First Class Trip

Off he goes!

My little son left this morning for his first overnight class trip! They’ll be camping at Full Belly Farm, and doing farming-type stuff, including packing up CSA boxes. Asher has a little nervous and very excited, and I know it’s going to be a wonderful trip. This weekend Ian got Asher a few items he needed, like a new water bottle. I finger-knitted a lanyard for his mini flashlight so he could hang it around his neck. He’s got warm clothes, layers, our ancient snow lion sleeping bag, and he’s packed up in Ian’s Europe backpack from 1993.

upload

Lucas did this trip in third grade too. Somehow, it helps little brothers to know big brothers have done the same things before them, and they had fun and everything turned out all right. Today in the car as we were driving to school, Lucas kindly said things like “Don’t worry. It’s gonna be great. You’ll be fine and you’ll have fun.” It seemed to help Asher relax a little. I can say all the same things, but somehow, it’s better coming from a big brother.

So proud of this boy!

Last night, Asher reminded me that Cindy was going to be there, and that I could call her if I wanted to talk with him. I think that was code for “I might need to talk with you, Mom.” I doubt he really will though. I mentioned this to Cindy, and I know I’ll get a text later on.

He’ll be in Farmer Steve’s group, and teachers know all about his asthma medicine (something we never had to do with Lucas), so it’s all good. Asher has plenty of camping experience under his belt.

I wrote this years ago about Lucas’s first overnight trip. All of this is still so completely true, and I wish Asher the best possible time!

“I love this Waldorf curriculum. I love that my son gets to spend a day and a night on a working farm that is using sustainable practices and raising sheep for wool. I love that he knows where his food comes from. I love that part of school for him is fresh air and sunshine, digging in the mud and planting seeds, and swimming in a pond. I love that his physical and spiritual development are carefully considered in addition to his academic aptitude and achievement; that the health and unity of the class as a whole is considered. I love that he is challenged with tasks that are a trifle scary and difficult, and supported while he faces his fears and overcomes obstacles. I feel he is being nourished every day by these qualities and so many more that I can’t even put into words.

“I’m just so full of gratitude, and hoping he has a wonderful time.”

 

Speaking of Lucas, big things are coming up for him, too! In two weeks he and his classmates will dance the maypole, and in May he’ll go on his eighth-grade trip for a week!

There are all kinds of letting-go opportunities around here. XO

 

2015 Michaelmas

IMG_8058

It’s almost too late to write about Michaelmas, since it was a month ago. Honestly, I’m being pulled in so many directions these days, sometimes it’s all I can do to keep my feet underneath me and pointed forward.

This Michaelmas season brought with it many challenges and opportunities to exercise our courage and grow into our new selves. We got to go deep; we got to fall apart and pick ourselves up again. We got to learn more about our own fears, strengths, compassion, intuition, and capacity for love and forgiveness. We got to shed our old dragon skins and reemerge, shining and tender, into life. And the world keeps on turning …

IMG_8014 These photos are from our sons’ school Michaelmas festival, which I delight in writing about year after year.IMG_8004

IMG_8002 IMG_8036

IMG_8007  IMG_8030

This year, Asher’s class played the role of the happy villagers of the land, who joyfully dance until the terrifying dragon arrives, disrupting their festivities and scattering them in fear.

IMG_8051IMG_8080

The dragon was fearsome and surprisingly quirky—this year’s dragon had a baby dragon with it! IMG_8118

As you maybe can see, it was a mighty hot day. My little Asher and his third-grade classmates danced beautifully, and their lovely and talented class teacher danced with them.

IMG_8034IMG_8093 With courage, pure hearts, strength in community, and Michael’s aid, the dragon was subdued. And the people rejoiced. IMG_8099 Lucas’s teacher was the town crier. She gave a dramatic performance and brought her considerable gravitas to the role. IMG_8110 IMG_8107 IMG_8124 The sixth graders create and man the dragon each year. It is a massive undertaking. The whole school turns out for this festival. It’s unifying and inspiring every time.IMG_8129 IMG_8143

IMG_7984IMG_7969upload

The eighth grade class is pretty busy this year with their schoolwork. They had a minor roll in the festival, which was just fine with them.

And with this we ushered in autumn, with all its beauty and contradiction. We faced our fears with renewed vigor and confidence, and we are stronger for it.

