Sunday, May 20, 2018

Out of Tune

Good Sunday evening. 

This is the blog that almost wasn't. I'm going to share some photos, say a few words about William Wordsworth's lovely sonnet "The World is Too Much With Us," & call it a day. I have not yet even begun to recover from the events of last week. There were many events. The events came one after another. I tried to handle it all with grace & dignity, but nonetheless there were some tears & occasionally some yelling. 

Monday was Field Day. While a variety of things happened, what my aging body recalls is heat. So much heat. Also, thirst.

Field Day --->

The first event of Tuesday: Reagan's end-of-year awards. Here she is pictured with her A Honor Roll Award & the cake pop she ate soon after receiving her award. 

(yes, she has a bruise on her chin from a Field Day incident . . . it's not food or anything)

I told her to smile after I snapped the first pic & this is what I got. In her defense, it was so early, & we were all still reeling from Field Day exhaustion. 

We jetted to Starbucks because I needed a huge bottle of water & a lot of coffee. Reagan perked up & gave me some more natural looks as she ate her twenty-carb cake pop that officially marked the end of her first grade year.

Reagan & I returned to school to join Henry at his end-of-year party. This is Henry with his friend Om. We love Om so much. Om's parents are from India. Earlier this year Om returned to India with his family while they sorted out some matters, one of which was obtaining dual citizenship for Mr. Om. Om's return to school after his prolonged absence was probably the highlight of Henry's life thus far. I don't know what the future holds for Om & his family, but I am so hopeful we'll see his face in the halls at school when August rolls around. Henry did not want to leave Om. It broke this mama's heart. 

(yes, Henry is a tall, solid boy . . . but don't pressure him because if he just wants to read & maybe be on the Chess Team, I am fine with that) 

This is Henry with his teacher, Mrs. Rachel. She is very cool & makes my job as Henry's mom harder because I seem super lame now. 

After Henry's party concluded, both of the kids were officially out for summer. We went home for a relaxing five minutes so Reagan & I could change clothes for Tuesday's second shift, which included Reagan's recital rehearsal & high school graduation. I dropped Reagan at the Civic Center & took Henry to my sister's house. I drove back to the Civic Center, where I sat until around 5:45 when Trey relieved me of my duties so I could grab some food & head to graduation. 

This is one of the only pics I took prior to graduation, before all the tears.  

These were taken after graduation. It looks like I aged a decade during graduation, but that's just what Pomp & Circumstance & all the flowing green robes do to me.

There was nothing *official* on the schedule for Wednesday, but there was work to be done. Unfortunately for the kids, while they were done with school, I still had some matters to settle. I spent a lot of time in my classroom Wednesday sniffling & boxing up my personal effects. I also spent a lot of time finalizing things online, submitting & printing grade rosters, & attending to a variety of other tedious things for which the kids had no patience. 

Thursday morning the kids & I returned to the school to tie up a few loose ends. The big event Thursday was Reagan's dress rehearsal. The kids & I were back at the Civic Center early in the afternoon to ensure Reagan was dressed, poised, & ready backstage in plenty of time. Because the Lord is kind & gracious, Mrs. Roberts, Reagan's first grade teacher, was backstage at Thursday's rehearsal (as well as Saturday's recital). Mrs. Roberts' daughter danced for many years, & being the giving person she is, Mrs. Roberts continues to support the dance studio. What this meant for me was that I felt comfortable running to Target for about an hour Thursday to get a few things we desperately needed (like toilet paper).

These are from dress rehearsal:

(I paid someone to get Reagan's hair in a bun Thursday & Saturday. It was $30 total, or $15 per bun. We just had to bring her brush & a ponytail holder; it was the best money I have ever spent)

The kids & I could have stayed home all day Friday. We did not stay home all day Friday, & I will tell you why. We didn't stay home Friday because I am the greatest aunt ever. Reagan & her cousin Maisie both had recitals this past weekend, but in what proved to be an unfortunate scheduling matter for our family, Maisie's recital was Friday evening & Reagan's recital was Saturday afternoon. 

I took these after Maisie's exciting dance debut Friday night. Maisie was legit on that stage:

My brother-in-law Heath took these below. I don't know if his phone is just way better than mine or if it was the better lighting outside, but obviously his pictures win. One of my many goals now that school is out is to finally print some pictures, so these are a great place to start. 

