Friday, September 11, 2015

On Never Forgetting

When the sky is at its most brilliant royal blue, adorned with clouds so fluffy and bleached-cotton white. When the first few days of the school year are underway and the nights and morning call for a sweater. When I have an inkling of who my students are or who my kids' teacher are and what the rhythm of the school year is.      There is a hiccup.

The images appear on Facebook with the words "Never Forget".  My first reaction is so selfish and reactive.
No one needs to tell me to never forget.
How could I forget?
Who is forgetting?

And all the sharing of the images of destruction begin. The pictures that could lure you in to the Box Office hit Summer movie. Those images are remembered, already.  We know most of those.

I wish, instead, we saw the "Real People of New York" type images.
The head nods.
The greetings of strangers.
The holding open of doors and getting up from seats for others.
The lack of divide that appeared in the boroughs those months after.
Show the team work and the comfort.
The looks of connection when a loud noise was heard, a subway car went dark, homeland security had us on Orange.

I wish everyone could see the circle time in the classrooms that began to repair the spirits of some of today's college students. The classrooms that allowed time for children to build with blocks. To rebuild with blocks. The creating of towers again and again, earnestly and cautiously. As if that would fix the hole and cover the constant smoldering.

"Mrs. Laird, I wish the Twin Towers were made of legos because look how I could fix them."

And with three deep breaths I release my negative reaction and throw it back into the air until the next September blue sky appears. Until the crickets start to chirp again in shadows of day as well as at night. When this week comes that drags down my heart and dims the view.

I will always have my list of fortunes:
I don't live in a country where such destruction is commonplace.
We can have a line like "Never Forget" because it is so rare.
I handed back each of my students to their living parents which wasn't true for all the teachers at my school.
I got to live in post 9/11 NYC which made me married to that city. Forever.
My husband was safe. My brothers were safe. My Father in Law was safe.

My physical view was different after. In various ways many of my views changed.
I am glad we all remember and that we will never forget. And I hope everyone will remember the moments that were found among the wreckage from which we could build the strong foundation for continuing on.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015


I opened the window the other night after turning off the a/c. I was met with a sound that makes me feel both excited and melancholy. 


August has waned. 
September has come.

Spring is usually thought of the starting fresh season, and January holds the clean slate mentality. But it is Fall in my world. Fall is where my true resolutions are made. With the start of school for the kids and for me, we return to a routine. Maybe the routine will involve making more organized and healthy meals,  establishing a no BS bedtime, a rhythm to the jumping in the car with our leotards, drumsticks, music, guitar, snack, backpack. LET'S GO!

Having gone to school for 20 years and then worked in schools for another 10 or so, my life is a school calendar. My method to organize our life is to label and buy new and set up and find places for and create habits....that all fades sometime in October. (The important stuff sticks).

I am always struck with the memory of an orange and brown plaid dress with an apple on it. (Pretty sure the apple was corduroy!!) I am guessing it was a dress for Kindergarten. A back to school clothing memory. (Totally made from this packet of patterns I am sure.)

That dress always floats back to me this time of year. I can remember clothes from other years as well, but it is that dress at that age that I think of first.

When the mornings remain a little cooler at the end of August I smell my first morning on my college campus. It is accompanied by distant but real butterflies in my stomach just remembering the navigation of my life at that point. Never having gone to camp or anything, that was my leaving home for the first time ever. I was heartsick for my mom and confused as to how I was going to make it there when I felt as intelligent as a bowl of grapefruits. It was also soon after my body and looks completely changed- I had no idea who I was. And having been at the same school since 3rd grade, had no idea how one makes a new friend nor how I would be seen, having been seen as the same by the same people for much of my life.

As with every change of season comes the approach to the Fall/Winter wardrobe. The finding it under the bed or upstairs closet, or where ever it may be. The re-trying on of stuff with internal dialogue: 
WHAT did I do to myself this Summer? 
WHY do I have this?
WHO stained my favorite "crisp weekend out with friends" shirt??
WHERE did the style of this go?
HOW did I think I could get away with having this pair of pants for 16 years?, pant)....OK, I will put them away for next year's "goal" pants.

Knowing I have to undo the damage of Rota Springs/New City Microcreamery/Ericksons/ DQ trips that claimed many of my Summer weekends, I still turn my thoughts to the first pot of beef stew I will make and the many baked ways to handle a bushel or 3 of apples. Oh and the pumpkins we will pick- that will involve some flour, sugar, and butter....

Well, that is OK because I will have the new, tight schedule in which to slip in my yoga and walking with ease and the usually always healthy menu lined up by then. (Or is that the thing that always fades by October?) Well, regardless, there will be yoga pants and running around and baked goods. You get one shot at life- live it like it is Fall- all lit up, sometimes warm, sometimes chilly with a cozy sweater. Inevitable. And though it is when so much outside starts to breakdown, it really is the staging of rebirth.