late for tomorrow

I can't write. And I don't mean the general "I am not a great writer and would like to improve" kind of I can't write, I mean the specific right now "I have these really important thoughts that I want to get out and they just keep bumping around in my head, trying to find their way to the page but never quiet getting there" kind of I can't write. 

I realize that in the grand scheme of life this is an absurd thing to complain about. The world has never felt so chaotic as it has in the last several months and what I want to say will not change that. But when I have this feeling that I'm on the verge of something great, and I just can't execute, it leaves me feeling anxious. And that low-grade anxiety, which becomes my daily soundtrack, quietly playing in the background, distracts me from everything else that's important in life. 

Sometimes it helps if I talk about it, which I tried to do last night. In the midst of our conversation my (extremely well intentioned) husband asked "But so what's your message? What is it you're all about?" which didn't help at all. Mostly because my answer left him unsatisfied and it left me feeling like I was no closer to finding my purpose and message than i was almost two years ago (when I started working with a professional coach in an attempt to find my purpose and message). Sigh.

I know that I need to be patient with myself. I know that if I keep tossing these ideas around eventually the connections between the random set of thoughts will become clear. And once the idea has fully matured, it'll be easier to grab hold of and pull down to paper. But what I want to talk about feels very time sensitive, and I'm afraid that if I loose this window of opportunity it won't open again.  So anxiety creeps back in and begins to tug at my shirt. 

I keep thinking that if I go for a long run, or get a good night's sleep, or turn the radio off in the car to make space for thoughts to materialize, then I will have that "Ah ha!" moment. But so far I've not had any luck. And I'm left feeling late for tomorrow.

{image via}

a revolution in care

A very brave Virginia Tech senior wrote an open letter to the University's new president a couple of days ago echoing a sentiment that is felt all over town: there is a shortage of childcare options in town and the university should do something to become a part of the solution. 

I am proud to say that the Executive Director of the school where my two youngest attend, and where I am lucky enough to serve as the Director of Nutrition, wrote a letter to the editor supporting this student and her call for a revolution in childcare. A slightly extended version is reproduced here, with permission from the author:

"I want to applaud Emily for her fearless letter to the Collegiate Times calling for a revolution in childcare.  It touched me very personally and I couldn’t agree more.
In the few short years that I have been in Blacksburg, there is one this that I know to be true: there is a crisis of availability when it comes to childcare, especially for infants.  And it’s not for lack of interest. Year after year surveys are distributed across campus soliciting faculty and staff input about the challenges they face, and repeatedly, “access to childcare” rises to the top of the list. What’s more, because of these limited options we – as a community – cannot engage in deeper conversations about expanding the type of care and educational opportunities that are available to parents.
I also believe that we need a revolution in childcare:  one that places equal value on supporting children, families, and the providers that give care. Caring for our children’s caregivers ensures that our kids get the best care that they can.  Like you, Emily, many childcare providers can’t even afford for their own children the care that they give to others. If the community and university can come together to innovate and lead this revolution then families, caregivers, and university administration will no longer be at odds with one another.
I am expanding a Montessori school in town. It has been a long and challenging road. Many doors have closed, and few have opened. But a handful of dedicated individuals and advocates have helped me make this vision a reality. And in a couple of weeks we will open our doors to the community and for the community.
I agree with your letter to President Sans, Emily, that what is needed is a more sustainable system of childcare and thoughtful attention to the early childhood education experience for everyone involved. And I know that together we can create one."

A revolution in childcare. Imagine it. Imagine a revolution that brings together an entire community to rally around it's most vulnerable citizens and cares as much about providing for them as it does the people who care for them. Imagine a revolution that see the child as a whole person - who needs more than just a set of eyes to watch over them, but rather needs a guide for how to be in the world; one that will engage his curiosities and interests, and support his  learning in all matters intellectual, emotional, and social. A revolution that pays childcare providers a decent wage, and gives them benefits so they can afford the same high-quality care for their own children. imagine a revolution that teaches kids lifelong habits - around food, conflict resolution, and self-care - beginning when they are only babies.

Can you imagine that revolution? I can. And it's amazing.

11 days and counting

There was a bombing in Arusha a few weeks ago. Did you know that? (Don't feel bad if you didn't, unless you're closely following international news sources it's unlikely you did; my husband is living in Arusha and even I didn't know until he sent me a text.) A bomb was thrown into the window of an Indian restaurant; 8 people were injured, one man lost his leg. Most of them - maybe all of them - were Wahindi Tanzanians.  Tim and I often had date night there.

Unless you're living under a rock (no offense, but even I know of this one) you'll know that a plane was shot down over eastern Ukraine. 298 people on board were killed. The plane had departed from Amsterdam airport. Tim is flying through Amsterdam on his way home.

This weekend Oliver had a fever. Thankfully it lasted only 24ish hours, but he was irritable and lethargic and sad for at least three days. Yesterday he couldn't believe that I wouldn't let him have chocolate milk again before dinner. "I hungry," he wailed in the corner. "Why no more chocolate milk? I want daddy. I want daddy. I waaaaaaant daaaaaaaddyyyyyyy."

Eleanor has started drawing pictures with which she wants to plaster the walls for Tim's birthday surprise (Tim, if you read that, pretend that you're surprised). She cannot wait to buy something for his birthday, to make a cake - or maybe even a cake and cupcakes - and to celebrate it with him. Circled on the calendar that hangs by her desk in my parents' home office is the date he returns and last night she made a paper chain that she can rip each day until he returns.

When Alice sees him on FaceTime she still tries to look behind the phone to see where he is, and Oliver, when we have to say good-bye says "Daddy has to go away?"

But it's not all bad. In fact, it's almost all good (except when it's not.) On balance, we have had a remarkable summer: boating, swimming, beaching, playing in the woods, being with family. I have been reminded of all the things I loved about my own childhood summers in Maine and am so extremely thankful that I get to give a taste of that to my own kids. They have gone miniature golfing and ridden kiddie rides with my in-laws. They have gone boating and swimming in the lake with my parents. They regularly make houses and beauty salons and dress stores in the woods,  play with sticks and lead marching bands down the driveway, they garden and eat ice cream and go to the beach with their uncles and aunts (and adopted aunts, Annabel).

For all the complaining I have done about having Tim gone, what I really want to complain about is not having him here. (Yes, those two things are different.) Not having him here means that he doesn't get to share all of these experiences. He doesn't get to relive his own summers on Great Pond - swimming for hours, canoeing out to the islands, catching fireflies and sitting in front of a roaring fire on cold rainy evenings. He doesn't get to see the sunset over Portland Harbor while sipping bear and eating pizza at Flatbread and he doesn't get to watch our kids create plays in their forest theater. It's not fair to him, because these moments are priceless.  

So, because I don't want him gone and I don't want him to not be here, I think it's time that he comes home.

Just 11 days and counting.