First Day of School

First day of 8th and 3rd grades

It’s the first day of school! This morning we cast aside our lazy summer routine and got up early to get to class at 8:10 a.m. This is my handsome eighth-grader and my charming-but-not-the-least-bit-enthusiastic third-grader. They have had 94 days off for summer and it’s time to go back to school!

Let’s just say that again, shall we?

94 days off.

94.

Ninety-four.

Ninety-four is so many days off I don’t even know how to spell ninety.

NINETY-FOUR.

94.

Days off.

In a row.

Holy moly and goddamn! I’d have to be disabled in some freakishly horrible accident to get that many days off—in a bloody row.

But. I have tried very. very. very hard NOT to complain this summer about … summer.

You might have noticed how I said very little. Because I was definitely not complaining.

I’ve been very quiet in this space over the summer, compared to other summers.

It’s partly because I have a young teen who is now quite sensitive about what I post, who wants to control his own online image. I respect his wishes, though it is hard for me to have to check with him about ever damn photo. I have had a gag rule imposed upon me by this amazing boy who has always taught me so much—about him, about the world, about myself. Who has been the source of so many invaluable lessons. Who has been my initiator into so many new experiences over the last 13 years. For years, writing about my life as a mother (as Lucas’s mother) has allowed me the opportunity to think, reflect, and process a whole maelstrom of feelings that at times have threatened to engulf me completely. Writing this blog has been at times a link to sanity, to the knowing voice that whispers deep and quietly within my soul.

But he gets to say. Because I love him. And I respect him.

And oh, my! There are so many amazing things about him that I’ve not said.

Gag. Rule.

And another thing: Sometimes you just have to curl up and form a chrysalis for a while. Go deep, rest and heal, in the hopes that something whole and amazing will emerge. I’m still waiting, quietly. Won’t say much about that. But, you know, I’m still here. Drop me a line?

Doesn't want to go back to school.

Asher, well … Let’s just say that Asher has had a wonderful summer full of lots of his favorite people, and lots of his favorite self-directed activities. And, in a nutshell, he isn’t all that keen to spend his days being directed by, you know, teachers and such, who have their own plan for his time.

Now, to be fair, these rather mopey pictures were taken at 7:35 this morning. Few of us are at our strongest best at 7:35 a.m., in my opinion. This afternoon, at 12:35, I received the report that the day went well for both of them. There are new teachers and it was a pretty good day.

So.

Just so. For the first day of school.

Dragon Bread for Michaelmas

Dragon Painting by Lucas

Lucas’s watercolor dragon painting, which is on display in our home.

Today is the official Feast of Saint Michael. Michael was the archangel who threw Lucifer out of heaven. It is Michael who sends us courage to fight the good fight, to face up to dragons and monsters in ourselves and our society, which seems so very necessary in these difficult times. How do you meet on the battlefield the dragons of fear, hate, greed, and bigotry? What will you do to celebrate and conjure courage and goodness?

Dragon Bread Recipe (3rd Grade Cooking)

Last year in school, Lucas’s third grade class made dragon bread and they copied the recipe into their cooking main lesson book. I’ll translate and fill in the gaps:

DRAGON BREAD

2 1/4 teaspoons yeast

3 3/4 cups  flour

3/4 cup warm water

2 eggs

1/2 cup oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup sugar

Mix together the yeast and warm water. Let it rest. In another bowl, mix eggs, oil, salt, and sugar. Add flour. Add yeast and water mixture and mix until blended. Knead the dough on a floured surface until it’s firm and smooth, then round it into a bowl coated in a little oil. Turn the ball over once to coat both sides of dough with oil. Let the dough rise in a warm place until it has doubled in size. Now place your dough on a greased cookie sheet and shape it into a dragon. You can use scissors to cut legs, a mouth, scales, etc. Poke in almonds for teeth, or dried fruits for spikes,  if you wish. Cover and let your dragon bread rise again for about 30 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees until done. Devour with righteousness!

The First Dragon Bread to Be Eaten for Michaelmas Dinner

Of course, any bread recipe you like will work just as nicely. Yum!

Lucas at the End of Third Grade

Leap!

It’s the end of the school year. There are four more days of school left and then it’s twelve weeks of summer vacation for Lucas. Normally at this time of year I’d be panicking, wondering what the hell we are going to do during twelve weeks “off.”

