"Please Come Back to Blogging" was the title of the email. At first glance I thought perhaps a publisher had stumbled across my poor neglected blog and was going to offer me a ridiculously fantasical amount of money if I would only grace the blogging world with my uber-important cyber-presence. Acclaim. Recognition. Fame.
It was my best friend, which in terms of publishing, translates to something equivalent to my mother. She loves everything I do.
"And I'm following you," she wrote. "See? You already have 1 follower."
There you have it, folks. I'm on my way.
(And since she is a follower - my one and only- I will be sure to catch it when she reads that I equate her compliments to that of my mom.)
Not that she's not important. Not that I don't appreciate her admiration. Not that I don't absolutely respect and value her feedback, but I've tried coming back to blogging. It didn't work. I think the date of my last post can attest to that. And so I asked her, "How?"
"Like this," she replied. "You think of something that happened throughout the day...and just share your thoughts about it. It doesn't have to be spectacular. It doesn't have to be funny. It just has to be YOU."
She makes it sound so easy.
So, here is my attempt at being me...again.
I got a phone call the other day from my youngest child's teacher. She said my Baby - sweet, luscious, crazy adorable Baby - was having a really bad day at school. She said she wasn't listening. And when she tried to correct her, Baby said sometimes her brain just can't listen.
Granted, Baby is in Pre-K. It is her first year at school and she is a rather...ahem...energetic child. But I've never had a teacher call about one of my children. What did this mean?? What was I supposed to do?? Is it a sign of things to come? Was this phone call from the Pre-K teacher the first in a series of many troubling phone calls? Who would be next? The principal? The FBI? The (gasp!) video-rental store???
"Yes, Ms. Supermom, this is a courtesy call from Blockbuster. Baby rented "Dora Saves the Mermaids" twenty-one years ago and failed to return it. You are responsible for the ten gajillion dollars in late fees on this account. Please pay the fees as soon as possible or we will have to revoke your membership. If she had only listened to her Pre-K teacher..."
You see where this is going, right?
And you should probably know that this wasn't Baby's first reprimand for her inability to "listen". When little Pre-K-ers have a good day at school, the teacher draws in a happy face for that day on the calendar in their bright yellow folders. About every other week Baby comes home with a note in her little folder and a straight line face. You know, that face in between frowny and smiley that somehow doesn't feel quite as merciful as I am sure the teacher intends it to be. It seems to be gritting it's teeth behind that straight line mouth, saying, "Your kid is driving me CRAZY. Do something!"
So, now the teacher has resorted to a phone call. This is serious.
I listened to her explaining Baby's offense to me and my mind was racing for the appropriate response. While I can fully appreciate her position - because, after all, I do live with the child - and I want to give the teacher my whole-hearted support, I had never been faced with this particular set of circumstances before. Was I supposed to go to the school and march her home for the beating of her life, or should I apologize profusely over the phone and promise to throw all of Baby's toys out in the street? Neither one of those seemed quite right. Fortunately, the teacher let me off the hook.
"Baby's standing right here. Would you like to talk to her?"
"Yes, please." A long silence. "Hello?" I ask the silence.
"Hello," replied the tiniest voice ever.
"Honey, what's the problem?"
Baby then went into a long explanation, most of which I didn't understand because she was obviously very emotional and trying hard not to show it. From what I could gather, I believe it had something to do with singing during rest time.
I already knew the answer to the question, but I asked her anyway, "Baby, do you like going to school?"
"Do you want me to come get you and bring you home?"
"Then you need to listen and act like a big kid." And then I went into the speech about it not being fair to the teacher or the other kids when teacher has to stop class to get on to her, blah, blah, blah. And I felt the need to tack on the obligatory parental statement of confirmation, just to say I did my part: "Do I make myself clear?"
When I heard her sad, little voice and the shame she felt for letting me and her teacher and her classmates down, all I wanted to do was rush over, pick her up and hold her until Pre-K was over. "Baby," I said, wanting to cry myself, "you are a good girl. Mommy loves you so much."
"I love you, too."
And then she put the teacher back on the phone. I thanked the teacher for her patience and asked her to keep me posted. And I spend the rest of the day worrying, not about Baby's behavior, but about her feelings. Baby is the most expressive, most sensitive, most lovable child I've ever known. Yet in her excitement, she can be maddening. Not that she doesn't care about what you're saying, she just loves life, and at times, does not want to be interrupted by duty or obligation. It's not that she wanted to disrupt rest time, or take anything away from her teacher, she just loves to sing. Maybe, from the outside, it looks like I am dismissing a behavior problem. And in truth, maybe I am. But isn't it good, for everyone, to have someone in your corner? To be loved not for what you do or how you behave, but because someone out there gets you, and is willing to look beyond to the heart of what you're all about?
Kinda like my mom, or my best friend, who love what I write, even if it's not necessarily Pulitzer winning material.
When Baby came home that day, she said she had a surprise for me. She handed me her yellow folder, and when I opened it to the calendar, she had a bright orange smiley face for the day. After I gave her the squeeziest hug ever and kissed her bubble gum cheeks, she ran off singing at the top of her lungs.
Music to my ears.