Getting ready to say sayonara to summer

byesummerI spent so much time waiting to grow up, and now that I’m here I wonder when I’m ever going to be offered naptime again. I’d started off this summer with a head full of ideas on how to keep the kids occupied with learning while giving myself time to write. It worked really well for a few weeks, but, just like going to gym, once the routine slips its hard to get back into it. The honest truth is that I found myself, after a month, too overwhelmed to do much of anything. The laundry, the heat, the allergy induced migraines,  and the constant affection required by my darlings helped me understand why parents put their kids in camp. It’s not just about space, but there’s a lot of guilt involved in being creatively paralyzed. Where does one go to escape the heat and crowds without spending?

Oh, the writing? Yeah, that hasn’t gone so well either.

That’s okay.

Life is about learning. I spent the summer learning about spending the summer with my kids. It hasn’t been horrible. It’s been a bit boring, and frustrating, but summer is kind of about lazing about, recharging batteries, and decompressing from the school year while preparing for the incredibly busy academic year looming in the weeks to come.

I’m reminded of something a nurse once told me in the hospital, “This is research.” It’s all research isn’t it? While my protagonist and her pals are busy taking their own vacations leaving me feeling blocked, I’ve been learning about what kids do when they’re bored, and the television isn’t there to rescue them. I’ve watched them become surgeons, and wizards. There was a coronation every day. Imagination transformed my house into an arena for dragon battles, and a ninja training school. My son read more than I’ve ever known him to read. The Little carried a notebook around, because she decided to be a writer ::swoon::.

There’s still a few more weeks left of vacation, which will be spent in various stages of trips, but I’m glad we took this time to breathe. Even though things didn’t happen the way I’d planned, and there were far more days spent inside than out, in the end I did get what I wanted all along. We’re closer now. We know each other better. The kids are bonded, and have spent long hours learning how to play together. We are more than family now. We’re friends.

I’m not sad to see summer go. I’m ready for the crisp Fall air and pumpkin spice everything. I’m ready for brand new pencils, and fresh paper. I think the kids are ready too. Well…maybe not just yet.

I’ll be ready in three weeks.

Sonnet 3, Meditation & The Emperor’s New Clothes– SOS

Sonnet 3

Look in thy glass and tell the face thou viewest
Now is the time that face should form another;
Whose fresh repair if now thou not renewest,
Thou dost beguile the world, unbless some mother.
For where is she so fair whose uneared womb
Disdains the tillage of thy husbandry?
Or who is he so fond will be the tomb
Of his self-love, to stop posterity?
Thou art thy mother’s glass and she in thee
Calls back the lovely April of her prime;
So thou through windows of thine age shalt see,
Despite of wrinkles, this thy golden time.
But if thou live, remembered not to be,
Die single and thine image dies with thee.

wordinventorShakespeare is obviously stuck on a theme for these sonnets. Last night’s sonnet was more about the benefits of having children, and the importance of ensuring that there is someone to carry on your beauty once age has taken your own away. We didn’t come up with a translation, since it’s pretty identical to the sonnet we read the night before.

However, the kids still had something to say about it:

Said the teenager: “I don’t think he’s talking as much about beauty, but I think he’s saying that this person should have babies so that his family has something to remember him by.”

Said the little: “He said the mother. It’s about love. He knows so much about love that’s why he wrote about it and put it in a book and selled it.”

Last night I asked my Facebook folk if they had any recommendations for a morning meditation to help focus and cleanse our minds, the way we are trying to clean our home to focus our summer camp planning later this week. My good friend, A, posted some great links about morning rituals, and her morning routine with her kids. She’s a great resource, because she recently started homeschooling her girls. So I decided to adopt her morning basket idea, and tweak it to my own devices.

This morning after breakfast, and once my coffee set in, we cleared out the living room, laid out a blanket, and chose a meditation from Youtube. It was an interesting one, about the fact that we exist, and that the state of “knowingness” stems from being firm in your own existence. It was hard for the little to sit still for 13 minutes, and the teenager told me he had a hard time keeping his eyes closed the whole time, but we got through it

Afterwards we read from my leather bound copy of Fairy Tales. We began with The Emperor’s New Clothes, and as we speak we are all taking some time to write about how this story applies to our lives, or just a story that relates.

For me, the meditation and the story were serendipitously linked. Being aware and confident of who you are is the only way to combat the Emperor’s New Clothes situations we are constantly besieged with on a day to day basis. What to wear, how to dress, the words we use– these can be seen as identifiers of who we are, what we know, and whether or not we are “fit” to hold the positions we have in life. As parents we can often struggle to guide our kids to think for themselves; resist peer pressure; make positive choices. How can we show them that they already know the answers? How can we teach them that within themselves they are able to find the strength to say, “But wait, he’s naked!” When the entire world around us seems to be marveling at how fine the fabric of illusions are?

