Seasons come and go so quickly, don’t they? Already it’s August. My little grandson has been here for the past 10 days, and will go home to Texas next week to prepare for his first day of school on August 16. I’m happy that Michigan schools continue to schedule opening day after the Labor Day holiday - mid-August seems too early to begin the autumn rite of passage that is First Day of School.
I sat down at my computer this morning intending to write about marriage and life and the reinvention of both.
But instead I’m going to write a different sort of blog post.
One about children. Because something horrible is happening to children in this country, and I can’t be quiet about it any longer.
I’m not just talking about the threat of gun violence in schools, although that is horrific and mind-boggling and terrifying. Right now I’m talking about hundreds of children who have been taken from their parents at border crossings and imprisoned in detention centers.
This inhumane and torturous action is being perpetrated by the United States government.
A few weeks ago I wrote of my intention to limit my time on social media, and as you would imagine, I have had varying degrees of success. To paraphrase an old song, it’s a hard habit to break, and most of you are well aware of that.
On days when I am successful, however, here’s what happens: I’m more content, more focused, less flustered, and I accomplish a whole lot more. And by accomplish, I don’t mean just checking stuff off my to-do list. The biggest accomplishment I’ve achieved in those days when the phone stays tucked into its pocket inside my purse and the iPad remains closed on the kitchen counter is that of doing nothing. Of sitting on my couch and looking out the window, watching birds fly in and out from the feeder, listening to my little dog snoring softly from her bed in the corner.
Of being quiet.
Last week my grandson received something called a Growth Mindset award at his elementary school’s Friday morning assembly. He’s only been in kindergarten three weeks, and I’m not sure he quite understood the reason he’d been called to the front of the cafeteria to have his photograph taken with the other recipients. Nor did I, his 61 year old grandmother, have any idea what a Growth Mindset Award was about. Was this peculiar to his school, one known for its progressive ideas about education?
My daughter in law explained that growth mindset was a very important concept in schools, especially in their district. “It’s about believing you can learn new things,” she said, “and not being afraid to try."
A late summer morning, the grass thick with yesterdays rainfall. I’ve slept through the night for the first time in over a week, surprised to find myself wakened by the classical music radio station we’ve set as the alarm on our ancient Sony clock radio. 1:30 am, 2:30 am, 4:00 am. For days in a row, my eyes pop open and somehow I just know there will be no return to sleep. “What happened?” my husband always asks in the morning. “Why couldn’t you sleep?"
“If I knew, I’d do something about it,” I said, snapping at him because I truly have no answer, and I don’t like not having the answer.
My life is mercifully ordinary these days. There are no sick parents, no sick dogs. There are no deadlines, no imminent performances, no piles of unpaid bills. My mind has been filled with all these things at one time or another for the past decade, and they have often made sleep elusive.
But not now, not this minute. Right now, everything is quiet, calm. Peaceful. Ordinary.