poetry, writing

Bookish

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Photo from Katya Austin

M is for Moving*

 

My daughter brings books from school

Sherman Alexie and John Cheever

mesmerizing, momentous and magnificent

Indigenous American meets Chekhov of the Suburbs

stories of the malcontents,

the maniacs and the maculate

This teen is spellbound

macrocosms beyond her self now revealed

like I was, when I first split a book in two

 

*part of my alphabiography series

 

 

 

motivation, poetry

High School is Short-Lived

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B is for Barbs

In high school, our mascot was “the barbs”

– that’s short for barbed wire – which was invented in DeKalb, IL.

barb = sharp, bristly, obviously unpleasant…

causing inflamation and swelling. High school was constant stress over

grades, posturing and “success,” whatever that was.

My home life was more of the same, pure misery.

I felt invisible all the time. Nobody saw who I was, they saw who they wanted to see.

(Mostly, they were disappointed by what they saw!)

But I survived. I’ve actually thrived.

And you will, too. Hang in there. High school is temporary.

barbed

 

 

 

 

 

 

poetry

Pedal to the Metal

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photo by Samuele Errico Piccarini

We switched places at the gate

for my ultimate test of surrender

her smile and jokes betrayed her cool

take it slowly, speed limit’s 25 here

 

Am I OK?

Yes, you’re perfect

Still?

Yep, doing beautifully

 

As she drove (slowly, oh so slowly) to our cul-de-sac

I remembered my driver’s ed teacher

he was old (probably my age now) and balding

with two student drivers in the car with him

 

Emily T., tall, popular, blonde, took turns with me

She (with the perfect curls) could do no wrong

her mistakes were met with encouragement,

her proficiencies were met with praise

 

but me – with my glasses and foreign mien –

my errors were harshly judged,

and my victories gleaned silence

This injustice – as all maltreatments do – ripened into a gift

 

for his words and demeanor (and all the other abuses I’ve known)

created a wound

which turned into a scar

and thickened my skin

 

everyone knows thin skin bleeds easily

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

motivation, Personal Success, relationships

Parenting Pain

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No longer mine – can’t carry you anymore,

you’ll stumble, fall and eventually – soar,

As your path widens and grows long,

I realize how I was so very wrong

 

 

You take your steps while I watch

sometimes wincing

Your self-determination can be dreadful

yet entirely convincing

It’s fast becoming apparent

that your flubs and whims aren’t errant

You don’t own reasons for my heart breakin’

for I never “owned” you, in that, I was mistaken

relationships

Dear Ms.K., Thank You for Giving My Daughter Detention

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Dear Ms. K.,

I want to thank you for giving my daughter detention today. Per our previous email, you informed me that she has been late to your class every day for several days. This baffled me, as I drop her off an hour early and you are her first class of the day. After several warnings, you emailed me to let me know that should she be late again, she would get detention. I assured you she would not repeat that mistake.

But of course, I cannot guarantee the actions of anyone besides myself.

After confronting her, she hurriedly assured me she learned her lesson. She explained that she gets hungry and her friend meets her to bring her food. Her friend is not always so quick.

Oh, are we blaming our friend?

No, no. It’s not her fault. Mom, it won’t happen again!

I try to give my daughter freedom within strict guidelines. A  “C” in a class at any time means her cell phone gets confiscated until the grade goes up. How she operates within her hours and activities is up to her.

When I remind her to make time for breakfast in the mornings and to pack a snack, I am met with heavy sighs. She is too busy styling her hair and applying makeup to worry about breakfast.

So it happened again today. She didn’t eat breakfast. She got hungry and met her friend. She was late to your class. And, as you promised, she will now have to serve detention – one hour after school tomorrow.

In the car, she was shaken. She’s never had this kind of consequence from a teacher before.

“It’s my fault. I got hungry. I didn’t pack any snacks or eat breakfast. It’s my responsibility. I will pack food the night before.”

I wanted to lecture  her and reinforce the lesson. I wanted to voice my dismay and disappointment. Instead, I said, “I am very proud of you for taking responsibility for this and not blaming anyone.”

Thank you, Ms. K., for doing the right thing. You are helping my daughter develop character and responsibility.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Personal Success

Remedy for the Blues

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by Ryan Moreno

I made the mistake of reading some news today. BIG mistake. What a downer. How dispiriting! But tonight, my family attended my daughter’s high school dance performance. Over 20 different acts, ranging from beginning to highly advanced performed in quick succession. And instantly, my spirits lifted. Kids of all ages, of all body types, and of all skills danced their hearts out. The audience was comprised of friends and families who hooted and hollered their encouragement, calling kids by name.

Dance. Art. Music. Literature. These are activities that require self-discipline, practice and focus. When you observe or participate in the arts, you are party to a deep, spiritual practice of love and harmony.

If you’re feeling “blah” or down, I highly recommend that you attend a local live show – preferably put on by children – immediately. Your spirit will soar.