Miss Night's Marbles

Musings, mumbles, marvels, and sometimes mockery, live from kindergarten.

#Kinderblog, Day 3. The highlights reel…

Aren’t you folks lucky – 2 blog posts for you, in just a single night! (Second one coming up shortly, I promise!)…

Day 3 of the #kinderblog post-a-day challenge asked us to write about the very best things about 2013. Because I love me some bullets, here you go:

  • I spent 5 days in Vegas with my buddies MattBGomez and JonFines. We had THE. BEST. TIME. Chrissy was there, too, and significantly contributed to The Awesome.
  • While in Vegas, I got to meet Audrey Penn, the author of The Kissing Hand. I was so awed and starstruck that I cried a little bit.

 

  • I spent 2 weeks at my very favourite place on earth, with my favourite people on earth, with my dear little Skip, and we visited SO MUCH beauty on the way there and back.

 

  • My teaching intern from last year “graduated” into her own classroom, and I get to watch her be amazing every day.
  • I got my new job (on the dark side, in admin), the kind of job I have wanted for a long time.
  • I SAW RAFFI IN CONCERT!!!

 

  • I got to hang out at conferences in Calgary and Vancouver, with some of my favourite #kinderchat friends, including @mauimickey, @mmekathleen,  @learningmurd, and @namesescapeme.
  • The Flood revealed all the things I love very best about my city, and made the most proud I have EVER been to have been born and raised here.


 


I just realised that, in writing about the BEST  parts of 2013, I included 2 of the WORST parts: the flood, and losing Skip. I hadn’t wanted to write about heartbreak, fear, tears, anger, here. Both of those events – one so hugely public, the other so intensely private – shook me to my very core, brought me to my knees, and are indelible marks of what 2013 meant. I’m not going to go down the trite, condescending, smug, road of silver linings or closed doors/opened windows. But I will say this:

Many years ago, a friend gave me a card that said

“Everything will be okay in the end.

If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.”

2013, you were okay.

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2013 in pictures…

So, if I’m going to CREATE the #kinderchat post-a-day blogging challenge, I guess I better participate, too, right?!

2013 in pictures… Here you go.

(All photos property of MissNightMutters.com, all rights reserved.)

 

 

 

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The stars in the bright sky…

I love Christmas.

More precisely, I love the Christmas story.

A story about a baby, laying in a manger, surrounded by animals, visited by shepherds and kings.

I love the story, and I love all the side-stories that have sprung up around it. The animals talking at midnight. The Little Drummer Boy.

 

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I do not consider myself a religious person, but I love that story.

I’ve always loved the nativity stories better than the Santa stories. A few years ago, I realized that I had inadvertently started collecting books telling different versions of the story. I own no less than 4 nativity sets. The opening words of the second chapter of the Book of Luke: “And it came to pass…” give me goosebumps.  Even as a little girl, I preferred Away in a Manger to Jingle Bells.

To me, the story of a baby, born in a barn/a stable/a cave, lain in a manger, kept warm by the breath of the animals, bathed in the light of a star, was/is/has always been as magical as any story about flying reindeer or elves on shelves.

I don’t know if it’s true, if it’s based in truth, if it’s a parable, a fable, or simply… a story.

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It honestly doesn’t matter to me. I’m not sure it matters AT ALL.

The thing is this: it is a story, about a baby. A BABY. And, whatever you believe, that story — fact or fiction, myth or metaphor — changed the world.

A STORY ABOUT A BABY CHANGED THE WHOLE WORLD.

And so, my dear friends, no matter how you celebrate or ignore that story; whether you have Baby Jesus or Santa or Rudolph or Dominic the Christmas Donkey; whether you do midnight mass or sleep till noon; whether it is turkey or prime rib, or Chinese food on your table; whether you surround yourself with loved ones or hide out by yourself; whether you have the week off or you volunteer to work; whether you drop thousands of dollars or don’t spend a cent; whether you go to your mom’s or go to the movies…

May it be silent, whatever silent means to you.

May it be holy, whatever holy means to you.

May it be calm, may it be bright.

May it be happy.

May it be merry.

