Thursday, March 31, 2011

Emily's Question

The first time I read Our Town was in high school. Even then it left a deep impression on me.

It goes like this...

Emily and George grow up in Grover's Corners, fall in love (it's a very sweet courtship), and are married. A few years after their wedding, Emily dies during childbirth leaving her son motherless and her husband without his sweetheart and partner in life. This scenario was probably common enough 100 years ago when this story takes place, but to someone actually living it, it's anything but common. The pain we experience from loss is unique to us and losing a loved one is never easy, never.

Emily crosses over and is among the dead in her town, including many that she knows. It is here that she asks if she can have just one more moment back, to relive a memory in her life on earth. Going back does not turn out how she expects. These are her words...

"I can't go on. It goes so fast. We don't have time to look at one another. I didn't realize. So all that was going on and we never noticed. Take me back--up the hill--to my grave. But first: Wait! One more look.

"Goodbye, goodbye, world. Goodybye, Grover's Corners...Mama and Papa. Goodbye to clocks ticking...and Mama's sunflowers. And food and coffee. And new-ironed dresses and hot baths...and sleeping and waking up. Oh, earth, you're too wonderful for anybody to realize you."

And then she asks this question...

"Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it?--every minute?"

The simplicity of Thorton Wilder's message has never left me, and from time to time Emily's question haunts me.

This is one of those times.

I received word yesterday that a dear friend of mine lost her husband unexpectedly. This friend and I worked together last year, which bonds people pretty tightly, especially in the teaching world. I ate lunch with her everyday, and felt like I knew her well--her stories, her struggles, her happiness--all that stuff you learn over a sack paper lunch.

It broke my heart to hear that this is her new reality. Of course I started to think about my own life and what I maybe don't realize, enjoy, and relish on a daily basis.

I am sort of obsessed with my husband. I love him more everyday and always strive to let him know this by telling him constantly and showing him in ways he appreciates. I still pinch myself that we found each other in the crazy sea out there and that he is mine forever. With that said, it can be hard to maintain the twitterpated nature of a relationship, especially in marriage when you see each other EVERY day, are comfortable with one another, pee in front of each other, etc. etc.

So here are some things I want to always remember and not take for granted. When I have a quiet moment, and I go to my special place, this is where I want to go...

The night he told me I was the only one he ever wanted to be with, ever. Sweetly and simply...he was done looking. We were gazing over the City of Angels on a balcony at the Getty. It was one of the most romantic moments of my life.

Going for a drive in April with snow in the mountains and lots of green rolling hills.

That Thanksgiving a few years back before any of my siblings were married. We spent it at Uncle Joe's between an incredibly comfortable sectional and a yummy smelling kitchen. Prepare meal, watch the game, repeat. It was the freshest weekend in the books.

The tear that rolled down my cheek as my sisters helped me put on my wedding dress. Me at my emotional peak.

That place between my husband's shoulder and neck that was custom made for my head.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Weekend Journal

This weekend involved lots of relaxing, our little one enjoying her new found skill, and a birthday celebration for a special grandpa.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Oh, the Places You'll Go!

I read this classic book to my students at the start of fourth term and asked them to write about the places they hope to go. My purpose was three fold:

1. Get my sweet seventh graders thinking about something other than the RIGHT NOW.

2. It's absolutely cliche to do such a thing. I think every teacher they have ever had has read this to them at the end of the school year. Sometimes cliche is good.

3. Ocassionally I love to get into their heads (I stress occasionally) and figure out what is really going on. Discovering their brilliance never gets old for me, and yep, I believe they all are capable of a little brilliance here and there. It's also entertainment for me and a little tender to read what they have to say about this topic.

As I was reading their darling little responses, I came across this one...

I want to...

Go throughout all of my school years ending up with a degree in orthodontics.

Become a proffesional volleyball player.

Get married in the temple to the man of my dreams (I teach in Utah, obviously).

Start a family.

Live my life to the fullest.

The optimism and innocence of this passage struck me and I became a little weepy eyed, which is by no means unusual. I cry over everything. But it got me thinking about my own "list" and the places I hoped I would go in my life. There have been many twists and turns I had not expected in this life of mine, which I'm sure every adult can relate to. Dr. Seuss warns about the dangers of The Waiting Place, which I'm afraid I spent too much time in. At times I even struggled with decisions I made and whether or not they were the right ones. But when I look at all of it, all that my life has become, I thank my lucky stars because the path I took brought me

to this man

and these amazing kids

I found my sweet husband a few years later than I had hoped and I never imagined I'd be a step mom, but there is not an inch of my life I don't love, even the icky-slippery-not-so-fun-stuff. Seriously, I love it all.

Oh, the places you'll go!