Updated: Apr 8, 2020
The sky this past week has been incredible. It felt like whimsical clouds have covered the sky every time I looked up. It's always so interesting. There are so many different kinds of clouds (my coworker gave me a bit of grief, asking me how many pictures on my phone are of clouds/the sky; my response was that I'd have to actually count and keep track in order to know that....). Corliss and I went to the Botanical Garden this past weekend, too. We meandered throughout all the various gardens/sections, spending the late morning and afternoon in nature. We spent probably about 2 hours in our favorite garden (the Japanese Garden), soaking up the sun with some crystals and taking in the awesome views; the lake there is phenomenal. We later had some delicious noodles from Corner 17. As we were leaving Corner 17, we looked up to find a patch of rainbow hanging out in the clouds; it was so stunning and beautiful. It's extraordinary what you can find if you take the opportunity to look around.
I did some more babysitting this weekend; the boys were so excited to see me again. They showed off all the Pokemon they caught on Sword and Shield, wanting to trade. They told me about their recent vacation. The oldest showed off his new glasses. The boys sat me down so we could all watch Toy Story 4 together (as I hadn't seen it yet). We listened to Disney music and Pokemon parody songs (such as the Magikarp Song, one about Furret walking, one about hatching eggs, etc.). Their dog kept using me as a pillow, wanting to snuggle and sleep. They were all excited to see me again. There's so much love in the world. I'm truly blessed to have so many loving children, families, and people in my life.
There was more silliness with my before care friends. The first grade girl marched straight up to the coloring table on Tuesday morning (after the long Presidents' Day weekend), announcing, "Text Mama!" I replied, "About what?" She grew pensive, thinking for a good minute before responding, "I don't know.... Wait.... is today payroll?" (She knew that my mom does payroll every other Monday and that she hadn't the previous week since she had been on the cruise.) Without recognizing what day it was, I answered automatically, "Yeah, that's why she was on vacation last week." She grew frustrated, remarking, "DARN IT!!!!" I felt a nudge to think longer on the situation, like I hadn't processed all of the information; after thinking for a moment clarity struck, and I commented, "Wait a minute.... Today is Tuesday.... So she did payroll yesterday." The look of delight that spread across her face was priceless; she nearly jumped for joy, gleefully shouting, "YESSSS!!!!!!" She then continued with her random texts to my mom. It almost feels miraculous that this event happened. My mom plays along with these texts, and the kiddos get such a kick out of it. It usually is about random stuff (like the kids asking about how old my mom's grandma is, how old my mom's mom is, telling my mom they know the names of her kids and husband, etc.). I know that I don't have to go along with it, but it always turns out interesting and amusing. I know that some people might be bothered by it, but it doesn't bother me (and my mom finds it super humorous--she's started sending animal pun pictures from her desktop calendar; today's was "froget about it"). Sending texts on their behalf is a simple thing that brings about a lot of joy and laughter (I know not everyone would be willing to do so).
A first grade boy (who started a bunch of shenanigans with me last year in kindergarten, i.e. that he got me a pizza but threw it away, he got me a new computer but his dad broke it, he got me a spoon but his mom thought it was trash, etc.) came up to me one morning and announced, "I've been here for 24 hours! I spent it all in the attic." I replied, "Does this school even have an attic?" He remarked, "Yeah! I spent 24 hours with a guy that sleeps all day." Deciding to point out the fact that he "spent the day" with some random guy, I commented, "That sounds like Stranger Danger." He added, "He sleeps all day and can turn into a bat." I commented, "It sounds like you're talking about a vampire.... Don't go hanging out with vampires." He snatched this idea up immediately, responding, "Yeah, he's a vampire! He was going to order Papa John's, but then I broke his phone." Pensive about the idea of breaking a vampire's phone, I remarked, "I don't think you should do that to a vampire. It was already Stranger Danger with a vampire. That will just make him angry. Not sure why a vampire would want pizza, though." Eyes twinkling, he shouted with glee, "And then I broke his car!" Confused, I asked, "Wait, why would a vampire need a car?? He sleeps all day... He can turn into a bat and fly." He immediately responded, "He can't turn into a bat." Baffled by this development, I remarked, "Wait, but you said he could." He added, "He turned into a bat and then he got bored because he turned into a bat so much. So now he doesn't turn into a bat any more." Not particularly convinced with his answer but willing to go along with it, I replied, "I don't see how one time is so much.... but if you say so." Proud of his story, he declared, "YEAH!" He wouldn't stop laughing as he told his story. More and more kids ended up gravitating towards the coloring table and got sucked into the story. Kids that normally would have nothing to do with the coloring table (older kids that usually go to the gym or read a book) became really invested in the story, grilling the 1st grader about it and recruiting more people to hear the story. They started telling all their friends about it. It's amazing how little things can bring so much joy and laughter. If I hadn't decided to play along, allowing his story to expand and develop, things would have turned out drastically differently. Some people don't exactly appreciate silliness (and this got a bit extreme and, at times, a bit loud). This story grew into a incredible experience for a lot of the kiddos, though, and I'm glad I could witness and partake in it. Life's a lot more fun when it isn't taken so seriously.
I also witnessed the beauty of a 5th grader's soul this past week; this 5th grade boy has a younger brother in 2nd grade and a younger sister in preschool. He was so in tune with himself and at peace with being who he is. He willingly played Pretty Pretty Princess with a group of kindergarten girls (he plays the game with his little sister all the time). Social "norms" were of no concern to him. Wearing all the jewelry, he announced, "Aren't I beautiful?" I remarked, "Everyone is in awe of your beauty." He approved, answering, "I know, right? Who wants to play Pretty Pretty Princess with me?" A group of older girls (3rd-5th grade) entered the room, snickering and seemingly wanting to dim his shine. Their antics didn't deter him in the least, though; he confidently declared, "I have a picture of me in all the blue jewelry; I'll show it to all the boys in my class. I don't care. I'm so beautiful!!" I love this kid. He's so empowering. I know that he meant that he was beautiful by the jewelry he was wearing, but his soul is truly stunning. It shines so brightly; it's breathtaking. I love that he doesn't allow others to influence or dictate what he does or enjoys. He's not taking things so seriously and letting fear of what others think alter how he lives. He truly is a role model, not just for his peers and younger students but for adults, as well. Sometimes adults get all caught up in growing up and "adulting" that they forget to breathe, smell the roses, and have fun. They lose touch with their inner child. They get caught up in worries about what others will think (which is really just their perception of what others will think--other people might not even think that way). This 5th grader is an excellent reminder for me to be true to who I am and pay no mind to what others might think; have fun and enjoy life. Life doesn't have to be so serious; it's meant to be so much more than that. As I drove to my second job later that morning, Walking Miracles by Matthew West came on the radio right before I arrived to the school. It struck a cord. The 5th grader is a walking miracle with all his confidence. Not everyone thinks and lives like that. I was truly blessed to witness it. Life is amazing. Stay blessed and have fun, my friends~