Ryan (at age 4) and I at the library
We’re into week 3 of my son’s summer break. Ryan opts not to attend any type of summer day-camp and instead we spend the days together. We’ve already visited several museums (including the Petersen Automative Museum, the California Science Center to check out the Body Worlds: Pulse Exhibit, and the Discovery Cube because we were curious about their Dinosaurs Unearthed Exhibit).
While our museum trips have been fun (our favorite so far has been the exhausting five hours we spent at the California Science Center), some of my favorite times have been spent with Ryan at the library and our neighborhood bookstore. We visit the library each week, and we read each day.
It makes me enormously proud to say that Ryan doesn’t look at our trips to the library as a chore. He enjoys them. Ryan is growing up to be a person who values books and who looks to books for information, for explanation, and for entertainment. And as a reader, and a writer, I couldn’t ask for more than that.
The other afternoon, my son and I spent some time sitting on our patio, reading books. My nine-year-old has eclectic taste when it comes to music and books. We read a biography about baseball legend Jackie Robinson, we read Curious George Discovers The Sun (a book that mixes the fictional world of Curious George with nonfiction facts and scientific concepts), and we ended with the Dr. Seuss classic Horton Hatches the Egg.
In Horton Hatches the Egg, Horton promised a bird named Mayzie that he’d look after her egg. This elephant sits on her egg for a total of fifty-one weeks, enduring drastic weather changes, taunts and teases, and being kidnapped and taken to a circus as an oddity. All because Horton made a promise to look after this egg, and as Horton says, “I meant what I said and I said what I meant … an elephant’s faithful one hundred per cent.”
In another Horton book, Horton Hears a Who!, Horton is determined to take care of a speck he found because “A person’s a person, no matter how small.” Meaning we all deserve respect and compassion regardless of our size, or how we look, or what we eat, or what language we speak, or who we choose to love.
And I’ve come to the conclusion that the world would be a much better place if everyone was more like Horton. Not that we should all become elephants, but that we should all adopt Horton’s personality traits.
Here I am writing on my back patio
I’ve got a confession to make — I didn’t write a blog post this week. Which I guess isn’t entirely accurate since you’re reading this now. But I didn’t write an original blog post this week. Though I have been writing. A lot.
If you haven’t checked out my “Published Work” link on the left, then you may not know that I am a regular contributor at MomsLA.com.
I have been doing a lot of writing for MomsLA lately. So this week, I thought I’d share with my readers some of that writing.
Click here to read my list of the “Best Public Libraries In And Around Los Angeles To Visit With Kids”
Click here to read about the “Best Water Parks In And Around Los Angeles”
Click here to read my post “100 Days of Summer Fun In L.A. With Kids”
A photo from the 2012-2013 school year. This was my fifth-grade classroom ready for the first day of school. I retired in 2013.
My son’s last day of school is Friday. When the bell rings that afternoon, he will no longer be a third grader. We’ll say good-bye to his teacher and his classmates.
In two months, he’ll go back to school as a fourth-grader. He won’t learn his teacher’s name until the first day of school. But for some parents, they already know. They are requesting specific teachers for their children. As a parent and former teacher, I don’t agree with this practice.
To find out why, click here to read my essay, “A Lesson in Giving Up Control: Why Parents Shouldn’t Request Their Child’s Teacher,” on MomsLA.com.
Last week I wrote about receiving my disabled parking placard. This week I’m writing about actually using it.
Let me start by saying that, when possible, I always venture onto the residential streets to try and find a “freebie” spot. While some meters give me an hour for $1, others double that rate. And I know that walking is good exercise for me, so I don’t mind parking a block or so away.
But last week, I couldn’t find a freebie spot, so I was forced to park at a closer spot, one that had a meter. I reached for my credit card to pay the meter and then stopped myself. I had a decision to make. Should I pay like I usually do or park for free by displaying my placard? I was torn and really didn’t know how best to handle the situation. Neither decision felt quite right to me.
I have “earned” this placard (if that’s the right word) and thus was “entitled” (again, not sure that’s the right word either) to free parking.
But I don’t “look” disabled. But, the two dollars won’t make or break me.
And, putting up that placard puts me and my situation out on display.
It wasn’t easy, but I did it. I parked and walked towards my doctor’s appointment, feeling like at any moment someone would call me out as a fraud. I know I’m not a fraud. I know that this, sadly, is my reality. But it’s a reality I sometimes feel unprepared for.
The picture above shows the items I received in the mail a few days ago. Maybe it’s because I’m a writer, but I couldn’t help noticing the combination.
My Writer’s Digest magazine — a subscription I’ve had for a few years now. I read each issue, marking pages with Post-Its, highlighting passages, reading it as a writer looking for information and inspiration. Because since I am no longer a teacher (because of a disability), I am a writer.
The other item, my disabled placard, is one I’ve had mixed feelings about for quite a while. I’ve been vehemently opposed to getting one and worried that I wouldn’t even qualify for one. Although, as my husband pointed out, I’m no longer teaching due to my disability, and I receive a monthly disability check, so it really wouldn’t be a stretch to think I’d qualify for a placard.
(Click here to read my essay on Role Reboot.org titled “Why I Don’t Hang a Disabled Person Placard In My Car.”)
But the placard is such a visible sign that there’s something wrong with me. And I still believe there are others who need it more than I do. But lately, there have been times I’ve really felt like I needed it too. Like the day we parked several blocks away from my rheumatologist’s office to save money by not parking in the building’s parking lot. We weren’t sure how long we’d be so I opted out of an hour-only metered spot. A disabled placard would have made finding a parking spot much easier.
I haven’t used the placard yet. I haven’t even put it in the car yet. But I will.
And one day I’ll use it. And that will be it’s own essay.
Mother’s Day may come once a year, but the art of mothering is a 365-day-a-year responsibility. In honor of mothers everywhere, I’d like to share these words about mothers that was published last year on MomsLA.com
Click here to read “The A to Z List of a Mom’s Jobs.”