Saturday was Reagan's big day. Before I share some photos, let me say this. I don't know if she'll dance next year or not. I am going to leave it up to her. She's indicated she wants to play soccer, & I believe her piano lessons will continue, so we'll have to chat about all of this as a family.

Prior to recital week, I would have said Reagan & I were both certain she was done with dance after this year. I've had to drag her to class many Thursday afternoons. I do think we have both learned a lesson in perseverance this year. My parents always made me finish what I started, & I think that was an excellent call on their part. Finish the season, & then we can reevaluate where we stand before decisions about next year are made. The season finale for a dancer is a sight to behold. It is similar to watching graduates flock into an auditorium in their robes, their feet padding along softly to Pomp & Circumstance. Hard work (& tears) usually do pay dividends. 

The start to the week's second $15 bun:

Trey took the following . . . everyone takes better photos than I do: 

After I safely deposited Reagan backstage I took my seat in the auditorium. I snapped pictures of the roses I ordered her before they dimmed the lights because these are the prettiest roses I've ever seen; they sprinkled them with glitter! As you'll see momentarily, I selected these roses in particular  because I knew her final costume would be her ballet costume, thus she'd exit the auditorium in her ballet costume, which you'll note matches these roses. I am usually not on top of my game, & I can't get my daughter's hair in a bun, but I have my moments. 

Ballet routine: 

Post-recital merriment: 

Tiny dancer sporting her continuous glucose monitor. We are in negotiations for a commercial.

Above I've quoted a few lines of "The World is Too Much With Us." Here is the poem in its entirety:

I always recite this poem in my head when I am stressed over how busy we are. No, seriously. It wasn't until I taught British literature that I fully understood how completely stressed out the Romantic poets often were when they composed many of the lines we still read & study today. Between two political revolutions (the American & the French) & the Industrial Revolution that was rapidly changing the idyllic, pastoral life they championed & cherished, the Romantic poets had a lot of legitimate gripes. They couldn't cope with change, they had no healthy outlet like venting on social media, so they wrote lovely, compelling poetry.

The lines that are sometimes on repeat in my head are, "We lay waste our powers . . . we have given our hearts away . . . we are out of tune."

Since I am officially on summer break, I will not be thoroughly analyzing the sonnet. The thing about the Industrial Revolution is that while it was good & necessary, it forever altered life in both good & bad ways. Wordsworth & his fellow poets focused on the negative ways life was forever changed thanks to the introduction of the steam engine & the factory system & all of the other technology that fueled the revolution. People were spending less time in nature, & Wordsworth would have argued that in so doing, they were not simply losing time in nature, but losing a piece of themselves as time spent in quiet, contemplative thought dwindled.

We have given our hearts away. 
We are out of tune. 

This is exactly how I feel right now. I am exhausted. I am so tired I've not yet found the strength to be excited it is summer. At some point this week I will commence with the long list of goals I have for myself & the children (& our messy, disorganized house) this summer, but right now I am really proud of myself for sitting up in bed long enough to write this blog. In fact, I am honestly proud I got up & showered & we all made it to church this morning; staying in bed certainly crossed my mind. I had to take a nap after the recital yesterday in order to find the strength to bathe the children. Thirty-eight, y'all: she is coming for me.

I hope over the course of the summer & on into the next school year, a year that will look different than years past for our family, we will find the tune & reclaim the little pieces of ourselves we scatter haphazardly here & there as we flit from one activity to the next. At present we don't have a vacation planned this summer. We'll likely take the kids somewhere, but what I want most is to stay. at. home. As the trite saying goes, Home is where the heart is. I tend to dislike overused sayings like this, but in light of Wordsworth's thoughts, this one makes more sense. We have given our hearts away. In our haste to be everywhere & be all things to all people, we have given our hearts away.

Stay home. For a day, for a week, for a month. Whatever your family needs. Find your tune. Reclaim your heart; you need it & deserve it & so do your kids.

I'd love to tell you all about what I have planned for the blog over the summer, but there is nothing to tell. I am sure I'll have a few things to say. I may not continue to post weekly, & I may not continue to post on Sunday nights. I may write a book, or at least a big chunk of one. I may reread the Harry Potter series. Everything is up in the air; I feel so free in all areas of my life, & it is probably going to my head a little bit. The only things I know for certain are that I will NOT be enrolled in an online summer course, & I WILL be seeing the upcoming Jurassic World film that releases in June.  Tomorrow Henry has a dentist appointment to have cavities filled; I am sure that'll bring me back to earth.


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