It’s not Thanksgiving but..

It’s not Thanksgiving but here is what I am thankful for:

1. Quiet mornings
2. Children making jokes that aren’t funny. But they laugh really hard anyway.
3. When my cat chases it’s own tail.
4. Growing up in a house that embraced “teaching” moments, rather than arguments.
5. Mountains.
6. The ability to connect to people online.
7. Egg sandwiches.
8. The knowledge I have found through Central Michigan University, friends, family, and experiences.
9. Warm nights with bonfires.
10. Traveling anywhere, but especially abroad.
11. Poetry.
12. The tin full of cookies my Grandma sent me.
13. Tents.
14. Coffee mugs.
15. Unexpected naps.
16. Netflix
17. Kitten cuddles.
18. Baby cuddles.
19. Having a house that keeps me warm.
20. For saying, “I don’t have room in the fridge for this food right now.”
21. Beer.
22. Hashbrowns.
23. NOT country potatoes.
24. Having a car.
25. My bed.
26. Meeting people who like to craft.
27. Good smelling things like cologne, lavender, pizza, candles, and Spring.
28. Phone calls with my mom and dad.
29. My traveling friend, Hannah, who always seems to get it.
30. My dreadlocks.
31. Cultural awareness.
32. Late nights without having to set an alarm in the morning.
33. Chairs from Goodwill.
34. Antique stores.
35. People who love to share their story.

Maybe

Facebook is great for many things: scrolling through pictures of vacations, meeting people, staying in touch, stalking ex’s, showing support, gathering news, etc. I have found one thing (along with many others) Facebook is not good at. The one characteristic that irks me the most is the “Maybe” option on events. Sure, I’ve wanted to attend an event but it was months away, almost a two hour drive, and my financial status wasn’t really booming, so I clicked maybe. But that was a big event. At a bar. With multiple bands. And clearly, in that case, one person isn’t going to make a whole lot of a difference when it comes to attendance.

On the other hand, if it’s a birthday party with only a hand or two full of people, Facebook should call for some more commitment from the attendees. But, I guess, what can I expect from a website that allows for “it’s complicated” to be under the relationship category (talk about lack of commitment).

Now, lets go back to the First Grade. Mom and Dad were super excited about you turning 7 and you couldn’t wait to have a cake and balloons and all your friends and PRESENTS!!!!!! Look beyond that 7 year old excitement, and Mom and Dad were sending out birthday cards so you could have your special day. The cards probably had some crazy fun border, probably with pink ribbons and princess crowns if you were a girl and some sort of cars or dinosaurs if you were a boy. Did these cards say,
“Suzy is having a birthday party!
August 21st at 7pm!
Ravin’ Roller Rink!
RSVP:
yes    maybe    no”?

No, of course those cute little cards with the confetti on them did not give the parents a “maybe” option. The kid was either coming or he wasn’t and that was that.

I’m not saying that I am overflowing with commitment by any means. Most nights I can’t decide if I want to fall asleep face down on my bed with my work clothes still on, or go to a bar. And if I do decide to go out, I can’t figure out where I want to go or who I want to go with. Clearly, I’m not the most motivated person in the world, but I do know that when it is my small event, I’d like to know who I can expect there.

Maybe for most people, it wouldn’t bother them, but I truly feel like a “host” when people come over. I’d like to make sure I have some clean blankets and maybe an extra pillow or two laying around. I’d like to go out and buy some frozen pizzas or make sure there’s some Gatorade in the fridge. I like to know what to prepare for.

When there’s 11 people “maybe” attending, there’s a lot of room for the party to go from chill to crazy. And the “maybe” option Facebook allows really agitates me.

But only when I’m not the one clicking “maybe.”

I haven’t written in my journal in over two weeks. I’m not sure if I don’t know my own thoughts, or if I have just lost motivation to write them all down. These empty journal pages sadden me, but my recent crafting has consisted of water painting, which is new for me, so, cheers to a new form of expression!

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Lately,
Words have been hard for me.
My mind speaks in more than font.
I think in shapes and taste watercolors before every breath.
It’s hard to project anything less than creativity,
But lately,
Words are hard for me.
My mind gets lost in all the energies.
I think my acrylic dreams are floating away from me.
It’s hard to pin down paper that’s never pressed.
And lately,
My words are a jumbled up mess.

