Wednesday, September 24, 2014
lessons from a little yellow leaf
I am determined to start this blog post with a metaphor, but bear with me as I've just finished three hours of night class and my mind is still swimming somewhere between John Dewey and David Hawkins. You see, this summer, I was standing in the sunshine, staring at this wonderful, powerful, all consuming river before me. And though I was comfortable, content, and happy with my feet on the safe, solid ground where I was, I knew that all too soon, it was time to jump in. I could it see it right in front of me, and could feel the rush of diving in and letting it engulf me. It was inevitable, and I knew it would take all my strength and determination to keep afloat and not let it completely swallow me up. I was hesitant to jump in, content where I was and leery of my ability to make it to the other side, but at the same time, I was ready to dive in because I knew what awaited me on the other side. It was new ground, new territory, and the satisfaction I would feel climbing out of that water, dripping wet and exhausted, would be completely worth every kick and every breath it would take to cross. I knew I would climb out a better version of myself, tired, refreshed, and full of perspective.
Well, I'm in that river, folks, and I'm treading water like it's nobody's business. The other side, aka, December, is there, I can see it, but the distance seems vast. I'm afraid I bit off a little more than I can chew this semester and every day seems like a marathon in itself. But you know, every now and then, I'm astounded by these little gifts of perspective, these little reminders that seasons change and people grow. Like those first yellow leaves you spot on the sidewalk in the middle of all the green ones.
The other day, I had a bad parenting moment. Beau laughs that I made a big deal of it at all, but to me it was a big deal. Cruz's preschool class is studying colors and his teacher had written a reminder note by the door requesting we help our child find something yellow to bring and show their friends. Doing color weeks myself at home, I loved this idea and looked forward to going on a color scavenger hunt with Cruz, encouraging him to bring something that not only represented the color yellow, but expressed his interests and personality here at home. I couldn't wait to see what he chose.
Unfortunately, life got in the way the next morning and I completely forgot about Cruz's very first homework assignment. And the only reason I remembered was because Cruz himself remembered on the way to school and started sobbing when he realized he had nothing to show his teacher. I was devastated for him, disappointed in myself for forgetting something important to him, and started wracking my brain with ways to fix my mistake. I made plans in my head to explain to his teacher that we would bring his yellow things the following day and attempted to think of ways to make it up to him.
I unbuckled Cruz from his car seat, wiped his tears, and began to make our way to his classroom, feeling defeated before even starting the day. That is, until my little boy swooped in and saved it right from under me.
"Mommy! I found something yellow! My teacher is going to love this!"
Cruz squealed as he unlocked his hand from mine and bent down to pick up the perfectly yellow leaf that lay on the sidewalk by the entrance to school. A little gift, perfectly placed there just for us, yet my three year old was the only one who noticed it. Here I was, wallowing away in my own self-pity and mistakes, too busy to notice the perspective that lay there right in front of me. Cruz practically skipped to his classroom, walking in with his head held higher than I've seen all year, so very excited to present Ms. Dana with his little yellow leaf. She told him this was exactly her intention for the assignment, that students would begin to see the color that exists in the world around them.
It was the best homework assignment I've had all semester.
I smiled all day, completely astounded by the wisdom and beautiful perspective of these little people in our lives. That afternoon when I picked up Cruz, his teacher told me that Cruz's leaf sparked quite the learning experience for his peers, as they were all noticing and all picking up the little yellow leaves around them.
So, I swim, I tread, I breathe. And I'm stretching and growing and feeling challenged, in my doc classes, through this buying and selling and building process, and most of all, through the perspective of my best little teacher. And, of course, that little yellow leaf.