I don’t have the answers, but I have my theories at least. I try to help my kids see that other people will try to define them, but the only one who knows the truth is them. I teach them that the things they are thinking and feeling are the only truths they can count on. Courage is in speaking those truths. Confidence is in knowing that speaking your own truth gives others the strength to speak their own. I’m excited to see what they’ve come up with.

If you’re interested in hearing what they’ve come up with don’t forget to follow my Tumblr where I’ll be sharing excerpts of what they’ve written. Click here to follow me on Tumblr.

As for the rest of today, we’ll be getting the house in tip top shape together, and then reflecting on how we feel once it’s over.

Check in tomorrow for Sonnet 4, and the Planning Day.

The Summer of Sonnets (S.O.S.) Begins

bitcheslovesonnetsWe began our Summer of Sonnets on Saturday with great fanfare. We cooked dinner together, and I printed out individual copies of Sonnet 1. We sat down at our usual spots while I read from my large leather bound Complete Works. To an audience of three I read:

From fairest creatures we desire increase,
That thereby beauty’s rose might never die,
But as the riper should by time decease,
His tender heir might bear his memory:
But thou, contracted to thine own bright eyes,
Feed’st thy light’s flame with self-substantial fuel,
Making a famine where abundance lies,
Thyself thy foe, to thy sweet self too cruel.
Thou that art now the world’s fresh ornament
And only herald to the gaudy spring,
Within thine own bud buriest thy content
And, tender churl, makest waste in niggarding.
Pity the world, or else this glutton be,
To eat the world’s due, by the grave and thee.

“So…what the heck does that mean?” I asked.

To my amazement they dug right in. They tried to extrapolate meaning from individual phrases, “I think ‘beauty’s rose might never die’ might mean not wanting that person’s beauty to go away.” My 13 year old sounded like he should be holding a PBR and wearing black framed glasses. Color me impressed.

I lead them quatrain by quatrain through the poem until we came up with this translation. “OMG you are so hot I wanna have like ten thousand of your babies.” Don’t judge, we’re doing Shakespeare at dinner, this fact alone is enough for me.

I asked the five-year old, “So would this work for you? Like a love poem?”

“Nope.” She said. “If somebody wants to marry me and they say this to me, I would not marry them.”

“Why?”

“Because I’m not going to marry someone just because they say things.” Translation- it’s going to take more than words to win me over.  +Parenting

“What will it take?” I asked.

“I only want to marry someone if I love them and that person loves me.” She said. “It’s like you and daddy. You liked him, and he liked you, and you agreed to get married. This is how I want to get married.” Translation–I want to get married because we’re both in love with each other. ++Parenting

Sonnet 2 was a little less planned. It was late, and we’d all had a lazy day. I’d made a hasty dinner of linguine with pesto far a jar, and some Costco chicken meatballs. We were trying to decide if we were going to even read before bed, when the little suddenly remembered, “We forgot the sonnet!” ::swoon::

I read this one from the book directly, and at first we had the same issue as the day before. No one knew what the heck we’d read:

When forty winters shall beseige thy brow,
And dig deep trenches in thy beauty’s field,
Thy youth’s proud livery, so gazed on now,
Will be a tatter’d weed, of small worth held:
Then being ask’d where all thy beauty lies,
Where all the treasure of thy lusty days;
To say, within thine own deep-sunken eyes,
Were an all-eating shame and thriftless praise.
How much more praise deserved thy beauty’s use,
If thou couldst answer ‘This fair child of mine
Shall sum my count and make my old excuse,’
Proving his beauty by succession thine!
This were to be new made when thou art old,
And see thy blood warm when thou feel’st it cold.

The little tried it first. “I think when it said ‘beauty lies’ it means that beautiful things aren’t true.” Yeah. She’s five. Wuuuut.

Line by line we went through it again, until we finally came up with this translation: “Dude, the only way to keep yourself from caring that you’re old and ugly is to have a kid to pass on your good looks.”

We all agreed that this was probably the worst way to woo any of us, but sounded more like a pair of dudes talking to each other.

Summer Camp Day 1 was supposed to begin today, but we learned that bringing in more stuff is impossible when there is nowhere to put it. The truth is that I think I did pretty well this year as a new mother of two, but I was nothing close to prepared for the whirlwind of end of the year concerts, club meetings, and culminating ceremonies that left me with lots of no time to clean. Today was the day to remove the papers we’d shoved in every open crevice, sort them and dispose of them. It was the time to remove all the clutter crammed in the bookshelves, and reveal the ::gasp:: books beneath them. We are exactly halfway through the cleaning today, so tomorrow will likely be more of the same. –Planning Ahead

Stay tuned for more of the Summer of Sonnets (S.O.S.), and the planning phases of our Summer Camp at Home.