- Dear Reader, As a millennial, I have read quite a bit of listicles.
- But to you, dear reader, I say: You are here. Alive. Breathing.
- What are you reading, dear reader?
- If she knew, dear reader, would she step off, or would she sadly wave as this world passed her by, a blur through the glass?
- Which slice do you want to take a bite from, dear reader?
- Please, dear reader, enjoy my live(ish) updates on the latest episode.
- This slice does not quite do justice to my mom, dear reader, but I’m sure you already knew that.
- Here’s a mashup recipe for me to enjoy later, and hoping you might too, dear reader!
- What I should say, dear reader, is that I like the feeling music gives me.
- I am rusty with poetry, dear reader.
- What on earth did I do to earn this powerful role, dear reader?
- I know this is a band aid, dear reader, but I feel like this challenge is pushing me creatively and productively, and I know my real and true story will come.
- You know Mick, dear reader.
- But they’re not just places, are they, dear reader?
- What is your favorite part of a road trip, dear reader?
- I’d prefer to spend my time with my dear friends than write today, dear reader.
- Happy St. Patrick’s Day, dear reader!
- So sorry, dear reader, if you were hoping for subtle like my husband.
- Dear reader, The first illustration with humans. A friend in Vietnam.
- Enjoy, dear reader.
- I think I’ll pour a glass of wine and get in bed, dear reader.
- I tried to type to you that I played Snow White, dear reader, but it autocorrected to Snow Whore.
- Dear reader, World Down Syndrome Day was on 3/21.
- What is your family like, dear reader?
- If tomorrow’s coming, dear reader, I hope it waits.
- To be continued tomorrow, dear reader.
- Dear reader, I hadn’t intended for this to be a three part story.
- I could tell you, dear reader, about how our afternoon went from dream to nightmare when two unleashed dogs approached us minutes apart.
- I was more myself than before, dear reader.
- (if you know me you know what this means, dear reader!)
- This is a compilation of the pieces i wrote for you, dear reader. This month I’ve spent writing to you has been a light in my life. Thank you for you time, patience, acceptance, and support. It makes this reincarnated writer’s heart very full. Signing off for now.
This year has really been a lesson in resilience. My students started the year quiet and a bit anxious to make mistakes and take risks. I started out the year wondering how I could keep my students safe and smiling while each student adjusted to the structure of my classroom at different rates (if you know me you know what this means, dear reader!). This week, we have seen some amazing leaps and bounds in our toughest subject, writing. This little one had never held a pencil in August, and just published her first narrative BOOK about a family visit to Mt. Vernon. Proud is an understatement!
Austin, Texas. A blur of double whiskeys, Friday Night Lights references, shaggy bartenders with polite drawls. Graffiti lit the path of “up and coming” street, shadows of construction cranes threatening to bring us down from our adrenaline high.
Over tacos, it was decided. Our deepest loves would be painted on our bodies, Texas forever. We mosied up the steps of a quiet, clean building. It kept its graffiti on the inside.
I felt the numbers on my skin before they were sealed. I felt kind eyes on me, envisioning his canvas. Paul.
Vulnerable, I felt the gun pierce my skin. Paul put pen to paper. The value of the numbers increased as they were polished and dabbed. I was new. I was more myself than before, dear reader. I was a canvas.
We slow from a crawl to a stop as I park the car. A whine of excitement escapes from his throat. PARK!
Two paws, four paws hit the pavement. We weave down the street to the entrance. Nose immediately to the ground. Jungle Fin has emerged. He is a detective, a hunter, an explorer, taking in as many scents as he can. It is a dance – bob, weave, rush, halt. He steals a look back at me as he flashes his signature grin. His ears are radio antennae, taking in a faint trickling sound as we approach a stream. Stepping stones are new. I teach him – hop, pause. Hop, pause. Hop, pause. Behind me, I hear hop, pause, licklicklick. Hop, pause, licklicklick. He drinks as if this moment is the stream, and there will never be another moment (or stream) this delightful again. Sunlit green surrounds us. The Emerald City. A smile now plays at my lips. Has there ever been a calmer, quieter, prettier afternoon?
I could continue. I could tell you, dear reader, about how our afternoon went from dream to nightmare when two unleashed dogs approached us minutes apart. About how their owners were either not to be found, or turned up their noses at us. At the royal we – a sweet, anxious, leash reactive dog and his well intentioned, anxious, boiling owner. But don’t you prefer to remember it how I’d like to?
