks
Called to the surface
In a single snap
Of my fingers
Leaving me
Wondering
Why that?
Why now?
Why then?
Times I would
Like either
To forever
Forget or
Always
Remember
Each frame
Projecting
Enough
Power to
Push me into
A time-warp
Of emotions
Unless…
I slow down
Pay attention
Freeze
Each
Frame
Long enough
To grasp
This truth-
The past
Enriches
The present
Either by
Making me
Thankful
For changes
Grateful
For growth
Or content
With constants

For the First Time

We are in our fourth week of school-during a pandemic, attempting to social distance, everyone wearing masks, etc. School, unlike anything we have experienced before.

Today, during my fifth-grade class, I had this sudden urge to see their faces. At the end of music class, I reminded them about the importance of wearing masks. Then I told them I missed seeing their faces, and we would be taking a quick mask break.

I explained that we would take our masks off, then I would count down from five to zero, and we would put them back on.

Those five seconds felt like walking out into the sunshine. Smiles everywhere! Then I heard a student shout, “Mrs. Morris!” As if he had just recognized me!

As we put our masks back on, I started to tear up. “You look like you’re about to cry,” another student said. “I am,” I admitted. “And now my glasses are fogging up! How am I supposed to read you guys a book?”

We all laughed. I choked back my tears and made it through a few pages before it was time to go.

Wow! Four weeks in and today, it feels like we saw each other for the first time. I had forgotten the power of a smile. And multiplied by twenty, well, there is nothing quite like it.

This one, spur-of-the-minute decision changed the trajectory of my whole day. Yes, the masks were still there. But for a few seconds in each class, I saw sweet faces. And those sweet faces have no idea how much they helped this struggling teacher. ❤

Kids Grow Up

I wrote this poem several months ago after a conversation with my oldest. This seems like the perfect time for sharing.

Parenting is a lifelong adventure. And though responsibilities change as time passes, some things never change. Like that struggle between worry and release.

The temptation to hold on too tight is strong. And even after successfully letting go, certain events bring me right back into the battle.

Currently, it is a concern for their safety as public school teachers and a working college student during this pandemic. They are all adults. They know how to take care of themselves. But I will always be their mom. ❤

No Longer a Kid

How are you today?
A simple text
Sent to my child
Nothing urgent
Or momentous
Mom checking in

My eyes well up
With tears before
The swoosh sound
Of the sending text
Has even faded
What? Why now?

A flood of memories
Instantly fills my mind
A million questions
Where did the years go?
Did I do enough to
Prepare you for life?

The phone rings
Jolting me back
To the present
Tears turn to smiles
Questions fade away
The world is okay

Hey Mom, thought
I’d call and talk
Instead of just texting

And so it goes when
You are the parent
Of adult children
A simple thought
Becomes a rapid
Onslaught of emotions

A myriad of questions
And concerns
Instantly erased by
The sound of a voice-
My kid who is
No longer a kid

Challenging Times

Planning like
Never before
Worried about safety
Worried about health
For our students
And ourselves
So much at stake
Far beyond academics
Far beyond testing
The emotional health
Of our children
Of our families
Of all of us
So many needs
To be met
Too many needs
To be met
By only a few
But we are not a few
We are many
We are educators
Waiting patiently
For difficult answers
To impossible questions
And no matter what
Others may say
We will shine-Our
Students will shine
With kindness, passion
And innovation as we
Face our fears during
These challenging times

No Reason

I notice you smiling
And ask why
Oh, no reason, you reply
Your answer doesn’t satisfy
But asking again
Might seem a little pushy
So, I simply keep watching

I see your smile fade
And ask why
Oh, no reason, you reply
Your answer doesn’t satisfy
This time I push
Ever so gently
And ask once again

Are you ok
I smile and say
Waiting until you
Share the reason
Behind the expression
Only then do I see
Your smile return

Then, I continue
Watching you smile
So as not to miss
Another moment
When you answer
No reason-but mean
Exactly the opposite

From Me to You by John Lennon and Paul McCartney