Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Remember when you were little, in particular, the elementary school years; remember that first day of summer break?  The whole world was ripe with possibilities; the air pregnant with days hanging upon endless days of potential adventure.  You could taste the freedom; the earth seemed to give off the smell of it.  It was palpable, tactile.  The world thrummed to the beat of it. 

I’m having that same experience today.  I got up, the kids are still sleeping, and had no pending obligations (no papers or tests on the near horizon, no reading that I should be doing).  All at once, I wanted to take a nap (because I could), read a fluff book (but I haven’t been to the library for fun in a few months), write letters, scrapbook, paint something (not a room, but something completely frivolous like a canvas), sit on my porch and do nothing but drink a cup of coffee.  And I couldn’t decide, because at this point, they were all viable possibilities.  The openness, the unfettered days of summer stretching out before me, tantalizingly spacious.

It is intoxicating.  No, literally.  I get this way every year: actually intoxicated with the possibilities that summer holds.  I make grandiose plans fully intending to see each one through.  It’s headier than the New Year for me.  I have a “this-is-the-summer-I-will-[fill in the blank]” condition.  And it’s chronic.

Last summer was the “I-will-teach-the-children-Spanish-and-how-to-play-the-piano” summer.  Granted, in order to teach them Spanish, I would first have to learn myself.  And I was forced to admit, (I humbly apologize, Mrs. Curtis) that I could only read the treble clef, after much line and space counting.  So a basic C scale was all we learned last year.  But we did spend a week with my family on the beach in North Carolina.   And we camped a few times, attended the Renaissance Festival, caught a few Rockies games, and took in the DCI tournament at Invesco Field.  So while the summer was hardly a bust, I am aching to plan this year’s activities.

After heeding the multiple warnings from the school and experts, I have vowed to do some form of math, reading, and writing with the kids every day.  We wouldn’t want the children losing 20% of their knowledge base in 3 short months!  We will go to the library once a week, hit the Denver Art Museum once a month, concoct science projects, seek out classical concerts.  We will find somewhere that lets 5 year-olds volunteer and do something that will make a difference.   Instead of Spanish, since I’m diving in next term, I think this would be a great time for the family to learn Greek (my husband who is years ahead, can teach us simple songs and vocabulary; though I have yet to run this plan by him).  Of course, there’s still the piano sitting unused in the living room, aching for someone to play.  (And studies show that children who play music perform better in math and science; so not teaching them piano might actually be detrimental.)   

Or, we could sleep in every day.  Hit the pool, take some bike rides.  Do art projects, spend more time getting to know God, each other, and our neighbors, find little ways of making this world a nicer place to live.  Hike, camp, fish.  Relax.  Follow each day wherever it takes us.  We read daily anyway; and math is everywhere.  Instead of a perfectly planned couple of weeks, we could have another summer filled with new experiences that lead to memories, laughter, friends, and family.

Maybe for me, this-is-the-summer-I-…quit expecting too much.

What about you?       

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Ding-dong...he is dead.

Osama bin Laden.  Is.  Dead. 

Nine years, seven months, and twenty-one days after the attacks made on American soil, targeting American civilians.  Osama bin Laden is dead. 

For my generation, this name was the name with which we equated evil.  The Ace of Spades.  This man, the man behind 9-11-01, is now dead.  At the hands of Americans soldiers.  This which we vowed, a decade ago; revenge: blood for blood.      

I hardly count myself among the war-mongers; those who tout rockets as diplomatic measure.  Yet, I can hardly forget that morning, almost a decade ago.  I was living on a military installation at the time; and my aunt frequently flew the American Airlines route to Dulles airport.  It was her “all is well” call that alerted us (we were on Alaskan time) to the tragedy.  My then-military husband and I watched, live, as the towers fell.  I was numb as he packed his ruck sack, kissed my head, and said, “I’d better go ahead and go in early today.  Don’t know when I’ll be back.  I love you.”  And he, like so many others, left; clad in combat boots and BDU’s.  Fighters were scrambled, gates were locked.  America was under attack.  On her soil.  Against her people.  Innocents had perished.  Men waited, impotent to stop the battle that targeted those whom they vowed to protect.   

And her civilians did what they could think of.  They crowded churches, flooded recruiters’ offices, volunteered to donate blood; locals rushed to the scene, aching to help. 

How old were you?  What were you doing, when the world stopped?  Two generations before, young men and women lied about their ages to avenge the deaths of mere soldiers.  It is rumored, that after bombing a military target, a Japanese Admiral said “I fear we have only woken a slumbering giant.”  Yet, in the 2000’s, we took 11 days.  11 days until the stock markets returned to their pre-attack numbers.  11 days for the fervor of patriotism to pass.  11 days before her citizens decided this was too “imperialistic.”  Let us bury our dead, and go back to our anesthetized lives; our self-centered, over-indulged existence.  Let us not think about the pain.  Let us not replay the traumatic images.  Let’s move one.  Let’s forget.      

But we have not forgotten.  Our military forces, who along with their families have paid the ultimate sacrifice, have persisted.  And we have conquered our foe.  We have announced to the watching world that no matter how long it takes, America will prevail.  She will remember her fallen.  They will not have died in vain.   

 And so, whether pacifist or imperialist, I urge you to remember.  Remember who and where you were on September 11, 2001.  Remember those who, then and in the interim, have given their lives to this cause.  Remember that women who burn dinners under bin Laden’s regime are themselves burned and left for dead.  That boys not yet old enough to taste beer, gave their lives to eradicate this foe.  That children both in the towers, and on those planes, were forced to forfeit their lives in that attack.  Remember that while not perfect, America stands for justice.  And that her enemies, particularly those who attack her innocents, will pay the ultimate price. 

Osama bin Laden.  Is.  Dead.

May God have mercy on all our souls.