Snuggling in bed after the nightly, “Mom, will you lay with me?” request, my 3-year old daughter pulls the bedspread down and tugs it under her chin. She leans in, and through a gentle smile says, “Mom, nose high-five.” I, interpreting her second request, lean in and gingerly sweep my nose against hers for what I more commonly know as the “Eskimo kiss.”
I smile both inwardly and outwardly at the idea of the nose high-five.
Later, I plop down next to my husband. He looks up to acknowledge my arrival, we lock eyes, I lean in and brush my nose against his. I smile gently and state, “nose high-five.”
This past week as my fourth-grade students were sharing the tidbits of their lives with me, I found myself responding again and again with, “You should write about that!”
Being a part of this writing challenge has fine-tuned my awareness of what’s going on around me and I can more clearly see moments in the day that may serve as topic/story/slicing opportunities.
This new-found awareness has transferred to my interactions with my students. Upon reflecting this afternoon, it became apparent that my number one goal in this whole slicing challenge is that my students gain a keener awareness of what goes on around them. If they walk away with this, I will be pleased.
My body melts into the couch as sit down for the first time today. My attention is drawn to my legs. I feel a mild tingling in my hips. The tingling bleeds down my entire leg and finally clots at the very tips of my toes. I have recently finished an intense cardio kickbox session. The sweat has dried and forms a thin layer covering my entire face. When eating supper, I am reminded of the sweaty layer. Licking the sour cream from my upper lip (we had tacos) I get a glimmer of saltiness.
It takes work to physically and mentally prepare your body and mind for an intense workout, but the feeling afterward is like none other. The high brought on by a great workout does not leave quickly. It lingers around for hours after.
Reflecting on the sweat session, I am brought back to my racing heart and burning muscles. I thank my body for all it provides me and smile once again at the thought of my tingly limbs.
My heart leaps in my chest at the music of her giggles. I notice a smile slowly appear across my face and I jump to my feet. My body lurches forward, like a cat pouncing on a ball of string. Almost skipping, I make my way down the hall toward the joyful noise. Stopping at her door, I lean in. My cheek hugs the unpolished wood.
I continue to listen to see what she will say next. Unable to contain my excitement, I turn the knob, open the door and make my way over to the source of my joy. Peering down at her, our eyes meet and her face turns to sunshine. She kicks her feet and the coos blossom into baby laughter….quite possibly the best sound on this earth.
My heart fills with joy as we begin our day together.
The white page stares at me like a blank canvas just waiting to be touched.
The empty page yearns to hold a message of importance.
So much is left unsaid until written down
blank page to ink
ink to letters
letters to words
words to phrases
phrases to meaning
meaning to interpretation
interpretation to reaction
reaction to judgement
Words left unsaid, unwritten are safter than those that come out of hiding and onto the battlefield.
Its easier to stay on the sideline rather than come out onto the playing field and risk failure.
But what do we gain by staying “safe” and “easy?” It’s the act of showing up that allows us to grow. Humans need to be heard, listened to, seen, responded to, connected with, and yes, even judged.
That is why we write.
Just show up.
“I never would have imagined that I could write like this.”
As I am walking around the classroom this morning, signing planners and checking off the students’ S.O.L.s, I overhear a student mutter these very words. He gazes at his writing, believing it’s a piece worthy of a noble award.
My smile is felt so deeply that it touches my innermost being – my soul.
The sense of pride he felt admiring his accomplished work was so touching to me. This is what it’s about.
Before we started this S.O.L. writing challenge, our writing projects had been fairly formal. Five paragraph opinion pieces based on literature covered in ELA. Informational writing based on research. Other smaller projects surrounding our science standards were also sprinkled in.
This is different.
This writing is very personal to these students. Some of them pour their heart and soul into their writing and truly value this experience. Although we are only eleven days in, I can see the kids beginning to see life through a different lens. They are using this as a means of self-expression and while they may not say it, I can tell they are enjoying this.
It is so much fun to see the growth in these writers from March 1 to March 31. Just by being given the opportunity to write, they become better writers.
Practice makes perfect, especially when it comes to writing.
A 10-hour sleep stretch?! Way to go, Ava! She must have been one tired pup. My four-month-old is still adjusting to life outside the womb. Some nights she wakes every 3 hours and others, she sleeps for longer stretches (thank you!).
This morning, after sleeping for a stretch of 10 hours, she decided that it was time to wake up. It was 4:30 a.m. Not exactly what I was thinking, but I guess that’s what we’re doing. After about 45 minutes of attempting to lull her back to a peaceful slumber, her smiles and coos told me that wasn’t going to happen.
We’re on the coach. She is lying next to me, my news-watching partner. We play and watch the news together until I turn to look over at my sweet pea.
There she is.
Her body still twitching.
Dozing off to sleep.
All I hear now is her rhythmic breathing.
Just like that, she has given in to rest.
There she lays. Still. Calm. In a state of complete relaxation.
Now I sit and ponder this little life. She is reliant. Defenseless. Her health and wellbeing are solely in the hands of her father and me. What an incredible responsibility and privilege we’ve been given.
Ava, way to go on that 10-hour stretch of sleep. Thank you.