Weekly thoughts: unrelated

It’s been an interesting couple of weeks over here at Carlson Central. We’ve had illness and a return to health on a few fronts. We’ve had battles of wills and pestilence and dust bunnies. I think I was the clear winner on the first two and the sore loser on the third. I just cannot reach far enough under the bed to really do a thorough job. That’s the truth. I’ve tried swiffers and vacuums cleaners and brooms with stuff tied to it. The last time I used some dusting spray stuff that assured me that the dust would be attracted like a magnet. That was a damned lie.

I can see the piled up dust under my bed every time I come up the steps. I feel like I have two options in this case, ignore it or buy a dust ruffle and forget it’s there.

I freaking hate dust ruffles.

It might be the word “ruffle.” I only like ruffles if they refer to potato chips. I freaking love potato chips.

This morning I put my oldest son on a city bus with explicit directions to get off at a certain street, turn right and walk one block to his school. Yesterday I rode with him, I tried to be sure to point out markers for him to follow, what to listen for on the speakers, words of wisdom. He assured me that it all sunk in. I asked if he wanted me to ride with him again today but he declined. 14 years old, too cool for school.

I was uneasy though so I told him I’d follow the bus today and make sure he got off at the right stop. Just for today. It’s his first time riding a city bus alone, give me a break. I’m entitled to be a little overprotective, right? So as I rode behind the bus I realized two things at the same time, my back right tire was low (again) which means the patch on it is coming loose and second, I didn’t have my cell phone with me. I thought, “I’m sure it’ll be ok…” and I just did like Elsa would do and I let it go. Mostly. I drove slowly, avoiding potholes so that the tire would hold up juuuuuust a little longer and I pulled up next to the bus at the stop Chet was meant to take.

I breathed a sweet sigh looking at his face through the window. He didn’t see me. I didn’t realize it was his stop in that moment because I was caught up in this feeling of letting go and such. He didn’t realize it was his stop either, apparently. When the bus and my car reached the expressway a few blocks later I was yelling in my car, alone, “GET OFF THE BUS! GET OFF THE BUS!” and scouring the stops to see where he’d finally exit. It was here that Chet did indeed find his way off the bus. I was stuck a few cars back, watched him dial his phone in a nearly calm manner and look around to get his bearings. I imagined my phone ringing back in my other coat at home. I considered whether to cut around some cars to reach him. I considered honking to get his attention and we sat there, hanging in the tension of that “what now” moment. I was close enough to see his brow furrow, to see him turning left and then right and I saw the moment melt from his face then when he spotted my car. He broke into a wide smile.

When he climbed into the car he said, “I missed my stop!” and then he laughed. “Were you worried?” I asked. He shook his head. “Nah. I’d have figured it out” and I believed him but I still drove him the four blocks to school because he’s my first boy and he’s a daydreamer and he’s growing up. It’s hard to let go. It really is.

Next week I do my first book reading at Parnassus Books in Nashville. It’s important I tell you this in case you’re not already subjected to my daily, maybe hourly harping on it on Twitter or Facebook. I’m an equal opportunity harper. If you’re local I hope you’ll come! You can find the info here:

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https://www.facebook.com/events/355481744600509/

That’s all I got for you fine people today…cling to each other well this week. Time is fleeting 🙂

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The more you know…

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On the way to school today, my youngest son Miles read every single billboard and street sign, offering a commentary on each one. He talked and read non stop. He’s wrapping up his last week of the third grade, his first year attending “real” school. He was a late reader due in part of our massively unstructured version of homeschool and in part to his unwillingness to WANT to read. Reading lessons with him were like pulling teeth- for us both. For this reason when he began school this year it was with great trepidation for us both.

I’d warned his teacher that he’d be coming in below level. I set the bar low but she didn’t believe me. Entering third grade he could barely decipher the world around him. When she tested him the first time she called me to say that I’d called it right. She was surprised but she was kind about it, not shaming him, not shaming me. We’re fortunate to have gotten this amazing talented teacher on our first roll of the real school dice. Within one school year he was able to find that sweet spot of learning and then something clicked in him and suddenly he was reading.

His teacher gave me his Spring results this week, he clocked in at the 85th percentile. We high-fived each other. I thanked her for her hard work but she thanked Miles. “It was his work” she said and she was right about that. He worked hard for this, not even knowing what the world would look like once he could read. I hadn’t realized that for him, the goal felt strange and intangible, it was a goal he was not even sure he wanted, like being offered food that looks weird when you’re not hungry at all.

This morning after he read out all the street signs and billboards and before he jumped out of the car to run to line up for class I asked him, “Do you remember what it was like before you could read? It wasn’t that long ago.” He marveled at the question, saying that it was hard to remember. It felt to him as though he could always read. But he did remember how he felt; he remembered the jumble of foreign looking symbols all around him, he remembered the headaches that came from puzzling through them, he remembered the frustration and the anger and confusion. “The more I read, the more natural it is and there are WORDS everywhere. It’s amazing.”

I was struck by how often I take that for granted, that there are words everywhere and I can decipher them, be a part of the ongoing communication they offer and because of that I can enter into the larger world…and it is amazing.