OK, the truth is, part of my brain IS doing exactly that because I am both full-time mommy and full-time professional editor. Try as I might, I have yet to figure out how to be fully effective at doing two vastly different jobs at once.

Twelve weeks. Somehow the camp options are fewer this summer, and I just know that there are going to be yawning weeks of hot, drawn-out days. You’ve heard me sing this song before. That’s not why I’m writing now.

Just now. This is why I’m writing. This exact moment I’m so awestruck by my child. My 9-year-old has me feeling just boggled, and not for any one thing, but for all of him.

Today he brought home some of his third-grade schoolwork. Not reams of mimeographed math problem practice sheets, but his own watercolor paintings. His crocheted potholder. His hand-carded, handspun and plied yarn.

While Ian was preparing dinner, Lucas was out in the backyard, shooting homemade arrows at targets with his most recent handmade bow.

During dinner, Lucas told us the story of Moses and the Hebrew people wandering the in the desert. This was a treat for us because he doesn’t always want to talk about what’s going on at school. I marveled at how parts of the story were so well-crafted, as if he had absorbed whole phrases of the narrative word for word because the pictures in his mind responded to them. He also told us he got to shovel manure today—and that he’s aware he’ll be doing a lot of that sort of thing next year because the fourth grade does the animal chores on the school farm. We discussed how interesting the Norse myths will be next year.

After dinner tonight, he played for us a piano sonatina. It has three movements and is about six pages of music, with plenty of repeats and codas. His sonatina is not perfect. Some sections are played faster than others. There are rough patches that we hope he will iron out through practice before his next piano recital in a couple of weeks. But, damn! My kid just made music out of nothing but his knowledge and skill and feeling.

Who is this capable being standing before me?

I cannot promise to be the perfect, carefree mom all summer. I will not promise to keep him entertained through the dog days. All I can promise is to try to meet him where he is now, which is most certainly not where he was a year or a month ago. Now is new, and brave and capable and lovely.

Sheep Shearing at the Waldorf School

Misty (Before)

Our third-grade class at Sacramento Waldorf School recently completed a bock of study on clothing. As part of this block, they helped to shear one of the school’s sheep, Misty. Then they carded the wool and spun it into yarn. This is Misty and I must say, she is a good sport.

Mrs. C Greets the Children

The March morning dawned beautifully on the school farm. The children lined up along the fence rails of Misty’s pen. The former handwork teacher, Ms. C, greeted the children and shook their hands. Farmer S instructed them on how to behave around Misty. In small groups the children cooperated to shear her. Some children held Misty’s legs, while Farmer S, Mrs. P, and several children began shearing, using scissors.

Mrs. P Teaches Lucas

Mrs. P instructed each child how to use the scissors so that Misty wouldn’t be cut and so that the fleece was cut very close to her skin, preserving the long fibers so that they could be used for handwork.

Mrs. P Teaches Lucas

She taught Lucas what to do. One must hold the scissors horizontally and be able to see the points before cutting. One mustn’t tug on the fleece while cutting because that can endanger Misty’s skin.

Lucas Shearing

Every child in the class got a turn to shear and to help hold Misty, who patiently endured all their busy hands.

Smile

It was truly an amazing thing to watch these normally rambunctious children behaving so quietly and moving carefully.

K Holds a Leg

Several parents were there to assist. We all got a chance to shear a bit, and hold Misty, too. Touching the fleece made my hands so soft from the lanolin in the wool.

T

Ram Balboa the Llama

These animals were the lucky ones: a ram and Balboa the llama. No shearing for them this day. Also spared was the ewe with two spring lambs to care for.

R

R and N

T Shearing

R

Careful Hands

A rainbow of third-graders. Honestly, what a lot to endure! I think I’d freak out if that many hands were on me. Farmer S cut Misty’s hooves and did all the delicate, tricky shearing around her hindquarters.

R Soothing Misty

Some of the kids sat cross-legged, holding Misty’s head in their laps. Here’s R covering Misty’s eye with her hand and whispering to her that everything is OK.

A in Argyle

The kids really had a great time, I think.

Goofy M

Misty Survived!

Not so sure Misty did, but she survived!

9th Birthday Party

Balloon Fight Madness

Lucas’s first-ever sleepover birthday party started with an epic balloon fight.

