Morning lessons at school 

She sits in the corner, staring at the toys.  Her classmates are where they’re supposed to be — sitting on the mat. The older kids are answering a deluge of questions about Moses. And though she’s part of the older group, she ignores them. “Mommy,  I want picture…” 

I have to wonder if this is normal. Does she tune out the classroom activities – ignore the lessons in favor of escaping into her own mind? 

The teacher says she is disengaged, and even with proximity to the board and teacher, she is only minimally participating. An aide works with her one on one and sometimes this produces a complete work product, but most of the time, her work is a series of scribbles that demonstrate little understanding of the objective. She is also quick to start, often before directives are given. It’s a race to do, even when what she does has no purpose. 

Is it to soon to worry?


​I watch my thirteen year old daughter watching this election cycle. I see her cringe at the news reports, at the sound bites. I hear her awkwardly laugh at memes that tell more truth than the news (akin to editorial cartoons of our Sunday papers). 

As though there haven’t been enough controversies from both the Democrats and the GOP candidates, new shockers appear daily.  Clinton’s e-mails. Bengahzi. The Clinton Foundation. The liberal agenda. Media bias. Trump’s mocking of the disabled, of PTSD sufferers, of women. Talk of building walls and deporting them all. Blacks and Hispanics live in hell… what have they got to lose in voting? Stop and frisk. Taxes, anyone? And the latest –“grab them by the pussy” hot mic bravado.

Two other folks are on the ballot. Their candidacies are likely to pull votes from donkies and elephants.  It seems like the voters are the jackasses that forgot they’re never supposed to forget.

I wonder how she’ll feel waking up on Nov. 9 when the votes are tallied. Will she be proud of us for voting our conscience, voting for humanity, for decency, for her future? Will she question her neighbors who chanted support for hate and allowed this mockery of democracy to fester? Will she – will any of my kids (or students) see this historical election and vow to change the process before 2020?  

It’s more than just the first woman to claim a national party candidacy. It’s more than a millionaire with no political record running (Ross Perot did that, too, though without a major polital party backing him). This election result could change America. This election could destroy us.

We’re living in a reality TV show that desperately needs network cancellation. Or, at the very least, a better script.

Thank you, Ms. Medina

Our county held a book festival today. It was the first I’ve been to, and I truly hope it isn’t the last. The roster of presenters included Newberry Award winning authors and other amazing writers and illustrators who talked about the process of publishing, generating ideas, and about the power of voice.
Aside from encouraging reading, the event was meant to spark a desire to write.

We didn’t get to stay long, but I totally appreciated watching my kids select their two books from the fair.  They took the task serious.

And Ri found herself smitten with a number of beautifully illustrated books.

We met author Meg Medina and she paused for a few minutes to hug the princess, take a picture, and personalize a copy of her book. 

Simply awesome.  She definitely didn’t have to, considering she’d just met with 50 plus people anxiously awaiting her attention and she was minutes away from a second presentation when we finally got to her.  But she made the kids feel special — like there was nothing more important than greeting them.  Such a beautiful spirit!  

Wade in the water

Ri came home talking about Elijah. I think he’s a classmate. But seeing that her school has abandoned the moderate ABeka and fully committed to ACE (Accelerated Christian Education), it’s quite probable that she’s referencing a biblical figure.

She’s in the car seranading me with Wade In the Water – or, rather, with what she remembers of the chorus.  You see, Ri thinks it’s about a pool or a puddle. It’s been raining, so it’s only natural that someone is wading water, right?  

I turn off the stereo and start to sing along. Wade in the water. Wade in the water, children. Wade in the water. God’s gonna trouble the water. I *think* that’s how it goes. Ri chimes in. She actually lets our duet happen instead of chastising and commanding  (“No mom. Not you.”)

We repeat the chorus, but the second time I finish “Wade in the water. God’s gonna trouble the water.” she looks at me through the rearview mirror concerned. 

“God’s in trouble?” She inquires. 

Clearly it is unfathomable that He could have been naughty.  I can’t think for a minute on the best way to clarify, but assure her that no, God is not in trouble. 

At this point I’m wondering if trouble is even in the lyrics. It’s a slave hymn, afterall, meant as a lesson on escaping detection while heading to freedom. I vow to look up the words.

“God’s not in trouble, he’s splashing water while swimming.” 

She accepts this and resumes singing. Swim in the water. Swimming in the water. Swim in the water. Over an over she repeats until I  park in our driveway.


Friday is four days away. As I sit in front of the daycare contemplating the 12:01am check that funds are deposited, I feel that too-familiar wrenching of my stomach. I know there’s not enough money coming in for what has to go out. The reality is that everything is due and no entity collecting is willing to wait. 

School fees are due for both littles by tomorrow. The penalty is steep – added fees and possible disenrollment for one, no admittance on Wednesday for the other.  And I could lament about my usually good on gas truck suddenly guzzling the gallons. MY please just don’t hit empty until after I get all my kids home prayer is ineffective when I’m unable to scrounge up a few bills to make stopping the car at the gas pump worth it. 

I’m not in class this quarter. Three thousand dollars wasnt available for class tuition.  And because I’ve failed myself in this degree pursuit, the reminders of my inadequate school performance haunt me. I mean since when does my student flaunt a bright yellow SCAD shirt? Why is the school suddenly sending recruitors to my job? And why, why, why does everything in my being want desperately to be complaining about a work load instead of finding endless time to waste.  

The taxes are due on both vehicles (as they are every October). Folks are going gaga over pumpkin lattes and I’m preparing for the annual child support fees they’ll pull out of my already-thin monthly “aid” while sipping on pilfered dregs from my dad’s past hotel stays. 

I’m pretty sure that the kids really wanted those $30 spirit wear shirts. And the fundraiser that the school highly encourages each child to sell 15 items for seems laughable. I splurged on school photos believing that $15 was reasonable (I hardly print what I shoot, and discs of memories kinda suck). But somewhere in the many support this endeavors, I have to stop the expenses.

I definitely don’t want to have yet another year of additional work responsibility to garnish a supplemental wage. They didnt make it easy to say no, though, as my “raise” this year is a negative showing on my paycheck. So what am I to do?

In between

There’s this indiscribable emptiness I feel when classes break at the end of the quarter. 

After a year of classes – 10 credits that demand far more than 10 hours a week each quarter – I no longer know how to be productive with time. Time is a luxury I crave during my coursework.  I never seem to have enough, never budget what I do have correctly, and  never finish. 

My grades are mediocre at best, crappy when juxtaposed with those of yesteryear. I have ambitions, but I’m not ambitious anymore. The contradiction. The hypocrisy. 

I envy the drive my daughter shows. She carts her sketchbook everywhere. She draws with every free moment. And as a result, she grows her skills daily. I think i once was like that with something. 

And now, when I hold Cam, he feels foreign in my hands. He no longer knows my desires, doesn’t share my vision. We’ve become distant, and that divide is growing. 

I’m counting days until I’m stressed with assignments. I’m dreading being shown again that this course of study isn’t natural – that I have to work twice as hard to be half as good as my classmates. I’m in between the dream and reality. 

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