Monday, July 31, 2006

First Day

After ten wonderful years with the college I worked at previously, I have arrived at my new job. I'm in full beginner mode--learning all the acronyms that make university life a mystery to any outsider or newcomer, mispronouncing building names left and right, and still attempting to get my computer and phone! And you know what? I'm loving every minute of it. Despite the 5am wake-up from my alarm(Free coffee at McDonalds between 5-7am!), the two hour drive to arrive (I'll be staying in CT during the week with a colleague until our MA home sells.), and the usual mayhem associated with starting a brand new program, I believe we have made a great choice for our lives. Over lunch I retold the story of how I came to see the job posting for this new role. After interviewing at super-duper university, knowing in my gut it would be a poor fit if I were even to be offered the role, I sat at my desk and asked aloud, "Is there ever going to be something for me?" Minutes later, I reviewed the Boston Globe ads, searching under the only words I ever seem to use: women and education. My current position popped up at the top of the list. Seek and ye shall find....all I needed to do was ask. Guess I need to stand outside and ask aloud if anyone will ever "love" our house enough to buy it. (This comment reflecting the flood of adoration we seem to hear for our home without any concrete offers yet to bring about our move!) Ah, it will come.... In the meantime, I've got a work honeymoon to enjoy....

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Summer pleasures

Whether imitating penguins, bathing in the sink, eating a picnic lunch with our dearest friends, sharing a laugh in bed, or "meeting dinner," summer thus far has been filled with joys and pleasures. Here's a first pass at sharing the beautiful moments of our favorite season....

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Doors and walls

Matt and I have been hard at work on the attic and basement this week, shifting, sorting, tossing, and shifting some more. We are in that painful stage of any move--opening boxes left closed for our five years in this house, and realizing yet again there are treasures with which we can't yet bear to part. (For someone who complained regularly about the lack of documentation of my life, there are more boxes of photographs than my friend and Creative Memories consultant, Melanie, would know what to do with!) Today I was scaling back my college papers. Because I work in the field of my graduate studies, these papers and notes have been with me at work, and I sifted these down to pure essentials a couple of years ago. For some reason, the college work seems a bit more difficult to recycle--it ties me to a time when my mother was alive, and then not, and I want to read every word to see what hints I left of a life with her in it. While many syllabi and professors' notes are quick to the bin, there is one professor--a scholar of poetry, in particular, and my thesis advisor--whose words I have yet again packed for the move. I offer these wise words from the poet and professor himself:

The Trick of the Architect

The difficulty with life is
Not that the doors opening up into things
Are too little to pass through,
But that they're so massive
We think them the walls.

Jene Erick Beardsley

Saturday, July 01, 2006

On the trading floor

As much as I speak of the infinite potential and possibility of my children's future, I suppose deep down I believe they will end up more or less like Matt and me. This is in some ways justified. My sister now teaches elementary school, following closely in the footsteps of our mother, a lifelong teacher. Though I am not engaged in formal ministry like my father, I am very drawn to roles with an emphasis on people and being a public voice for messages I find critical and compelling....the very skills I saw him exercise for years. Of course there are many, many ways our lives have departed our parents' and moved in entirely unanticipated directions, but some core values remain. (I remember my mother happily wearing hand-me-down clothes given to her from my parents' friends. Much as I wished she had nicer, more suited to her clothing, I also am quite happy shopping at a local thrift store to see what I can find.)

Last night we shared the perfect summer evening with our closest friends--chicken off the grill and pizza; homemade ice cream in cones, dripping pink down the chins and shirts of all four of our collective children; shared baths in the tub for extracting bug spray, sunscreen and sand; and hands waving into the deep blue sky as we departed under the stars. Because the kids play so well together, we can sometimes sit back and share adult conversation or indulge in one of my favorite activities--observing our children while they are oblivious to our presence and fully absorbed in being who they are. As the pajama-clad, squeaky-clean big kids sat snuggling on the coach listening to "Hurry Up, Calliou!" Lucas was on Matt's lap, fully engaged in conversation on a play cell phone. In his not-fully-formed enunciation, he rattled off word after word, tossed in a quick "Buh-bye," and then closed the phone. This particular toy is wise to kids, and is rigged to ring automatically whenever it is closed. Each time it did so, Lucas seemed genuinely surprised and obviously compelled to open and answer the phone. Over and over and over--and suddenly I had this image of my little snuggly baby on the trading floor at Wall Street. (This is enough of a stretch for his father or me that I'm not entirely certain "trading floor" is the correct phrase!) The action, the noise, the numbers--all seemed somehow in his reach in that moment of aggressively putting the phone back to his ear for yet another "sell now!" conversation with his clients--and I realized I really don't know who this child will grow to be at all.

I had a similar moment with Kyra recently--Kyra with her short hair, dirty shirts, and "eager to be a boy" attitude. I was putting her to bed when she began to rap a series of song lyrics I had never heard before. (Again, like my mother, I am barely connected to popular culture, so the most familiar of songs are often unknown to me!) In between verses of this "rap" Kyra described how she and her closest day care friend were one day going to be singing on stage....a far cry from how we typically see her, but suddenly within the reaches of my mind. When I went downstairs to search for the lyrics, I discovered my daughter at day care had learned "Wake Up" by Hilary Duff. The scraped knees, baseball bat and trucks were replaced in my mind by blue eyeshadow, red lipstick and low rise jeans....and the awkward reality of a teenaged girl trying to find her voice in the midst of all the madness around and within her. And again, I realized I don't know who either of my children will grow to be.

I am simply grateful to watch and grow myself, caught up in the surprises of their authenticity....still creating my own.