And she said with pride. . .

Our school district sponsored a "fitness carnival." It was organized by the High School peer education group and open to anyone in a district elementary school. Races were held by gender and grade level.

As soon as he heard about it, Logan wanted in. Ever since he saw one of the high school's track teams running down the road for practice, he'd been determined to race. This morning he got his chance.

Going in Logan knew three things:

1. Students placing 1st, 2nd and 3rd got a medal.

2. Anyone else crossing the finish line got a ribbon.

3. He'd be running in the last race of the day (Kindergarten boys) and as a 5-year old with a summer birthday, some of the runners along side him could easily be a full-year or more older. And that means, they'd likely be bigger and faster.

He went into this race determined to at least run the entire 1/2 mile and get himself a ribbon. He'd happily take a medal, but as long as he crossed the finish line without walking or breaking, he'd have met his goal.

The whistle blew - he ran. Roughly a 1/4 mile in, Logan was nestled comfortably in the middle of the pack. He saw something that either no one else saw, or no one else cared to admit they saw. Another boy had fallen down and was having trouble getting up as the tangle of 5 and 6 year old legs ran around him.

Logan slowed his pace as he approached. He stopped. He stopped long enough to hold down his hand and help that boy up. With a quick pat on the kid's back, he confirmed the boy was ok. The boy took off running, calling a thank you over his shoulder as he went. Logan nodded and picked up speed. He had paused. He had stopped, but he didn't care.

The closer he got to the line, the faster he ran. In the end, he came in roughly 33rd in a field of over 50 boys - neither first nor last. Smack in the mid-section.

Yet, in the end, I think he was the one that really won. He met his goal. He ran the entire length except for that one short break when he reached down a hand to be the good sport.

On our way home I pointed out that he was the Lightening McQueen of the race - the one that voluntarily lost time off his own pace to make sure another contestant stayed in the game. Logan, the child that's been quite vocal about pursuing a particular vocation since he could talk, laughed and then said with utmost sincerity, "Mommy, that's just what doctor's do. I was running. I was racing myself and I was practicing being a doctor."

Is it any wonder why that kid is my hero?


TGIT (Thank God it's Thursday)

It's Thursday.

It's actual-brand-new television.

The Office is back.

I'm a happy girl.

And for the record, I honestly think I've worked with a real life rendition of nearly every character on that show. Yes. Even Dwight. My Dwight wanted to sell videoconferencing services to funeral homes. Don't ask.


In case you're wondering

I write.

It's what I do. It's what I do to earn a few bucks. It's what I do to manage my stress.

I write.

Sometimes, when I'm hotter under the collar than I'm comfortable being, I write big long tirades. It's better than the alternative. It's not a good idea to speak at the one that irks you when you're not calm. At least that's the conclusion I've reached.

In those instances - the ones where I need to tirade through my finger tips - I rely on my blog to absorb the emotion. Sometimes I keep it a private listing. Sometimes I don't.

The yesterday I did not. And that's ok. I needed to get those words out. I even needed someone else to see them - anyone. For those that did, I thank you for the messages back or at least just the eye balls. Those that didn't - you didn't miss much really. It's sounds a lot worse than it was. :)

The thing is every now and then, after the written word has done it's job of being balm to my hot temper, I have a change of heart. Like now. It's not that I take back the words. I don't. They came out on their own accord because they needed to. I simply put my fingers on the keys and let them take over. Whatever hits the screen hits it because it had to find it's way there. Then I'm cooler. I'm more level headed. I stop and think about whether those particular words are the ones I want the spark - the one that set me off - to see.

Sometimes it is. Sometimes it's not.

As much as those words were what I wanted to say to my spark - they are words I can't say to her. So I took down the posts. All this to say, if you think something's missing - it is. But it's gone because it served it's purpose and it's time had come to an end.


Happy 3rd, Moo-bear

When I was a girl fantasizing about my grown-up life, I always pictured myself with a red-headed pigtailed daughter. We'd do the sorts of things my mother always did with me. We'd bake. We'd paint. We'd play dolls. We'd sing and walk. We'd cuddle up and read a good book together.

Today the embodiment of that dream turns three.

Megan is not the docile, mild-mannered child I used to pretend I'd have. In fact, she's anything but docile unless she's sound asleep (and even that is questionable.) However, and please don't tell her this, I'm quite relieved she's taken the different route.

Today, I have a head-strong and confident little person. She knows what she wants, she's not afraid to tell you and she's certainly not about to back down until she gets it - or until it's clear you're going to do what it takes to outlast her. Megan seems fearless, except when she's not. She's a girl that understands the power of the tear and the well placed whimper.

She'll try anything once - although sometimes she prefers to have a hand to hold while she does it. She's vocal about her likes and dislikes. She's perfectly capable, even at this age, of standing up for herself. She's perfected "the look" that tells whoever is on the receiving end that they've crossed some sort of unforgivable line.