A Routine

I’ve developed a routine
I call it,
“Mornings like Mom”
And although I love my mom,
I do not like this routine.

It starts as soon as I cocoon myself into my comforter,
Squish my head into my pillow,
And let my eyelids meet.
At night I have high hopes for sleep.
In the early morning hours that hope becomes determination.
Maybe if I pee, my body will allow me to rest.
Maybe if I fill this cup with water for the fourth time.
Maybe then I will sleep.
My body seems to awaken me around 4 in the morning.
It tells me it’s hungry.
It hints that it might have to poop.
It sweats.
Then it shivers.
Then it decides my brain needs to be awake too, like,
“Hey, don’t you have some work to do?
Didn’t you forget to print that form?
What about that email you’ve been putting off?”
My body and my brain team up against me.
And they both boycott sleep and that’s sleep is really all I need.

I remember stories my Mom told me when I lived with her.
“I was up at 4am.
Couldn’t sleep, so I came downstairs to watch some TV.”
How could that be?
High school me could not comprehend a body rejecting sleep.
Teacher me totally gets it.

I’m not sure if we worry too much.
Or think about too many possibilities.
I’m not sure if our bodies just really like to be awake,
Or if they just don’t need as much sleep as they used to.
I do know when it is 4am and I cannot sleep it feels like my body has betrayed me.

On mornings like this morning,
I wonder,
“Is my mom awake right now, too?
Is she searching for some quiet activity to do?
Or is she trying to find a lullaby so she can sleep?
Maybe she’s watching some HGTV.”

It’s moments like this morning I wish I had a TV.
I wish I had something to entertain me other than the darkness of this house.
Even my cats are sleeping.
Why can I not sleep?

Teaching and Stuff

Sooner than I think, it will be May, and I will have graduated. Which sounds like a great accomplishment in my eyes, however, now I’m thrown into the world of really not knowing. Potentially, I could live in any city I wanted granted there’s a job in my near future that throws some cash my way. School has always bound me, secure. Now, everything has a giant question mark over stamped on top.

Last semester I enjoyed a student teaching placement in DeWitt, Michigan. My mentor teacher was an inspiration and I absolutely loved the controlled chaos of that classroom. Sixteen weeks were spent in her Early Childhood Special Education classroom. For sixteen weeks she took me under her great big teaching wing and showed me effective strategies to connect with children, parents, and other staff, all while have a (mostly) positive and go-getter attitude. Sure, there were days where we looked at one another and sighed as if agreeing that there’s really no goal for the day other than to keep some of the more emotional unstable children from blowing up. And that was okay. It was okay when things didn’t go as planned, we were always adapting our days to fit the needs of the children, which leads me to my current placement in a Gen. Ed. Preschool in Holt, Michigan.

For eight weeks I will be part of a Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP) preschool. It’s an income-based preschool that provides the children with breakfast, lunch, and a snack. Instruction is based on child interest. In large group, the students are encouraged to share their own messages instead of the teacher being front and center. This classroom is colorful, has ample materials and centers for the students to explore, and they provide children and families with a pre-school opportunity they might not have had otherwise. This program is important. This classroom’s chaos is a little bit less controlled, but just as informative for me.

In a quick eight weeks, once again, I will pick up my backpack and put on my College Intern badge as I walk back into the first school I spent 16 weeks in. This time, eight weeks will be dedicated to a classroom of first graders, eager to learn, and ready to participate. Going from preschool to first grade, I’m expecting some more challenging academic lessons for the students, and for me. I know that I know how to add and subtract numbers, but I don’t know that I know how to explain that process to a classroom full of first graders. Thankfully, I’m going to a familiar school with some familiar faces that would be more than willing to help me out if need be.

This whole process of becoming a teacher has been one helluva ride. Now what’s next?