Balloon Fight Madness

Six 9-year-olds and a determined-to-keep-up 4-year-old is a what you might call a cacophany of boys. The dozen balloons lasted almost 8 minutes.

Birthday Boy

The theme— “No theme, Mom! Just a sleepover.” The cake— “No cake, Mom! I want a homemade apple pie.”

Dinner Shenanigans

There were antics of all sorts. There was talk of how girls trying to kiss you is the grossest thing ever. There was plenty of belching words. There were stick fights and spy-on-the-parents games. After they inhaled the watermelon, there was a rind fight.

Watching Mythbusters

There were two episodes of “Mythbusters,” at the special request of the birthday boy, with extra explosions.

Opening Gifts

Lucas received marvelous gifts, like a mosaic stepping stone kit, a solar cooker, a Hex Bug, paintbrushes, LEGO, and more.

Lucas Birthday Boy

He greatly enjoyed being the star of the show for a full evening, night, and morning. The boys stayed awake talking and laughing until about midnight, before they finally all fell asleep.

Opening Birthday Presents

After the guests left on May 1, we spent some time with just the four of us. We gave Lucas our gifts, such as a solar kit, books, a basketball, wool roving and needle-felting tools, extreme dot-to-dot and puzzle books, North American animal fact cards—just the sort of things a 9-year-old needs.

6-in-1 Solar Kit

39 Clues, Book 1 The Name of this Book is Secret

But best of all—most desired of all possible birthday gifts—was this:

Pocket Knife!

Whittling Together

And thus he spent much of the day whittling. We were all a bit worn out from the festivities of the night before and so we elected not to attend the May Day festival at Lucas’s Waldorf school. (The third grade had no part to play in the festival this year, and so we left the choice up to Lucas. He wanted to whittle.)

Later that evening, we went to Grandma’s and Papa’s house for dinner. We enjoyed tacos and salad and birthday brownies for dessert. The boys wanted to go swimming—on May Day! And although it was not exactly warm, well—it was his birthday. May Day is traditionally the “first day of summer.”

Swimming on May 1

The next day, which was a day off from school, Lucas got to visit with his other grandmother and his auntie. He came home with a set of woodcarving tools and more LEGO. Bliss!

It’s two weeks later now, and I can tell Lucas is supremely happy to be 9, and is really enjoying all his gifts. He has finally (and briefly) caught up to the age of his classmates, some of whom are soon to turn 10.

Noah and the Flood: Third-Grade Play

S

Last month, our dear third graders performed a play called Noah and the Flood. There were two sweet casts, one for the morning performance and one for the evening performance. These photos are from the evening performance, which was held at sunset one day near the end of March. That’s dear, pious Noah above. She did a marvelous job with a ton of lines.

Townsfolk Taunt 3

Here are the wicked, doubting townspeople harassing Ham, Noah’s good son, who helps to build and stock the ark with animals. I think these townsfolk kids might have had the most fun because they got to skip about the stage, teasing and making fun of Noah’s righteous family and doubting that there would be any consequence for their bad behavior.

Noah's Wife Says Quit Whining

This is Noah’s wife in the foreground. She was clearly on board with the whole ark-flood project. Her daughters-in-law, in the background, were less enthused. And yet, despite their bad attitudes, they were saved from the rising waters.

E

Such a good boy was Ham. Noah had two other obedient sons as well.

My Mouse

They went out into the world to find two of every animal, reptile, and bird to put on the ark to save them from the terrible flood. Lucas was very happy to be a mouse. (I think he still misses Emily Mouse.)

Angel

This is the angel that convinced the other angels that not every human was wicked, and perhaps they should save one righteous family. This darling boy really got into his role and delivered a stirring performance.

R

Two third graders got to man the floodwaters and the subsequent rainbow. With a very long rainbow silk, they created a glorious rainbow over the saved people and animals at the end of the play.

The play’s finale was the “Rise and Shine” song you might remember:

The Lord said to Noah:
There’s gonna be a floody, floody
The Lord said to Noah:
There’s gonna be a floody, floody
Get those children out of the muddy, muddy
Children of the Lord

Rise and shine
And give God the glory, glory
Rise and shine
And give God the glory, glory
Rise and shine
And give God the glory, glory
Children of the Lord

Birthday Letter to Lucas

Lucas

April 29, 2011

Dear Lucas,

It’s practically the eve of your 9th birthday. Tomorrow we will spend much of the day cleaning our home, baking, and decorating to get ready for your birthday party—your first-ever slumber party.  It will be a busy day, and not all fun stuff. Together we will succeed in making the space ready for five of your dear friends.

