Friday, August 1, 2014

the not-so-subtle signs

Duncan drinking in Italy 2013
I needed a vacation this summer--I mean, seriously needed it.  Those inner teacher resources were painfully depleted by June 16, and I am lucky enough to have nothing required of me this summer--no coursework and no paid work.  I've been sleeping in all the way until 6:30 and going with the flow, just enjoying my kids and my wee garden, the pool and summer produce and reading.

Then, last week, things turned.  I know when I've had enough vacation each summer because suddenly little children become intensely interesting again.  Last summer it happened at an outdoor table around the corner from Piazza San Marco in Venice:  a group of Italian bambini, ages 3-7, were climbing all over a dry fountain in our small, enclosed piazza, and even in a foreign language they were suddenly tremendously more entertaining than the boisterous and traditionally very entertaining European relatives we were with.

This year it happened last week while I sat waiting for my 15-year-old to finish playing a summer league soccer game:  a younger brother, maybe 6, in the bleachers behind me, with his confident, erudite pronouncements about everything under the sun, distracted me easily from both the game and the book I was trying to read.  (It's something about the openness of young children, how nothing is calculated or self-conscious as they try out  positions, ideas and interactions, both physical and intellectual.)

And yet, having enjoyed an ample sufficiency of relaxation, I found myself not quite achieving anything for several days.  I wanted to tackle my long summer Tasks list that has been dutifully syncing across my devices; certainly I kept looking at it; and yet at the end of the day  nothing was cross-offable.  I finally took action.  I sat on Monday with a legal-size sheet of physical paper and a mechanical pencil, and I drew a calendar of my [choke] last three weeks of summer break.  I filled in all the scheduled events, and then I added in all the as-yet-undone projects and...oh my.  Time to Get Down to Business.

On Wednesday I awoke in the dark at 5am (as usual), with just a little tickly anxiety pricking me about things to get done--and it felt good!  Having kicked a really damaging adrenaline habit, it was good to feel like my productive self again, with some focus and a plan in place.  Then I went back to sleep until 6:30.  : )
No need to overdo things for now!  Five-year-olds and school and work and routine and opportunities are on my mind again, but I'll enjoy the less-structured, daydreamy mornings for a little longer.

One of the items of business was to fill out forms for a very nice upshot of having poems in The Poetry Friday Anthology.  A Texas school district is buying the rights to a group of poems for 3rd graders, so that they can post them on a website for easy classroom access (what a great idea, right?).  The remuneration for this extra use of my poem is modest, but it's a thrill for someone whose writing can't be a main income source for now.  Duncan, age 11, saw me working on the permission forms and asked what poem they wanted.  It's a good one for this moment in my summer arc, at the top of the roller coaster between vacation daydreams and the first day of school.


                                    Funday, Imaginary 1st    

Dear Daydream,      
I’m glad you are my secret friend.
When will you tickle my brain again?
You’re welcome in math, in science and art.
Your wondering wandering makes me smart.
Please come to visit and read with me.
Just don’t interrupt when it’s time for P.E.!


            Heidi Mordhorst 2012
                all rights reserved

Duncan read it, laughed and said, "Yeah, that poem is worth fifty bucks!"

You can enjoy more worth-y poems over at Reflections on the Teche with Margaret, today's Poetry Friday host.


  1. In my Poetry Friday wanderings this morning I keep finding poems that I want to save. This one went right into my folder.
    Loved hearing about the trajectory of your summer. I'm glad your batteries have gotten recharged!

  2. Glad you've had some time for a break and find those kiddos entertaining again (I'm always paying attention to little kid antics instead of grown-up talk at gatherings, but I'm not sure I would if I taught every day!) Love your letter to a daydream and Duncan's delight in it!

  3. I enjoyed hearing about your journey, Heidi, all the way to "Sincerely, Me". Love that you're getting a little extra for your poems, a greater pat on the back, I guess. It's a delightful poem, one to use often at the beginning of the year.

  4. What a delightful post to read on my second day back into my reinstated writing routine. My girls went back to school yesterday (though I am not returning to the classroom) and I am back in the groove of early mornings and full day "To-Do" lists. I love your unique phrase "cross-offable". I hope to have many of cross-offable accomplishments in the coming weeks. Congrats for the added income on your sweet poem. = )

  5. What a fun poem, Heidi!

  6. This would be really fun poem to share with kids that first week of school. Thank you! I think I'm past the arc of heading back- our kids don't come back for three more weeks, but we have had at least three days of PD every day for the past three weeks. And I really do need to tackle my summer "to do" list! SOON!

  7. I'm so glad you had a restful summer! So did I. I go back to work (teacher meetings, etc) on Monday, and so far I have given almost no thought to school since we got out. All that is about to change! Love the poem.

  8. We are kindred spirits, from lists to loving that morning daydream time! I'm glad you've refilled the well and CONGRATS on your poetry success. Woot!

  9. Loved reading about where you are in your summer. I love summer ... having my husband (a teacher) home, taking a complete break from our homeschool, recharging, and resting and sleeping in all the way until 6:30.

    Loved your poem, too, and what a great idea!

  10. I enjoyed reading this post, Heidi-- I'm not sure I'm quite as ready mentally for our school year to start in two weeks, but I'm getting there. Love Duncan's response to your poem. Congratulations on the daydream that keeps on giving!

  11. Heidi, your poem is so much fun with a lot of truth. Have you read Nikki Grimes' Words With Wings? When her teacher gives permission to daydream, Gabriella soars! I recommend it highly - very short novel in verse.

  12. What an enjoyable poem you wrote. It will be a great opener for writing workshop this fall. Thanks for giving us a sneak into your summer days.

  13. What an enjoyable poem you wrote. It will be a great opener for writing workshop this fall. Thanks for giving us a sneak into your summer days.


Thanks for joining in the wild rumpus!