Before turning out the lights and passing out, I got a bit effusive on social media, and posted to my FB wall, "I love our community... schools and teachers, peers, neighbors, the locals we see around town. Life is very good here." It was inspired, in part, by this moment at Maria's school, and countless others like it. It was inspired by coming home from a long day, feeling deeply grateful, so that without explanation, or particulars, I simply had to say it, something, aloud, to put it out there. I wanted to single out each friend, each classmate, every teacher, and classified employee, all the families and volunteers, mentors, and acquaintances we cross paths with... in our community, at Maria's school, at Max's school, at Alex's school, in markets, at that cafe Geoff loves so much. It may have something to do with staying in one place long enough to develop relationships, make connections, and become familiar with familiar faces. It may have something to do with being in an especially warm and generous neighborhood, and town, with exceptional people. I cannot literally single out each and every individual, but I think people will know... and I hope they know that I am thinking of them, and feeling happy to know them, to share in the experience of consideration, kindness, generosity, support, caring, and dedication that we enjoy in this town.
My friend, Stacy, commented on my post, "Indeed. Did something extra wonderful happen today to inspire this post?" And the answer is, "Yes." It was the open house at Maria's school, the culmination of study and effort from our children, the patience and dedication of their teachers, the support and extra contributions of the volunteers, and families. Every fifth grader chose a person in American history to portray in a museum of their own creating, where they shared all they'd learned, and made. It was fantastic, those presentations, and their earnestness, diligence, tenacity. It was about seeing a school and classrooms overflowing with children I admire and respect, teachers I appreciate for the extra measures and thoughtful efforts they extend to those students, the families that I've come to know as friends, as a part of a greater network, a caring safety net. It was about feeling part of something good, and realizing that it extends to so much of our lives here, in places all over our community. The wonderful thing that happened was that I was reminded that we are part of a beautiful, safe, creative, caring, invested, compassionate community.
I am savoring the details from last night, like how much I learned about great people in American history, how deeply touched I was to see everyone's displays and presentations appreciated by the parents, by siblings, and other schoolmates. I love the new art Maria's teacher framed and hung, how beautifully and thoughtfully their self portraits were developed and displayed... it reflected not just the talents and beauty of those students, but the caring and respect of their teacher. I love that once again Maria was eager to visit the next grade classroom, to look for her friends' work, to meet sixth grade teachers, and eagerly anticipate next year. I love that she saw and greeted teachers from past years, that she fell asleep talking to me, saying, "I know I am lucky, and I'm so grateful." She feels it, too... that happy realization that she is surrounded and supported by a lot of good people, and I think it's wonderful that she knows it is special.
We click like, or tag friends, because we want them to know we appreciate them, or agree with them, that we want them to know, "I'm here and thinking of you." I'd like to tag everyone I care about, everyone I wave to, or share a moment with, the cashiers at the markets I visit, the woman who makes me hot chocolate, the friends who I could call for a ride, or soup, or sympathy, the dad last night who leaned in closer to catch every word from the child speaking as Emily Dickinson, or William Clark, the friends who lent a dress, or shared their flowers, the brothers who said encouraging things, and stayed up late to lend a hand. I would tag the mentors and students in St Louis, FIRST 2102 Team Paradox, shout-out to them and share in their elation and success, the challenges they meet. And, you, too, when you've clicked like, or left a comment... I know this local community extends far and wide, across town, across the country, abroad. Thank you. I am lucky and so grateful.
I had no idea. Gelato. Did you know? Robin and James tried to make it clear to me, and Max, Alex, and Maria confirmed it... that Gelato Gaia is the step above and beyond ice cream. It is sumptuous taste goodness. But until we went out to celebrate Egg Drop Day, and the awesomeness of Box of Noodles and Bounce Missile, I had no idea. I sampled the Belgian chocolate, and no surprise, it was super yummy. But I resolved to refrain. Most of my life I've confronted frozen treats with the utterance... "Nah. It's too cold (hot, late, early, bright, dark) for ice cream." Then Geoff gave me a taste of pistachio and all of my defenses fell, shattered. You guys! Pistachio gelato. Gaia Gelato! This discovery is the end of my blog. I have to quit writing and photography to take up running, and aerobics, and also get a real, paying job. Ok, maybe that's a bit desperate, but for sure this was a game changer in my relationship with frozen desserts!
I tell Geoff, "I'm 3D printing," because he's into that. And layer by layer, with hook and yarn, I am building something. The trouble is I don't have colors I am convinced of, in love with, so I've frogged almost as much as I have printed. And that is frustrating. In my alternate universe I have sponsors and patrons, and publishing deals, and every color of the best yarns, so I can be greedy and amused and make shawls and shawls and shawls. In the mean time, crocheting, even when I decide to pull something apart, still makes me happy, calm, safe, thankful, mindful, content.
Maria, with her Bounce Missile, and Emma with her Box Noodles, are ready to face the Fifth Grade Egg Drop Challenge! Maria has anticipated this event since first grade. For the first round, eggs in their protective cases will be dropped from the top of the school library. All the survivors will move on to the highly anticipated 100' ladder truck drop, when our fire department brings in the big truck, and drops the egg capsules from the top of the extended ladder! It's quite a scene! Not only does the egg have to survive the fall in something made by the fifth grader, but as soon as the object lands, the student has 30 seconds to open the capsule to prove the egg survived. We hosted a small make club event, so we could facilitate some design and construction. Sarah and Amira were on hand for company and cheering. Maria capped her missile with a volley ball, so that it bounces, absorbing the shock of the landing. Inside her tube, the egg is lovingly swaddled in bubble wrap. Emma envisioned a bouncy cube, and she drilled holes to string yards of pneumatic tubing through... she loves using the power drill! Both eggs survived an approximately 30' drop onto asphalt. We're looking forward to the main event!