This year, you have asked for a homemade apple pie instead of a birthday cake. I am surprised by this; somehow it seems too much like me and my preferences for it to be your wish. So often I see our differences and dissimilarities most clearly. But there are moments when I see myself in you, like when you get nervous before a big event and begin to wish you could be elsewhere, or like when you pore over a new book, exploring it with your hands and running its cover against your cheek, or like when you express your outrage when someone acts in a way that hurts you, accidentally or not. All of these characteristics in you remind me of myself.

Lucas Dear

I have seen you grow so much this year it boggles my mind. (I suppose I say that in every birthday letter I write to you. It is always true.) In the last year, I have seen you learn how to read music (both treble clef and base). I have listened with eager ears as you have learned to play songs on our piano, sometimes struggling, sometimes leaping forward in great ah-ha moments of inspiration. Your fingers are at home on the keys; your ear is better than mine ever was, and you seem to memorize songs after hearing them only a few times. This is both a tremendous asset, and also a liability because you are capable of skating along at times, not having to pay attention to the notes on the page. But I understand. It’s a foreign written language, and it’s so much easier for you just to remember all the sounds. You are getting better at paying attention and focusing on the music. You don’t like to work at it, and yet, when you master the task, it’s clear that you feel very proud of yourself. You have tackled some tough songs this year, including one called “Hogwarts March,” from a Harry Potter movie. I am pleased to see you working hard at piano—I mean, of course I want it to be enjoyable for you. I also want you to learn how to go after something you want, try and try and try, and earn your reward. You have been playing for a year now. You have said at times you want to quit, but then you seem to buckle down and achieve the next goal, which fills you up and readies you for more. I’m not inclined to let you quit because you’re good at it.

Lucas, Almost 9

Another skill that seems to have ballooned is your reading. This gives your father and me so much joy we’re filled to bursting. You are unlocking the greatest thing ever, word by word, book by book, and you seem to know it. You say, “I’d rather read the book first before I see the movie.” You and your school friends discuss books! You come home with requests because so-and-so said such-and-such book was the greatest book ever. You know what ragged right means. You want books because they’re funny, or a bit creepy, or mysterious, or clever, or long and with sequels. And I am in heaven.

Sick Day Reading This Moment: Music-Making

Still, I hold back a bit. I don’t push books on you because my showing too much enthusiasm for a story can ruin it. Secretly, I buy books for you all the time, and store them so that at the perfect moment I can give you one as a special gift, or just a now-you’re-ready-for-this surprise. It makes me feel like Santa Claus, and each time you unwrap one or I pull one off the top shelf, I hold my breath. Will you feel the same draw, the same magic as I do? I long to share this feeling with you, to have this one thing at least tie us together in companionship our whole lives. But even more fervently I wish that you will fall in love again and again with reading.

Reading is a big part of third grade, as are spelling tests. You have been bringing fourteen spelling words home to study most weeks this year. When we all remember to work on them together, you tend to ace the quizzes. I’m finding it’s surprisingly tricky to encourage you to care about whether you do well. Often you do, so that’s great. But not always. So we are all learning to negotiate new concepts of expectation. We parents are learning how to negotiate new concepts of parenting. Because you go to Waldorf school, you haven’t been struggling with homework for years already, for which I am grateful. We are not in the habit of having to work on school tasks at home. See? The spelling words are our mutual training ground. Not only do you have to get into the habit of doing schoolwork, but we have to get into the habit of helping you develop good habits! (That teacher of yours is quite clever.) I admit we have a ways to go in this area. Next year, you will have homework to do regularly.

***

May 1, 2011

Lucas Painting Jumping

You remain, as ever, exceptionally creative. Perhaps the best part of this characteristic is that you aren’t afraid of it. You go with your creative impulses without hesitation. I see this in your engineering of objects, in your drawings and paintings, in your imaginative play. There is nothing too big, too hard, or too wild for you. You also seem to seek out the different path. The Moken Kabong shelter project was a good example. You were tasked to build a human shelter model based the shelter of a genuine people. You were the only child in the class to build a boat shelter. While belonging is important to you, you take your individuality seriously. I really like that about you.