I hadn’t intended for this to be a three part story, but due to unforeseen circumstances, I feel that this post is more integral to the rest of my slice from yesterday. I didn’t want this story to feel fake or forced. I knew I could write about a previous visit to the park, but I really wanted to write about today’s visit, so here is my preface. Tomorrow, please enjoy the frilly version of my story, knowing its edges are little bit dulled and its bite, a bit sweetened.
My sweet dog, Fin, struggles with leash reactivity. He loves walks and being outside, but is only successful due to training and treats. He still barks at random humans or dogs periodically. It’s really challenging watching your dog turn from Bruce Banner to the Hulk sometimes. As a result, Fin is a part of the Yellow Dog Project (www.yellowdogproject.com). As part of your spring safety lessons in your classroom or at home, consider including provisions about approaching unknown dogs. Kids and adults should always ask to pet a dog they don’t know! And unleashed dogs and owners should always ask before approaching a leashed dog they don’t know. It saves the dog (and its grateful owner) stress and time, and keeps everyone safe!
*gets off of soap box*
“Do you wanna go to the park?”
Immediate play stance. Emotive, begging eyes. Folded ears intently forward. Skinny butt in the air, shaking as fast as his too-long tail.
I grab the leash. Butt down, chest out. Tail still at work, sweeping along the floor. One paw, two paws independently hop into the harness. He’s all but buckled it himself.
Down the stairs and into the car. His gums stretch into a smile. PARK!
He is a metronome, tilting from one window to the other, desperate to take in every moment of the afternoon. I reach back and tousle his sun kissed hair. His eyes flicker to me for a moment. A walk in the park is our love language.
To be continued tomorrow, dear reader.
Not just a moody song I love by a band called The Menzingers, it ACTUALLY describes my day!
Wore my favorite jumpsuit today for the warm weather.
Sun was shining on my commute.
THAT student had one meltdown instead of his usual 2+, and used a calming strategy independently for the first time EVER.
Breathtaking bouquet of flowers waiting at the door from my stepmom.
Monday Runday with my sweet pup.
If you follow me you know I had cancelled dinner plans last week I was really looking forward to – rescheduled!
Delicious and comforting dinner with my dad and godmother.
Cozy and relaxed by 8pm.
If tomorrow’s coming, dear reader, I hope it waits. I want to bask in today a little longer.
Fifteen humans travel
And five dogs stay back
To a place that years of traditions live
Seating is a challenge
Ordering food, a production
But conversation is easy
And hilarious again
This is my new family
And I am daughter in law
What is your family like, dear reader?
Dear reader, World Down Syndrome Day was on 3/21. It represents three copies of the 21st chromosome that individuals with Down syndrome carry. Just a few notes before I share its significance to my life:
– please use person first language instead of “Down syndrome person.” Down syndrome does not define the individual. It’d be like if I referred to myself as Left Handed Girl – being left handed and a girl are just two pieces to me.
– please do not use the “r-word” (retard or retarded). Someone may use it to share something is silly or weird, so you can see how that would make someone with Down syndrome feel silly or weird. It’s 2019, let’s be kind to one another.
-Not all individuals with Down syndrome are kids, cute, and happy all the time. I am not friends with people with Down syndrome for these reasons. I am friends with them because they are kind, funny, independent, and great conversation. I am not a special person for being friends with people with Down syndrome – I am simply a person who is lucky to have many friends, some of whom happen to carry an extra chromosome.
There, off my soapbox. Two of the dearest people in the world to me are my late Aunt Leanne and my friend Kaitlyn. Leanne was this quiet, stubborn soul who loved to spend her days drawing cats and watching shows with angels. While some members of my family struggled to connect with her, she and I had this gentle relationship. I’d tell her about my life, and she’d smile. Sometimes if I was really lucky, she’d share a small sliver of her life with me. She was nearly nonverbal by the end of her life. At that point she’d give me her hand and touch her forehead to mine. I’d heard stories that growing up she was a spunky, sweet, naughty little girl, and I think I got a bit of that spunk from her. I miss her every day and I am crying as I write this. Her disability never made our relationship feel different or strange. It made me feel deeply connected to someone who I trusted to love me, even if she couldn’t tell me.
I’ve known Kaitlyn since we were 18. We met at Penn State and our friendship has grown and strengthened over the years. She has a job and a boyfriend and too much sass to handle sometimes. But she and I check each other. She tells me when I’m being obnoxious and I tell her when to act her age. I love our friendship. With whom else can I be that unequivocally myself?
There are many other friends I could have mentioned here, and I picture their faces in my mind as I type this. I am one of the lucky few who interacts with people with Down syndrome on a daily basis, and I am proud to know them.
It was Fairy Tale Day. I tried to type to you that I played Snow White, dear reader, but it autocorrected to Snow Whore. Another fantastic day.