Megan is also compassionate in a way I never expected a child her age of being. She's quick with a hug or a kiss to heal hurt feelings - even the ones she did not inflict. She's first to round up a group of tykes about her age (give or take a few years) and take charge as she engages them in play. She's quite concerned about making sure everyone is included and happy.

Give her room to roam and people along the way, and Megan will make new friends. It's not just that she talks to everyone she meets. She remembers them all - by name if they've been so kind as to give theirs. She never forgets these details.

Silent is not in her vocabulary. She will whisper. She will meow. She will talk in a 'normal' voice. She will squeak. She will yell. She even talks in her sleep from time to time. She sings. She recites stories she's memorized. She tells jokes - and sometimes gets the punchlines right. She's a born entertainer.

She's her brother's shadow. And yet, she's his rival. She's his hero. She's his devotee. She's the bane of his existence and the balm for his soul.

Megan is my touchstone. She's the one that keeps me grounded and the one that let's me soar.

She's growing fast. Too fast. She's my preschooler now. Not my baby any longer. And yet, for as long as she let's me say it out loud, she's my Meggie, my Tinkerbell, my Princess and my Moo-bear. And some day she'll be all those things whispered in my heart as she outgrows her comfort with those monikers in public. She'll always be my littlest one. My baby. My dream girl. Always.


So they grow

A week ago the boy climbed up the steps of a bus for his first trip to school in which one of *his* grown-ups did not escort him into the classroom.

He attended Kindergarten for the first time.

Just days later the girl ran down the familiar hallways of the preschool - also our church. She knew right where she was going. It's the same room she's spent every Sunday morning in for the last year. It was her third year dashing through hallways at drop-off time - but it was the first time she was the one who stayed.

As a parent you worry. Will they listen? Will they make friends? Will they learn? Will they grow? Will they thrive?

Frankly, I found it easy to form an image of my child's preschool day. I get to know the families in her class as we became familiar sights at drop off and pick up. I develop a relationship with the teacher in that same time. I know if my child had a classroom job - it's posted on the bulletin board. It's a routine that I've been exposed to and I know the leading questions to ask to provoke chatter.

Kindergarten is different. I saw parents and classmates once at orientation. I met the teacher for all of 15 minutes. The hallways - although very much a sister school to the one I attended 29 years ago - are forgien terrority to me. I probe with questions and sometimes I get replies and sometimes I pull a few proverbial teeth.

Yet we're learning this tango together. Occasionally a few questions open flood gates and other times it merely leaves the tap open so that the picture of a typical day comes out little by little over time. For example, on Friday, school was simply "good." It was yesterday, I learned that he sits in the class library reading books with one Joshua and a Ben. One of those boys was in "the old Sunday School" class and so a familiar face. The second is a new friend but not to be confused with "the other Joshua in class" that happens to sit with Logan on the school bus for the ride home.

I felt some of the tension leave me as he disclosed this bit of his new life. Suddenly it's a little less unknown. Slowly we're establishing some familiarity. I known enough again to know that he's comfortable and social in his new terriority.

When Logan started preschool there was no melancholy for me. It was new. It was exciting. He loved it and I was thrilled for him. I did, if I'm being honest, chuckle quite a bit at the friend of mine who swore she'd have to be peeled from the classroom windows where'd she by crying her eyes out. Taking Megan this year hasn't been any different.

Kindergarten, however, is different. It's giving up a lot more than just a few hours in the day. It's losing that connection and control of drop-off. It's not just sending your kid to school, its putting them on the bus to get their own way there. It's not having the easy ability to put faces with names when your child starts talking about teachers and classmates.

The reality becomes stark and clear. Your child isn't just growing up and moving to a new phase of their life - something you really do reveal in. Your child is growing up and moving to a new phase of life that includes less of you. It is kindergarten not college, but it is step one in that direction.

It's a selfish thing, admittedly. Even in those moments when you moan a little and wish for just ONE trip to the bathroom that did not include an audience, even then, deep down you feel that warm fuzzy of being part of the center of a child's universe. You are the one to meet every need - not just food and shelter, but companionship and comfort.

Kindergarten, however, is phase one in the path away from all that. You realize that almost overnight you start to inch away from the center and a tiny bit closer to that spot you'll occupy years from now - the one that loops around in orbit.


Let the photo do the talking

The bus just left about a half-hour ago. He had us at the bus stop 40 minutes early!! He was excited. So was I. Then I came in the house and called my husband to tell him our "baby", our first, our son had offically begun his Kindergarten journey.

I got voicemail.

And then I cried.

I'm speechless, and besides, the preschooler (who will start on Friday) is demanding I help her paint with watercolors. Instead I'll let the photos speak for me: