Friday, May 14, 2010

book chat - Crow Call

I've been reading Crow Call by Lois Lowrey to my students, because it's a great example of a personal narrative. The absolute best thing about being a librarian is reading great books aloud. I love when an author has given you something amazing to perform. Crow Call is like this. You do not just read this story, you perform the part. I feel like taking a bow at the end of this book. The vocabulary is advanced and intricately woven. This is not a read a loud for the young, this is for older students, 4th and 5th graders.

Crow Call is about a day Lois Lowery spent with her dad soon after he got home from the war. I would guess that she was about ten years old at the time. He is a stranger to her and she feels self conscious calling him daddy. He buys her an overgrown men's hunting shirt, because it is rainbow colored and she really wanted it. Then he takes her out for breakfast where they eat pie and joke around. The mood changes when they set out for the real reason for the trip. Hunting crows that have been eating their crops.

"I want to scamper ahead of him like a puppy, kicking the dead leaves and reaching the unknown places first, but there is an uneasy feeling along the edge of my back at the thought of walking in front of someone who is a hunter"

She is torn between the fear of hunting and the fear of disappointing her dad.

When the crows come out in response to the crow call, she becomes wrapped up in the delight of being a bird.

"Listen, Daddy! Do you hear them? They think I'm their friend! Maybe their baby, all grown up!"

Of course, her dad doesn't shoot the birds. How could he?

"I feel there is no need to say thank you - Daddy knows this already. The crows will always be there and they will always eat the crops; and some other morning, on some other hill, a hunter, maybe not my daddy, will take aim."

This story has inspired me to write my own personal narrative. Something from the long past. I don't know what it will be yet, but I'm going to keep Crow Call close for inspiration.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

problem, not a problem

My work inspires me to write, it also takes up a lot of my writing time. This is a problem and a not-problem.
9:08 AM May 7th via Twitta

I said this. I'm lucky to do the kind of work I do. Work that pays well enough, and encourages me. It also takes up my time. And it distracts me from my family.
Speaking of distraction....this has been a crappy week. We are still kind of reeling from this, and then this happened:

Our dogie is home safe. We got so lucky.
3:24 PM May 10th via Twitta
Our dog is found!!!
9:01 AM May 10th via Twitta
I keep hoping I will find her hiding in my closet.
7:15 PM May 9th via Twitta
It just went from zero to blame in like 5 minutes.
6:41 PM May 9th via Twitta
I think we might have lost our dog. I feel so careless and horrible. I hope she comes home soon!
6:04 PM May 9th via Twitta

I let you read it backwards so you would know ahead of time to expect a happy ending. Yes, we lost our dog. It took us about seven hours to realize she was missing. This is like the opposite of paying attention.

This life has been such a huge distraction.

I was at school until 8:00 last night trying to get an important project done. I didn't get to see Ramona before she went to bed.

I haven't had time to write about the things I really want to write about. I haven't had time to take the breaths that I really want to take. I haven't had time. But at least I know I want to. Right?

The bad thing about all of it is that I know better. I know this is what I have to work with. I know there isn't some better, more manageable life around the corner. I know this is me. The mom that sometimes is working too late to see her child, the person who lets her dog go missing for seven hours before realizing she is gone, the woman who has been washing her clothes one outfit at a time all week. This is me,this is me right now.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

happy birthday, beautiful

Ramona's birthday didn't go as planned. I was going to spend the evening before her birthday reminiscing about her birth and getting ready for her big one year old birthday party. I was going to write a post about the day she was born. I was going to write a post about her fun party.

What happened is that we got sick with a horrible stomach bug. All three of us, and then some. We had to cancel her party.

But I still did a lot of reminiscing. As I went to bed the night before her birthday, I thought, "this time last year I thought she would never come". I went into labor with Ramona with a bang at midnight. From nothing, to two contractions and then broken water. By 6:17 am we had our little girl. I will never forget the moment she was put in my arms. I felt choked. I couldn't squeeze out words. I held a sob in my body. At that moment, holding Ramona, I felt there was no difference between mother and daughter. I felt like I had been born enumerable times. And I felt shock at seeing Ramona again. I felt certain that I knew her, like I knew myself, like I knew nothing.

I've felt a lot of other things in the last year, things less pure than that. Things muddied by life and expectation. But that moment. That moment of holding out my arms, and getting back myself. That moment I will think of in my last breath.

I was disappointed that we had to cancel her party and were too worn out from our illness to make her first birthday very special. We took advantage of the fact that she's one and had no idea that a fuss should be made. That evening I decided to make her a special birthday dinner. Not some crappy baby food, but a real meal. Scrambled eggs, toast, and banana.

I'm going to just cut to the chase and tell you that we discovered that night that Ramona is allergic to egg. We had to rush her to the doctor. Ramona is fine, it was as small of a deal as a big deal can be. But the limitless possibility is what scared me, and still scares me. As we were rushing to help, I was trying to determine how bad this really was. Could she breathe? Was her silence a bad sign? Am I going to lose her in this seven minute car ride?

Friends, my child didn't come close to that. But my mind went there. My brain eeked out, screamed out the words, "Are we going to lose her?"

Today, my baby girl, Ramona Maple, is one year and 3 days old. She walks beautifully and doesn't say a single word. She speaks her own cute language of strung together syllables. She is willful, but sweet. She loves jokes and dancing. And I feel never-endingly fortunate to be her mama.
Happy Birthday, Beautiful.