How do I begin? It's been a long time and a lot has happened?
My daughter began kindergarten and oh my heart. I understand that there are things she has to learn, particularly how to play the game, but it gives me no pleasure to hear her say that her picture is wrong because she didn't follow directions.
Let me back up. Her teacher is wonderful. She is thoughtful and kind and consistent, everything my 5 year old needs in her life at this time.
I saw a picture in her backpack of her drawing on an easel. She loves art, and I've begun the process of "strewing" art supplies, basically casually placing materials all over the house to encourage her to stop what she's doing and create art.
And I loved this picture. It was exactly her.
When I told her that I loved it, she pushed it away and said it was wrong and bad because she didn't do the rule.
The directions were for her to draw herself completing a classroom rule, particularly "cleaning up fully after ourselves."
I was angry. Directionless anger. Anger at the world and the way it works. Her teacher is doing everything she can to help my daughter understand how to be thoughtful about systems and rules, mindful of how the world works. She is preparing her to succeed.
My job is to nurture that spark inside her that says "Yes. I am Me and no one else."
It was storming a few days ago, and in my dark living room, I began to make the rounds with the plants, watering, tinkering, adding soil.
I haven't been mindful of the plant life inside or out, and I've lost some things from careless lack of water, from overgrown weeds, from bugs.
I lost a small spruce that desperately needed more water than I was giving.
I lost a rosemary that made it through the snow of the winter only to be over taken by some kind of mite.
I lost a rose that was making a comeback and I forgot to move out of the harsh afternoon sun.
I haven't been talking to them or noticing their small signals. They trusted me and I was careless. I know this doesn't mean a lot to most people; just throw the plant away and buy a new one, but I feel like a failure.
Tell them stories and find tiny new leaves pushing out of the soil.
October is a time to remember. It is my favorite month here in Nashville, and the girls and I spent the morning yesterday hiking "the mountain," a trail pretty demanding for such tiny feet. We saw deer and turkey and a kind woman looking for someone to share the morning.
My oldest makes friends wherever she goes and I wonder when I lost that ability. But I relearn how to listen when I watch her and we grow together.
I remember those who burned so that we could speak our truths.
One of the last days the hummingbirds were here, she and I sat very still and waited for one to fly down from the trees. I could hear her tiny voice high in a branch and when she finally flew down I was reminded of the power of stillness.
My daughter learned it that day, too. Stillness and silence give way to miracles floating in the sun above us.
Let us be reborn in this stillness.