Poetry Friday: A Valentine Retrospective

Join us today with Jone for Poetry Friday!

What a week! And it’s not even over yet. Wednesday marked the 100th day of kindergarten, and of course the very next day was Valentine’s Day. Talk about a 1-2 punch! Honestly though, I have a group of terrific kindergartners who can really roll with a change of pace when it comes to special days, so we ventured into a couple of days outside the usual routine and celebrated both days with gusto. We still read, wrote, and explored math learning, but with a more focused lens on each of the celebratory days.

My friend Margaret is my poetry mentor and biggest cheerleader. Her post earlier this week on writing skinny poems has inspired me to try one myself, using the metaphor dice I recently ordered. If you don’t have a set of these yet, I encourage you to check them out. They are a lot of fun!

I knew I wanted to use the word LOVE for my concept, so I purposely only rolled the adjective & object. The dice gave me SILENT and ZOO. No two words could be more in opposition of what Valentine’s Day looks like in a kindergarten classroom! Consequently, my metaphor read:

Love was not a silent zoo

I do wish to clarify my use of the word zoo in describing my classroom – one definition of the word zoo reads: a situation characterized by confusion and disorder. Was there confusion among my little friends? Did we see a little disorder in our day? Imagine what 18 kindergartners delivering their Valentines might look like in the room….. confusion?…yup. Disorderly?…absolutely. But full of excitement?…100%! For many of my students this was their very first Valentine’s Day in a classroom, and because of that, the disorderly confusion was embraced!

Home Birth Haiku

Yesterday was the first Thursday of the month, but a pounding headache prevented me from posting my Spiritual Thursday post. I hope my fellow ST friends will allow a late and combination Poetry Friday post today!

Donna @ Mainely Write and Laura @ Writing the World for Kids are the hosts where you can read more from my fellow bloggers today. These communities of writers are the most welcoming, heart-filled places! I encourage you to take a peek at what others are sharing in both spaces.

My post today will follow Donna’s Spiritual Thursday theme of Home, but will include a poem for my Poetry Friday friends. I’m actually happy the way this worked out. Last night when I was struggling with a distracting headache, I could not think of what I wanted to write about on the topic of Home. Today, headache gone, and a turn of my new metaphor dice, and everything fell into place. You may find it an unusual and unexpected reflection of home, but the dice made the call:

Have I got you wondering where this is going? It will help you to know that I had two of my four daughters at home with a midwife. I could write at length about all of the incredible aspects of a home birth versus a hospital birth, but the most beautiful part for me was simply being HOME. Having the comfort of my own bed, the freedom to move about as I needed, surrounded by my family allowed me to experience and control my labors in my own time, and more importantly, in my babies time. No doctor’s schedule to feel pressured by. No worry of a switch of nurses at shift change. Time was not a concern whatsoever. Thankfully, my first baby came in under 3 hours, while the second took her sweet time, making everyone wait all.day.long.

Through the entire experience of both births, the presence of my midwife and doula brought such comfort and reassurance. At no point did I ever feel rushed, or that I was doing anything wrong. My second labor was a very long day for everyone, but never did she seem concerned about my slow progress. She was in it for the long haul. She offered support when asked, diligently checked baby’s heartbeat regularly, and remained nearby when needed. This allowed me to focus on every contraction and remain as relaxed and rested as I could in between.

These experiences give home a whole different meaning to me as I reflect back on these home birth experiences. Home was a safe haven where the miracle of life entered the world. Where our older daughters witnessed the birth of a sister, then peacefully drifted to sleep in their beds. Where everyone woke the next morning, sitting together at the breakfast table taking turns cuddling the baby. Where the rhythm of life was barely disrupted; the welcome arrival of our new member brought us into a new rhythm, overnight growing from a family of five to six.

This photo was taken outside the house on the morning of our youngest daughter’s birth – 18 years ago this past Tuesday as a matter of fact! It seems the perfect setting for my accompanying haiku. My dice roll didn’t really make a metaphor I found workable, so I sketched out a few ideas, and discovered I had written a haiku without even trying.

Thank you for letting me share my beautiful memories from a very special home.

 

SOL: Marking a Milestone Day

Join us at Two Writing Teachers

Yesterday marked our fourth and final daughter’s 18th birthday. While she is still home with us completing her senior year of high school, I can’t help feeling like this was a milestone day. I declared to my colleagues at lunch, “I’m done! She’s 18 – my job is complete!” But we all knew that couldn’t be further from the truth. With three adult daughters not far ahead of her, I have come to realize our children never stop needing their parents.

Still though, I find myself feeling closer to the end of a significant chapter in my life. That which once consumed what felt like my every waking minute, slowly morphed into one gradual release after another, until, just 6,574 days later, I found myself watching my baby celebrate the transition into being an adult.

My identity as a parent feels different – and it should really. I’m just not sure I’m ready to walk into it. So much is behind me, and I’m not entirely certain what the journey looks like that lies ahead of me. I enjoyed being needed. I thrived in the busy comings and goings of everyone’s activities. I even embraced navigating the worries and concerns through every parenting stage we faced.

Yet the journey awaits, ready or not. The remaining days of high school are all we have before she launches out of the nest, so even though she is legally an adult, I am going to try my best to be intentional and savor every day until we send her on her way!

