Stretching my wings

Yesterday I was setting up my classroom and some football players came in to help. One kid was as long and lean as a spaghetti noodle. I had him hanging pictures and sticking stuff up high and commented on how long his arms were. He said “my wingspan is 6’7 ma’m and I’m a wide receiver but coach calls me bird man.”

Those are big wings but I had even bigger ones today. I jumped out of a King Air Airplane today with a parachute and a big grin at 13000 feet and landed on my own two feet. It was beautiful and liberating and powerful and not scary at all. I’m already signed up to go again.

Look for the tiny black dot! That’s me! Bird girl.

This baby girl got wings today, too. She has a full fledged drivers license now. She said “I’m going to chick fil a and to a friend’s house” and walked right out of my door. It is scarier to hear those words than to jump out of a plane. I’m not even kidding. The kind young man in the photo sat next to her for the long, long wait to take the driving test. He was taking a driving test, too, and I wasn’t allowed to wait with her. He kept her calm and laughing and well reviewed for almost three hours. Things were really backed up at the DMV because two people got arrested while we waited. One for flashing an employee and another one for trying to take the driving test with a bag of weed in his car. Clearly it wasn’t the calmest day of the year at the DMV. After she passed she said “mom, God sent me an angel to get me thru that wait without panicking”. Then we walked outside and there he was, waiting to see if she passed and to tell her how proud of her he was. I gave him a giant hug and took his picture and told him what she said. I know he must be a great daddy to his own little girl.

The world feels full of goodness and light and blessings today.

First day of school ‘19

I don’t have students yet so my day was easy and the kids survived the day but came home tired. Like headfirst into bed with no snacks tired.

First day pics

Finn only let me walk him halfway😢

Second day of school pics

The pets are desperately needy when we get home.

That’s it

Auto correct just changed my perfectly normal text to my friend to “Zimmerman Telegraph.” Even auto correct knows summer is over and it’s time to make the doughnuts.

In other news, thanks to friends with a sweet boat LieLie is doing this!!

Nope, I’m not OK

I was just getting my head around NOT crying all the way to Finn’s first day of middle school tomorrow when I saw his locker. The note says “you can do it Finn, love Finn” and he has some Old Spice Swagger deodorant in his little locker decoration. Killing me. Literally killing me. It takes real swagger to give yourself a pep talk in middle school.

How I love that boy.

Most of the time anyway….. He answered my question with “it is as inevitable as a tramp stamp in the 90’s” earlier today.

Parenting middle school boys takes swagger, too. Lord help me.

Growth

Two boys, 10 and 12, in my back seat discussion the younger one joining the older one at middle school on Monday:

Finn : what is the class on my schedule that isn’t a subject about?

Friend: it is about your feelings

Finn: like how you should have a growth mindset?

Friend: exactly

Finn: what happens if they find out you have a fixed mindset and just want to watch YouTube?

Friend: they assassinate you

Finn: I’m surprised there is anyone left.

Dear Jesus,

Please give me the strength to not actually go full Fortnite on any smart mouthed middle school boys.

Amen,

Jana

The last week of summer

School starts on Monday. LieLie leaves home in exactly two years for college (or to begin her Gray Gardens destiny of staying with mommy forever🙏🏼). That isn’t enough time. I haven’t even figured out how to do this parenting thing right yet. I feel like I need a mulligan or a rewind or an easy button so I can get it just right. I want to be a 1950’s tv mom with pearls who never yells “roll your eyes at me again! Make my day!” like the terminator. Hell, I would settle for some pearls and a cocktail at this point. The end of summer keeps rolling over me like waves of grief. I want more time, slower time and my babies.

This one went to middle school orientation. He walked his schedule and put his stuff in his locker and didn’t bat an eye at changing classes. He is ready. I am not.

This one took a class at the college and looked like every other young adult at pickup.

We’ve packed so much into this last week, trying to hang onto it and trying to forget at the same time: a museum, catching toads, a surprise Sweet 16 (thrown by friends), the Violent Femmes, baseball try outs, slumber parties and a mad scramble to do the summer homework before the clock strikes 12 on Sunday. I love you summer.

One of these says Suck It Elon!

I’m writing this from the Apple repair bar while LL gets her computer fixed. I may or may not have said “bring me a Guinness and talk nerdy to me” to the adorable millennial behind the counter. LL really appreciated my help.

Guest blog by LieLie

There was a part of tonight that felt like an 80s coming of age film. Not the kind where the guy gets the girl and they dance barefoot in the gym, but the kind where the main character sits pressed against the car window, streetlights flashing by, contemplating life while toto’s Africa plays in the background. Tonight was the going away party for two of my close friends. They’re not going to college or really even moving away, they’re going to a science and math boarding school 2 hours away. It was a big deal they got in and I’m so proud of them both. I know they will do so many great things that my school just couldn’t offer. But that being said, I am sad. Very sad. Not for them at all, but for myself. I know they will both be amazing. This summer has felt a lot like an 80s coming of age film. So much has changed since the end of the last school year, and I feel like I’ve sprinted to keep up. I turned sixteen, my grandparents moved away, I went to sleep away camp for the first time, got medals in swim team, got a car, worked a steady job, failed a driving test, and so many other little things that slowly chipped away at what I thought was my normal. I’m making it sound like a bad thing, when honestly I wasn’t upset by any of it, surprised maybe, but not angry. I was a nervous anxious wreck about going to sleep away camp, especially since I didn’t know the first thing about herpetology. But it turned out to be one of the best weeks of my life. I send messages to my camp friends on the daily, and go back and read my camp notebook at least once a week. I even convinced my mother to let me get a snake hook. I’m still afraid of the unknown and probably always will be, but somehow I learned that it’s ok to be afraid. These changes and this summer have taught me not to fear what lays ahead, and that change is the only constant we have in our lives. But also as I sit flipping through elementary school pictures of my two friends, watching clips of old plays we did, and thinking of all the times they’ve comforted me or made me laugh, I remember that I’m growing up. I remember that one day it’ll be me leaving someone behind, and I remember that even though change is good and welcome, it won’t make me miss my friends any less.

#thisis16