it hits me now, at odd moments

We’re moving (and it’s still a secret). I’ve scheduled a home inspection of our current house, I just received an email from a new school’s secretary reminding me about a preview tour in a couple of weeks, and I just left a message with our new realtor in our new state. I’ve already compiled a list of 10 houses that I want the realtor to preview for us.

At the same time, I’m gearing up to help host about 200 folks at our general PTA meeting tonight. We’ll serve dinner, and thank all these families for all they have done for the school, encourage them to stay involved, to do what they can. We enlisted five students to do a reading of “The Three Questions” for the crowd. To that end, I took pictures of every page and turned the story into a powerpoint presentation, and to make sure all goes off without a hitch I’ve created a color coded script for all the readers. I’ve rehearsed with them… I asked our daughter’s teacher to have a role. I’ve gone crazy with this.

And this morning, our daughter said it felt weird that she wasn’t doing anything with the book, since the book was hers and her brother’s. So I amended my introduction to note that these two nice kids I know lent us the book.

And I think about all this, simultaneously, and tears form in my eyes. It’s ridiculous. It’s not sadness, per se. It’s something else.

Everybody wants to have an impact, a positive one, on their community. I think I have, I think our kids have, when it comes to our school. We have made a difference. I’m seeing this impact, I guess, as an imprint.

Like when you put your feet in the sand at the ocean’s edge… You make foot prints, and the water laps over your ankles and your feet sink deeper and deeper till you feel stuck, but comfortable, because that sand is holding you steady against the crash of waves.

But then at some point you have to pick up your feet. And it takes some effort, if you do it before the next wave. You see the places that your feet stood. And then the water comes rushing back, and there’s no trace of your footprints. Your feet were there, but only for a moment.

Yeah, it’s all hitting me kind of hard.

sea turtle

Here’s a poem written by our 7-year-old daughter. She thought about it for a couple of days, drafting it late into the night on her magna-doodle board, developing illustrations. She finally put it all to paper and told me it was for her principal at school.

Sea turtle, sea turtle, in the deep blue sea,
I can’t believe you’re just like me.
I’m so lucky, that I can see.

She had overheard me tell my husband that the principal is pretty excited about the school’s new mascot: the sea turtle. She found a copy of one of her favorite books (handed down by her cousins), and told me she wanted to give it to her principal, too.

Limu the Blue Turtle demonstrates that it doesn’t matter how you look, it matters what you do. Mean green turtles teased Limu because he was blue, so he made his own friends, who looked nothing like him, and with whom he had nothing in common. But he did right by them. He reunited an opihi shellfish with her sister and removed a piece of wood from a blue whale’s fin. In the end, the opihi offered Limu a place to live, and the whale saved Limu from a shark attack. It’s adorable.

She wanted to give it to her principal, but she noted that it had “scribble scrabbles in it.” (Some coloring on the inside of the cover, nothing major.) So, we got a new copy of the book for him. We went to the school this morning and dropped it off, along with a quiche for the PTA’s welcome-back-teachers breakfast. The kids and I went to the principal’s office, and she presented the book and her poem.

The principal stopped what he was doing and read the whole story to the three of us and the Assistant Principal. He was visibly touched, and said he’d share the poem and the book with the teachers because, “The students are just like those sea turtles, heading out on their own, relying on their own character, finding their way, and overcoming obstacles.”

Our girl was so proud.

She knows now, that she is a poet. She knows now, that when she thinks, and speaks, and shares, she has an impact.

Here’s to the new school year!