Poetry Friday: Grandma’s Blessing

Join us today with Tabatha @ The Opposite of Indifference

In my poetry practice, one area I am currently trying to understand better and play with with in my poems is the art of metaphor. Last week my friend Margaret told me about this set of metaphor dice that her students love to use when writing poetry using metaphors. I couldn’t point, click, and ship fast enough, and just two days later, they arrived.

The first couple of rolls yielded a very strange combination of words, but roll three was a gem. It was amazing how quickly an idea for my poem came together, and almost instantly I knew I had just the picture that perfectly depicts the story it tells.

There is nothing like a grandma’s love for her first grandbaby. I have been so privileged to walk alongside Margaret in her journey to finally holding this precious bundle of joy. Little Leo is truly the light of her life! And I am quite certain that all of you grandmas out there know just what I’m talking about!

SOL: The Power of a PLN

Join us at Two Writing Teachers

In 2015, at the urging of a friend, I jumped into my first Twitter chat with Dr. Mary Howard. Her recent book Good to Great Teaching was the focus of the chat. Several teachers in the chat were beginning a book study on the side using Voxer, and I bravely asked if I could join. Mind you, I was a lone teacher in a small town in Montana, and the teachers in the group study were in New Jersey. I was thrilled when they said yes! Little did I know how completely life-changing this small move would be, and the incredible Professional Learning Network that would unfold in the years to come!

Fast forward four years, and I am still in touch with my #G2Great “cousins.” When the book study ended, we simply couldn’t close the Voxer channel – we had developed close friendships, and even began adding new friends to the group. Their weekly Thursday night chats are still going strong, and while my schedule now doesn’t permit me to join in every week, I know that whenever I have a question or need another perspective, there is always someone in the group who will lend an ear and offer support. This core group of friends continue to be an irreplaceable cornerstone to me both professionally and personally.

What is so exciting is that my virtual connections have continued to flourish! I have connected with new friends through Slice of Life at Two Writing Teachers, and have even ventured into writing poetry with fellow poet-bloggers on Poetry Friday.

Most recently, I joined a Voxer book study around the book Stop.Right.Now.: 39 Stops to Making Schools Better. The book is excellent, but even better, within the first couple of days, I made three connections with fellow kindergarten teachers. In the short three weeks we have been sharing in this book study, I have reached out to each of them for support around classroom management struggles I have been experiencing, as well as a much-needed boost to push my learning to the next level with Seesaw.

Through my ever-growing PLN, I continue to meet incredible like-minded educators who are always willing to share ideas, offer support, and even brainstorm around potential collaborative work. The future looks bright here in my little corner of the world! With arms reaching out from all points near and far, I look forward to continuing to grow as the teacher-learner I always want to be.

SOL… Wanted: Learning Curve

Join us and read other slices at Two Writing Teachers

Recently I saw this Tweet from Pernille Ripp:

I loved this – so often as educators, we are spending our time outside of school reading a professional book, participating in a book study, and/or attending professional development. All worthy of our time certainly, but what about perusing new learning outside of teaching?

This got me thinking. Really thinking. I honestly had to sit with this idea for some time before remembering that just before Christmas break while at Michaels craft store buying last minute craft embellishments for my students I saw a sign for an upcoming crochet class. I thought to myself, what a great idea to take this class right before the break, and I can just crochet my way through the entire winter break!

True confession. I never made it to the class. Not because I didn’t want to. I was all ready to be there the Friday evening before Christmas break, but my daughter injured her shoulder while skiing that afternoon, and instead of going to the crochet class, I was at urgent care.

I haven’t given up on my plan to get to an upcoming class though! Just tonight I checked their website to find when upcoming classes are offered. Who knows? Maybe by Valentine’s Day I will be able to make myself a warm neck cowl…here’s hoping!

Back to Pernille’s question….what is something new you have recently learned, or perhaps want to learn?

Poetry Friday: Then & Now

Poetry Friday round-up Kathryn @ Kats Whiskers

On my way home tonight I stopped at a former colleague’s house to return a baby backpack I had borrowed over the winter break for my visiting 9 month-old grand-nephew. My colleague and I hadn’t see each other for a number of months, so I came inside for a few minutes to visit and see his family. He and his wife have two of the cutest redheaded boys in the world, and it had been quite a while since I had seen them. They are now 4 and 2, so it was fun to chat and catch up.

Watching the chaos of a home with two busy little boys caused me to remember what our house once looked like and sounded like when my husband and I were deep in the weeds of raising our four daughters. Almost empty-nesters now, it has been many years since our evenings were anything like I witnessed tonight. I took it all in.

On my drive home, I couldn’t help but remember all of the crazy, demanding aspects of being a parent of young children. The constant chatter that seemed endless, the never-ending request for my attention, and what seemed like ceaseless piles of dirty dishes and laundry demanding my attention every.minute.of.the.day.

Tonight in the quiet of my kitchen, I began comparing my then with my now, and found a poem come to life.

Then…
Dinnertime chaos buzzing with conversations
of everyone’s highs and lows of the day

Now…
Dinnertime calm for two (sometimes three) at the kitchen island,
scrolling on our phones, reflecting on the day’s events

Then…
Bedtime baths, jammies & stories
running, squealing, chasing down the hall

Now…
Bedtime texts, Instagram, Snapchat check-ins
savoring a book of my choice, dogs at my feet

Then…
Middle of the night bad dreams,
slipping in between mom & dad for comfort

Now..
Middle of the night curfew checks,
a gentle whisper in my ear, “I’m home, mom”

Then…
Demanding.
Exhausting.

Now…
Quiet.
Sometimes all too quiet.