Why-Kid

Xander, is a “why-kid”
The moment he is told to get out of bed in the morning, he asks his mother,
“Why?”
She gives him sunshine-filled answers and kissing his forehead like a drop of morning dew
“Why?”, Xander asks as he’s told to put on his clothes
And eat breakfast
And get in the car
He’s three years old and full of curiosity
Little Xander wants to know everything
Like
“Why are those trucks so big?
Why is it time to clean up?
Why is there no school tomorrow?
Why are the name-tags blue?
Why do we roll up our sleeves when we wash our hands?
Why are we eating pretzels for snack?”
Xander
Is a “why-kid”
His why-asking is met with calm understanding because he is three
And he is learning things
So
“Those trucks are so big because they have big jobs to do
And it’s time to clean up so we can go sit at group
There’s no school tomorrow because today is Friday and Friday is the 5th day of the school week!
Our name tags are blue so everyone can see how cool we are
We wouldn’t want our sleeves getting wet so we hide them up our arms while we wash our hands and get ready to eat pretzels for snack
And I’m sorry, kid, but we ran out of animal crackers so pretzels are all we’ve got”
Xander
Is a “why-kid”
His why-asking is met with explanation and turned into a teachable moment
But I’ve found that when you’re 20 years his senior
People already expect you to know things
Like how Xander already thinks that I know things
And when he asks me why some markers work and some markers don’t
I can’t help but see my own reflection in his eyes
I’ve stared in bent mirrors before
I’ve asked too many questions and only gotten some answers
I haven’t figured it all out yet
But I know I want to answer him the best I can
So I tell him
“Sometimes
People give up on being full of ink so they let themselves bleed until there’s nothing left
Like those markers that just can’t color anymore
Xander
Sometimes people get overused and they run out and I still don’t know why”
You see
Like Xander
I’m still constantly asking,
“Why?”
Why is time so dependent on what’s filling it?
Why are some people okay with leaving things unresolved?
Why can’t I sleep when I’m so tired?
Why does this child think I’m going to be able to provide him with everything he’s ever wondered?
Why haven’t I learned to keep my room clean or fold my laundry right away or make my lunch the night before?
Why does it seem like I have so much growing up to do when I feel more grown up than half the people my age?
Why?
Why?
Why am I a fucking “why-kid”?
Why haven’t I learned to stop needing so much?
Why can’t I figure it out myself?
Why can I picture Xander, at 23 years old, not wanting to ask “why?” anymore?
And why does that break my heart?
“Why-kids” are wonderers
We search for reasons
Excuses
And solutions
We long for concrete proof
Truth
And explanations
When Xander asks
Why?
And someone replies
Because
I cringe
Why would they think that a one-word answer is enough to subdue the longing for explanations?
Why would they think it’s okay to stifle his curious mind like that?
I have known the emptiness of unanswered questions
I have felt confusion take ahold of my brain and twist my thoughts into loops that just keep going
And going
Why
Why
Why do people like Xander and me want to know so many things?
Why is one result never enough?
Why can’t my questions come with sunshine-filled answers and kisses like morning dew drops?
Why have people stopped answering me?
Xander
Is a “why-kid”
And so am I
But so many of my why’s are dismissed by moonlit kisses pretending to be stars
And I will never be that false hope for somebody
So maybe that’s why Xander keeps asking me
Because he knows I realize how important it is to know why.

Loving Like a Cat

I like that you have to play games with cats.
You have to tease them by acting like your fingers are bugs hopping over the edge of your bed just to coerce them into cuddling you.
You have to have some patience first.
Strategy, even.
You have to know how to love a cat.
I love
Like a cat.
Strategically.
Often silently.
My reaction to love has been brutality.
Rub my stomach and I’ll bunny kick you.
I’ll cuddle on my own terms,
But beware,
When I’m angry…
Claws.
When I’m not in the mood, I run from it all.
Cats are peculiar.
Their moods are rapid,
But consistent.
They have certain behaviors.
Their body language shows signs of frustration or playfulness.
To know a cat is to pay attention.
To love a cat takes dedication.
It’s commitment.
For the rest of your lives together your blinds will not hang together.
They will be crumple and crooked,
Leaking the morning sun in all the right places to hit your eyes at all the wrong times.
Your cat’s head will be stuck while you’re shit out of luck trying to sleep at 4am.
4am, to them, is the perfect time to play.
And that’s when I hate loving cats.

All this time I thought she was a coyote.
A dog more so than a cat,
But I think I was wrong about that.

Her clock is set to rise when I’m saying goodnight.
My cat does that.
She naps all day, so cute.
Then when I want to join her she’s wide awake,
Ready to play the night away,
Getting her head stuck in blinds
And other forms of entertainment.