Jasper and Magnolia are back in school! Full days! Five days a week! Yippeeee! Not only does this mean — most importantly, of course — that after an exciting summer break, they can resume in earnest the exhilarating learning process. It also means I have some time to myself. Yippeeee X 2!
Sort of. Time to myself means time to think, and that’s a tricky thing these days. With all this parenting stuff, and the day-to-day weight of it, I’ve lost myself a bit. Or a lot. Maybe even a big, huge, gaping expanse of a lot.
I have to reinvent. Redefine. Let go of some things and embrace others. Get back in touch with who I am. Yesterday, something made me think of Anne Lamott, who I’ve read in the past and enjoyed, but it’s been years since Bird by Bird, Operating Instructions, and Traveling Mercies.
Anyway, I Googled her and found two interesting things: 1) a video of an interview she did with Stephen Colbert for Grace (Eventually). They are both Sunday School teachers and he gets her “God” thing and it is very funny. If you like her at all, watch it! 2) a piece she did for The Oprah magazine on Becoming the Person You Were Meant to Be.
Ding, ding! A sign!
OK, it turned out to be a little up and down for me, but I found two good takeaways:
“You have to make mistakes to find out who you aren’t. You take the action, and the insight follows: You don’t think your way into becoming yourself.”
In all of this figuring out yourself, your true self, your spiritual self if you want to call it that (I don’t, but), you’re looking for “The self that is revealed in divine feminine energy, your own, Bette Midler’s, Hillary Clinton’s, Tina Fey’s, Michelle Obama’s, Mary Oliver’s. I mean, you can see that they are divine, right? Well, you are, too.”
Um,… OK! Divine me, divine mom. I’m…. working on it.
One thing I know for sure is that a new school year has begun, and I have to take an active part in making it a good one for my kids. Last year, I kicked ass (if I do say so myself) by planning Touch-a-Truck Brooklyn — we raised a ton of money for the school and, I hope, elevated the elementary school’s profile in the borough. I’m proud of that, and I have a million ideas for how to grow and improve the event this year. I can’t take on being the lead organizer again, but I can be an important consultant. I can say yes to taking on a few, manageable, key things, and I can make some good stuff happen.
What else can I do for you, Dear Jasper and Magnolia, to make sure that you get the best education possible this year?
I can communicate with your teachers to make sure you’re participating and getting the most out of your classroom experience. I can help make sure your teachers — hardworking and impressive as they are — have the resources they need to do their jobs well.
I can read to you and let you read to me. I can ask you about your day and show you that I care about every single little detail of if (because, in ways that you are too young to understand now, I really, truly do.)
I can send you off in the morning with a sense of security — a feeling of certainty that you are loved, supported, seen and heard. That I have confidence that you will succeed in learning — and, just as important — make me, yourselves, and each other laugh in the process.
I can remind you that I’m on your team. That we’re in this school thing together, and that learning is fun!
Let’s dive in! I’ll be holding your hand — and helping you through your homework — the whole way.
To read other open letters from moms to their kids about education, hop over to Mom Congress on Parenting.com. And, YO, listen up — you can also submit a short essay and photo or video to enter your kid’s school for a chance to win $20,000! A pretty awesome contest, all in the name of better education. Go, Parenting.com.
Spread the word!