You love dragons and ninjas, secret agents and explorers. You love science perhaps more than anything. You want to be a Mythbuster or a chemist or a doctor when you grow up. Something sciency, no doubt. Sometimes you say you want to be a veterinarian.

You are fond of games now, especially complex ones with many rules. You are becoming a good chess player, playing sometimes with adults. I need to remember that you need opportunities to play games. Since gaming isn’t my favorite way of spending time, I need to hook you up with others who do enjoy games. Fortunately, we have a lot of friends who enjoy such things. And your dad is a great sport about this stuff; he’s always ready for a game of chess or whatever.

Dear Lucas

You invent plenty of games, too, creating cards with creatures that have magical and elemental powers. You talk of hit points, damage, spells, and +4 strength, +1 armor. The games are not confined to paper, though, for your creatures ride on your shoulders and you can fling them into battle, with sound effects and physical confrontation. Asher is a willing participant in all your fantasy worlds. Since you answer his every question about the game with complete confidence, he is content to play by your rules most of the time. Just don’t tell him he has lost all of his powers! On a recent car ride, you and Asher played a verbal quest game like Dungeons and Dragons—I think you called it Tentacle—where you were the GM and Asher had to make choices in his quest. Sometimes his choice was wise and he was rewarded by leveling up. Other times he was penalized, like when he fought and killed a good luck dragon. I suppose you have played this with your friends at school, but I was amazed at how engrossed the two of you became in the game. You were both thinking on your feet, so to speak, and it was awesome.

You (perhaps with friends) have invented a martial art, formerly called Twidlywinkies but recently redubbed “Hai-ya!” The first iteration of this martial art has been around a year or two, but you’ve recently been training your brother in Hai-ya. You are taking him through the ranks, awarding him new belt colors (playsilks) when he does well. Rainbow belt is the highest achievement, after black belt. There are five styles of Hai-ya, from what I’ve gathered: Dragon, Crane, Tiger, Panda, and Snake, which you conveniently swiped from the Kung Fu Panda movie. You say you are training several school friends, too. You would dearly like to take martial arts classes, and we may be coming to that sometime this year. The discipline you would learn in such a class would do you good, I think.

Lucas in the Tree

Lucas on the Monkey Bars

You enjoy shooting hoops, walking on your stilts, and riding your scooter and your bike. We have been letting you ride around the neighborhood alone a bit. Recently you rode off to the local park for a solo adventure. You love to climb trees and every time we go to pick up Asher from preschool, you shimmy up Ms. Pati’s grapefruit tree. Daddy has seen you climbing up our redwoods in our backyard, which are a bit too little still, I think. Now you can do the monkey bars! (You tried for a long time without success, so this is a big accomplishment.) So far, you aren’t interested in playing organized sports. You lament about not having enough free time, though your time is mostly your own. Filling it with sports practice I think would be odious to you. I wonder if and when you will ask for this, and if it’s our fault that you show so little interest in sports. Have we raised you to be just like us?

Overall, I have to say this last year has been much easier than previous ones. You are not as challenging as you used to be, or perhaps I should say, you aren’t challenging as much of the time. You seem in some ways less spiky than before, and are quick to show affection. You give compliments pretty freely, which is a delight. You often tell me and Dad that we are “the best parents ever.” Usually, when we are frustrated with you, it is because you are frustrated with your brother and are fighting with him. You and Asher provoke each other like crazy. You react to him as if every little thing was the most horrific offense, which naturally feeds the fire. You give him such delicious rewards for bugging you, so he does it as often as possible. We are trying to teach you to disengage, walk away, and ignore it when Asher needles you. I fear your choleric personality is a big obstacle. But siblings fight. Brothers fight. And Asher now is a force to be reckoned with.

Miners' Lettuce Boys

But I have to also say how much love and devotion I see in your relationship with your brother. Asher looks to you for leadership, for courage, and for a role model. He would like to do everything you do and tries hard. You two are thick as thieves, as they say, completely intertwined with one another. You are best friends and worst enemies, as the cliché goes. You hate to be apart from one another, long to be together, and yet when you are, there is a maddening pattern of good, beneficial play and then angry bashing. We roller-coaster through our days like this and it drives us bananas. You are like powerful magnets, drawn together and compelled to play out dramatic hurts, betrayals, forgiveness, and camaraderie again and again, from dawn until sleep. It is difficult to live with, but I think it’s good relationship training. You are learning trust, how to negotiate, what consequences come from acting badly toward someone, how to forgive and be forgiven.

