A Confession

I love this time of year--like a child, giddy with excitement on the first day it snows.
Anyone who knows me well is aware of the fact that it is almost impossible to rouse me in the morning; and when it does happen, I am completely unproductive until I have some caffeine. I woke to the sound of Olivia crying instead of moaning, as she usually does. My first thought was, "It's going to be a long day." Upon opening my eyes, I became aware that the lighting was different this morning, peaked out of the blinds, and, after realizing that it had snowed, stepped spryly out of bed and scurried up the stairs to comfort Olivia. After she settled down, I showed her the snow.
"Wet," was her response.
Apparently she hasn't developed the same Christmas joy I have. Then, she inquired on the whereabouts of Scott.
"Daddy wuhk?"
"No, Daddy is sleeping."
She leaps from my lap and goes to the stairs, reaching for my hand to guide her down the steps. She goes to our bedroom and I put her on the bed.
She pats her daddy on the head. "Daddy, up-up!"
She repeats this four times before she gets a response. After we are all up, I stick some cinnamon rolls in the oven (purchased from Ikea the night before--I'm not that domestic), brew some coffee, and turn on my Holiday mix on the iPod.
So yes, I am a living, breathing holiday cliché.
But, as my theatre professor used to say during rehearsals of Oklahoma!, "Embrace the cliché, Rachel."
This is my advice to you.
It is a much happier existence.


A Poem of Old

Something I have realized for my own artistic expression is that I need to be depressed to produce anything of worth. I have fallen into a rut of complacency in the past year or two, or maybe I have just been so distracted by the life of my own daughter to spend any time reflecting upon my own life. Here is a poem I ran across in an old journal of mine, written during my senior year of college.

O Lord my God.
I cry out to you.
Where are you.
I search for you
You are nowhere-
So I have concluded.

The world-this world I live in
Is so full of hate
And misgivings
And hypocrisy
How can I find you in all this
Where is the hope
Where is the love
Where are all things found in you?


I am a pit of nothingness.

Producing nothing of worth
Loving nothing
Risking nothing
by hating everything
And everyone.

How can you love me?

I cry, Lord, I cry to you
till my mouth is dry
and my throat is destitute
till I open my mouth
and all I produce is silence.

Because that is all I hear.

I am deaf.

I am deaf to your answer,
your whisper, your shout
I am deaf to you.

And if you touched me,
I did not feel it
because I am numb,
Numb to all touch
The brush of your embrace
The breath of your life upon my lips
goes unnoticed.
I cannot feel.

I searched and searched for you-
but did not find
My eyes were covered
with the veil of my selfishness
My own selfish ambition
and I am afraid that
I will be blind.
This haze is turning to black
And I will not be able to
see you-
Not even if you stood
Inches from my face.

Tear this from me, Lord.
Heal me.
Make me love.
Make me care.
Take this wretched, lifeless
being I know to be myself-
Scarred and bleeding
Injured and ignorant


Resuscitate me.
Resuscitate me into life anew.



Travelling isn't so easy anymore.

Early tomorrow morning, I am going to fly to Chicago. My aunt is getting married. A couple of years ago, I would have been thrilled at this opportunity. Normally I love the excitement of watching weird people in the airport, the peace of mind that I don't need to drive or be the back seat driver, and the solitude to sit and read a book without five million other items on my 'to do' list to keep me from getting there.
Now, I am a mother; and now, travelling is a totally different experience. Now, I take the largest stroller possible to the airport, so I can have a cart to hold all my junk while I carry Olivia in my other arm. Now, I get preferential seating...which I have actually found is NOT such a great advantage, sing small people generally do not like to sit still in enclosed spaces. Now, I get to skip through the security checkpoint line...unless I'm flying out of Newark. Now, I get to carry two carry-ons full of baby gear: snacks, sippy cups, bibs, bottles, diapers, diaper wipes, kleenex, books, toys...only to realize that what Olivia would prefer to do is page through Continental magazine and crinkle the barf bag. Now, I get to pray every time I get onto the plane that Olivia will NOT be that screaming baby that everyone hates by the end of the ride. And the good news is, Olivia has not been that baby even once, and she has flied at least five times in her short life.
But now, she's cutting her molars. Please pray with me.
I stand amazed at those power mothers who are able to keep three kids occupied without the father figure along on the trip. I have always had either my husband or my sister travel with me, and I have just one little one who, until the last time we traveled, was constantly nursing during the x-hour plane ride. But these mothers have a scary, unnatural energy. They frighten me. I wonder how many cups of coffee keep them going as they make sure that each one of their kids is constantly occupied by something other than kicking the seat in front of them. The nervous energy is enough to fuel a small jetplane.
There was another mother I remember from one of the first times I traveled with Olivia. Her baby was probably six months old, and it WAS the baby that everyone hated by the end of the plane ride. As soon as the flight attendants were allowed to move about the cabin, she flagged one down and immediately ordered two mini bottles of wine. If I wasn't so cheap I would probably do the same thing.
So, happy trails to me. Hopefully we'll keep our good track record.


The last week of school

I am not sure which group instigates the gloomy attitude surrounding the end of the year. Is it the students, or is it the teachers? All I know is that right now, I would do anything to be done with grading, done with lesson planning, done with phonecalls, organization...done. I'm not sure if I caught this attitude from a colleague or a kid, but I am feeling it. I start each day with a prep block, and I used to use this time wisely (at least this semester), but now I do anything but useful things during this time: check for flights to California, look at pictures of my daughter, write a new post for my blog. It seems that what I am preparing for is not school, but summer.
I find a similar attitude in my students. I present the day's duties, and they have suggestions like, "Could we do that outside?" or "How about this?". In addition, I have received increasingly creative excuses for missing homework. A student told me that some weird computer glitch let her see everything but my posted assignment until 10:15, at which time she needed to go to bed. Unfortunately, my attitude right now does not breed grace, but justice, brash justice. One student, with not so much creativity, actually told me that his dog ate his exam description.
So please, pray with me that this next week goes by quickly and quietly. Because it's time to summerize!!!!


Another chapter is coming to a close

Today I followed the lead of many of my cyber-savvy friends and started a blog. When my husband asked me why, I responded, "Well, I'm about done with grad school." Monday is my last class, Wednesday my last final, and my graduation ceremony will be held next Tuesday. I am looking forward to having time to make choices: write what I feel the need to write, read what I want to read, and listen to what I choose to listen to. A new independence! So, welcome, book clubs (anyone interested in starting one with me?), blogging and finally getting to spend more than 1 1/2 hours with my daughter every week day. It has been a long time coming, and I'm finally here.