 

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Near or far, close or together

I’m not sure if I have shared this here before, but my office at school is the last stop before our grade one students go out the door to recess, and the first stop when they come back in.

This geography suits me fine, as it means they stop in for hugs and chats on their way in and out, and I get to keep track of them, see their smiles and rosy cheeks, zip their coats, nag them about mittens. They know that as long as I am in my office, they are welcome any time. They are not afraid to knock and peek in the window, even if I am in a meeting. Even if the meeting is with our Head of School. Who can get mad at being interrupted by a six-year-old who scoots in, throws his arms around my neck, and then skips out again?

Today, one of my little boys from last year came in, as he always does, for a hug, a smile, a quick cuddle to remind him that cuddles are still available, even to big boys in grade one. After our usual squeeze, he took a minute to look around my office, and noticed a photo on my bulletin board: a picture of my last class at my previous school. 12 grade ones, neat and tidy in grey and burgundy uniforms. This kiddo (we’ll call him B) was curious:

B: Mme, who’s those kids?

Me: They were my class at another school.

B: You worked at another school?

Me: Yes, before I came here, I taught grade one at another school.

B: Why did  you leave?

Me: Because I knew this school was a very special place, and I really wanted to come here.

B: You put the picture up to remember them?

Me: Yes

B: You will always love them, won’t you?

Me: Yes, I will.

B: And you will always love us. Forever.

And off he went.

Yes, B. I will always love them.

And I will always love you.

That’s how a teacher’s heart works.

Forever.

Teacher heart

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My heart runneth over.

Friday.  The tail end of the tail end of a school year that never got a proper send-off. The kids done a week ago, but no true Last Day of School, because of school closures because of evacuations because of flooding. Another week of work for me, by choice but not really: an office to clean, documentation to file, desperate interviews to fill our last 2 teacher openings. Not a difficult week, but still 3 more days than I had planned. Packing the last bag of things to go home, mourning my lack of celebratory plans, when: a text from a friend who lives too far away, now in town for a few weeks – am I busy tonight? Dinner, drinks? YES PLEASE.

My lovely friend picks me up in her fun red rental car, a happy drive down to my old neighbourhood, to throw some money around at businesses who lost revenue because of closures because of evacuations because of flooding. We find a good place, a busy pub jammed with a happy crowd. No empty tables, but there are 2 girls at a table for six, and they are friendly and so are we and so we share. We had hoped for patio, but the windows are huge and the breeze comes in, and it’s not that different indoors than out. Yummy food and good cold drinks and the kind of meandering, tangent-filled conversation that confirms a friendship immune to distance.

A walk through the neighbourhood, and then through the park I haunted in high school. An unsuccessful quest for something in the ice cream family, but we drive back up here to The Hills where there is a Brand! New! Ice! Cream! Shop! and we sit on the red vinyl benches until all the deliciousness is gone.

Home, to 9 hours between cool sheets, with a happy chihuahua curled behind my knees.

Morning full of sunshine. Coffee in my “garden” where my plants are finally starting to believe in themselves. Baking: a rhubarb-strawberry crisp, to take to my poor mum who has had a heartbreaking work week because of  working in insurance during a flood. A hot shower, a pretty dress, hair braided off my face in preparation for an afternoon At The Theatre with Les Misérables.  On my way out the door, a text from my brother: “We have too many ribs to eat. You want to come for dinner?”

All dressed up!

 

3 hours with my mom and Jean Valjean and Javert and Cosette and Marius and poor, poor Eponine. Many tears and a standing ovation. A drive through rolling green to the Little Haus On The Prairie, where my brother and sister-in-law await us with ribs and homemade lemonade and beet salad and garden greens. We look at the view and talk about the flood and our bellies are full even before we get to the two (TWO!) desserts. A tour of the garden, a visit with the chickens. Cuddles from the new cat.

The long trip home through a sky glowing with sunset, across the city that holds my heart. Excited welcome from a wriggling, giggling chihuahua. A cup of tea in the gathering dark, and a thought:

If anyone, anywhere, has ever had a more perfect First Twenty Four Hours of Summer… I don’t even want to hear about it.

 

Happy Summer, Friends.

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