Living · Writing

A Hodge Podge of Small, Good Things

1: I started a Bullet Journal at the beginning of the year. In my head this is a sort of a mash-up of an art journal, a calendar, and a series of lists, so it appeals both to my creative side and my need for order and reminders. My normal mode of remembering is to write a list, so if I can keep all my lists in one place, I stand a better chance of not losing them, and if I can use stamps, markers, and/or washi tape, I feel like I’m playing, so this is Adulting Disguised as Play—always a good thing.

2: I also received a gift from a student today—just a small gesture, really, but one so thoughtful, personal, and entertaining as to be emblematic of all that is good in my career. I teach humans. I teach humans about books. I teach humans about books that entertain and instruct and challenge and provoke and affirm. It is a serious endeavor, one steeped in humanity, and a genuine site of connection to individuals and the world. And individuals are wonderful. Sometimes the world gets me down, but individuals are awesome.

This student gave me a rubber stamp that he had custom-made for me. It says “Never trust a vowel” in a lovely, crisp block of text. This is something I shout gleefully (but in all seriousness) in many of my classes, as I point out to students the words they know in various languages and traditions. If they’re translating Chaucer’s Middle English and get stuck on the word “holp,” I remind them to try other vowels, and most of the time they come to “help” on their own. Vowels are what change most readily (consider regional accents). I have joked in class that I write it so often on people’s translations, that I could use a stamp, and someone listened and acted.
3: Finally, a poem. I wrote it years ago, when my kids gave me some bug and I missed a dear friend’s wedding. In the throes of this miserable cold and flu season, it seems relevant again, and still a pipedream. I will never be Ironmom. I will always snuggle the sickie.
“A Resolution”
Someday I’ll learn not to
Comfort a sick child.
Not to welcome on to my lap,
In to my grembo
An oozing, seething
Bundle of germs.
When my son has a fever
I won’t rock him in the comfy chair
Legs over one armrest
Head on my heart.
When my daughter has a tummy ache
I won’t lay her on my stomach
Rubbing her belly
As if it were my own, like
Two spooning Buddhas, for luck.
When they cough
I’ll spin them away from me
Aiming them like guns at the world
Instead of pulling them close
Calming their spasms with
The beat of my heart
The strength of my arms.
I’ll be Ironmom.

I will never get sick again.

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