all the kids

all the kids

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Natural Habitat

The beauty of having no boundaries is that you think everything belongs to you. And I was reading that if you watch much Mr.Rogers, according to him, everything does belong to you.

I did Open House at my school where I'm a fake long term teacher, and stood amidst this swirling of parents and kids. The kids I had seen all day, and we had built the room to look nice and productive, and there they come popping in, one by one, the way kids do, in a rush, or laughing, or distracted, and every time I saw one of my 18 students, it was like Oscar night - look, another famous 3rd grader, famous from my class, the only one exactly like it on Earth.

It was funny to see the parents and family they dragged along with them, because as a parent I know these are the people doing the actual raising and loving and supporting these kids, but when they come in my class, it is like they are in MY arms now, and maybe because I have that no border thing as a mom but because they are with me all day, every weekday, they are mine. All sitting right there in front row seats in my mind.

At night after I put my own big babies to bed, I see them, I hear them, I think about tomorrow, and get myself organized for a productive day the next day. But it's not just the stuff we have to do and the teaching, it's the voices I hear and the faces I see, it's the art underneath the mechanics that of course I see. The whole person, growing people. All bubbling and distracting.

Then I read this thing about how Mr. Rogers thought we were all neighbors. Just right over there, and you might as well help your neighbor. Loving all people is natural.

And then my own family is at Open House, my dad and one of my moms, Barry, and my kids are running the cash registers at the book fair like we live in Ohio, in a small town. I'm at an age where I know having everything is temporary, and loving who is there with you, is the most alive and most fragile of all places. How many times in your life do you get your family and your work all mixed up and stacked together like a huge ice cream cone. My 18 kids. My 3 personal kids. My loaner kid friend of my son's who was there helping. My actual parents in adult bodies but who are still kids. It is pretty nice to have your dad take pictures of you and be proud of you when you are 50. Not much changes - from 5 to 50. Love is important. Ice cream is still good, too.

The Mr. Rogers thing was cool, because he said you never stop loving the people that die in your life. You don't get to keep them, but you get to keep the things they taught you that were important, and the times they made you feel important. You carry it with you.

I don't know how many more Open Houses I get. But I got this one.

Maybe all jobs are just a place to drape yourself and a background for where the love can come in and cover you like a gramma's lace shawl. I guess I can't believe how many layers there are to loving your life.