Goofy Boys Enjoying Mama's Smoothies of Love

Sometimes you ask to have your own room again, and I feel bad that I took over your old bedroom for my office. I know sometimes you would really like to get away from Asher and have some private space. You are coping as best you can: You have claimed three personal “desks” in the house as your private places. You and Asher still sleep together sometimes, though, so it cannot be so bad.

Spoony

A few months ago, you went through a rough patch and were feeling quite depressed and maudlin. You would sometimes get upset and say things like, “I shouldn’t even exist. I don’t deserve to live.” We tried hard to hold you safe and let you feel all your feelings. This “9-year change” business is hard, and dramatic. You seem to need us to acknowledge your pain, but also to act confidently through it. We don’t spend much time trying to convince you to feel differently, for that way is useless and also gives too much attention to the theatrics. We just hold the space in which you can (safely) suffer and try to show you that the suffering is temporary and that we love you despite it. I don’t know what more is in store for us in this changing stage. You’ve just turned 9, so there may be more pitfalls to negotiate this year. But no matter: We love you always.

Geologist

I admire the way you make friends, Lucas, and I must say, it seems to me you have made some good ones. Your school buddies are great kids, and you get along well even with those classmates who aren’t your best friends. You are especially good in one-on-one situations to my eye. I’m proud that you are considerate, that you remember your manners, and that you make friends with adults as easily as you make friends with kids. You are warm and open, eager to share your experiences and eager to learn from others. I am proud that my friends like having you along, that they tell me what a fun, clever, ingenious kid you are.

***

May 2, 2011

Nine

The party is done now. It was a rollicking good time; “best birthday party ever,” you said. There were balloon fights and stick fights and spy-on-the-parents secret agent games. We watched “Mythbusters,” we ate Daddy’s marvelous hamburgers and you and your friends devoured a whole watermelon in mere minutes.  You and your buddies stayed awake until midnight.

We were all pretty wiped out by the next day, your actual birthday, so we spent a kind of low-key day, enjoying each other’s company, and opening presents from me, Dad, and Asher. You are thrilled that we gave you your own, first pocket knife and have kept it with you every waking hour since then. We expect every stick within a two-block radius to be whittled by you in the coming months. You have already carved for yourself  and your brother new wands, with which to have magical duels. Daddy was certain that you are ready for this; it’s a big responsibility to own and use a knife. We trust that you will take it seriously, and not use it recklessly.

Pocket Knife!

We spent the evening of your birthday at Papa and Grandma Syd’s house. You begged to go swimming—the water was 62 degrees—and we let you. You proudly showed Papa your new pocket knife and he admired it. At the moment you’re enjoying time with VoVo and Aunt Kellie and you’re probably receiving more gifts.

There is no question about it, Lucas. You are beloved. Lucas, you are such a mysterious treasure to me and your dad, and every moment we find ourselves having to stretch and grow alongside you, just to keep up. You are delightful and warm, courageous and sensitive, and oh-so smart. You are our shining sun, our inspiration, and our initiator, for without you we wouldn’t be who we are today. We love you for everything that you are and everything that you are becoming. Happy birthday, my dearest light.

Love,

Mama

This Moment: Marble Run

This Moment: Marble Run

Inspired by SouleMama {this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
  • About Sara

    Thanks for visiting! I'm Sara, editor and writer, wife to Ian, and mother of two precious boys. I am living each day to the fullest and with as much grace, creativity, and patience as I can muster. This is where I write about living, loving, and engaging fully in family life and the world around me. I let my hair down here. I learn new skills here. I strive to be a better human being here. And I tell the truth.

    Our children attend Waldorf school and we are enriching our home and family life with plenty of Waldorf-inspired festivals, crafts, and stories.

    © 2003–2017 Please do not use my photographs or text without my permission.

    "Love doesn't just sit there like a stone; it has to be made, like bread, remade all the time, made new." —Ursula K. LeGuinn

  • Buy Our Festivals E-Books







  • Archives

  • Tags

  • Categories

  •  

  • Meta