This might be my new favorite picture of Greta and Geoff, not because he is standing at my Uncle Gordon’s standing bar– or because she is wearing her turtle fur neck-up as a hat–or because her hair, after 5.5 years of life is finally long enough to wear not one but two French braids, but mostly because of the love captured under the brim of that woolen ski cap. Happy New Year to all of you who have joined me in this last year of blogging adventure! No, Ellen Degeneres did not read my Christmas letter to her and Portia before Christmas, nor has she showcased True North YET, but the good news is I’m still standing strong in my power pose. I’m inspired by those around me who are tackling their dreams and devouring Thoreau’s marrow from life. In fact, last night, I read about a friend from high school, Jon Rubin, a teacher, who has been working on a children’s story about his son Sawyer, who has Autism. He’s decided to write a blog is called “Autism Dad in the 603” about his little boy’s struggles and successes through the lens of being a father, and I can’t wait to read it. His writing and sense of humor will help others reflect on their parenting situations whether their child has special needs or not; let’s face it, we ALL have needs and a solid sense of humor along with a good power pose are our best weapons.
My living room looks like the Christmas Gods have thrown up all over. Our poor tree, once magnificent in his fresh pine glory, cut down in the wilds of Franconia, NH, and decorated with much love on only 3 low branches is ready to be returned to Mother Earth now that 93% of its needles are on the floor. We have skis, ski bags, one fat bike, some folded laundry and a drying rack full of mittens and snow pants and hats from this week’s snow adventures. When a foot of snow falls and one’s Auntie and Uncle from London come to visit, along with one’s other Uncle and Auntie and two beloved cousins come from Martha’s Vineyard, the week is one epic adventure of sledding parties, ski days, and laughter– and super tired children. Greg said it best the other night when he surveyed the chaos of my living room, “So this is what full on winter looks like here, huh?” Yes, full on winter, and I’m facing down 2017 with the fortitude and attitude of a seasoned professional.
And to kick start this NEW YEAR on Monday, I am returning to Merrimack High School to write with current students, share selections from True North and visit the library where I first learned the power of borrowing. I’m excited. Inspiration struck me in the woods yesterday morning when my brother, friend Matt and I skinning up South Peak hoping to find ungroomed powder (we didn’t sadly, the hike was still worth our energy) and I was again reminded how I do my best brainstorming while OUT of DOORS doing something which jacks my heart rate up. My writing workshop requires no technology or paper copies of anything; we are going old school just like we did back in 1993. Visiting my hometown and meeting up with my first grade teacher and high school soccer coach and friend from 6th grade whose in-ground pool we skinny dipped in much to her parents’ (and neighbors’) horror will be a very cool way to reflect on the past and move ahead to 2017, now 20 years out of college and 20 years into being a public school educator.
The very nice librarian is worried we won’t get much of a crowd at the evening event due to being a Monday and close to the holiday because I’m primarily an unknown writer. However, I’ve reassured her that I’m not unknown in my hometown, and that I believe people will come and support me– just as they’ve done my entire life from afar. Regardless of how many people show up to hear me read from True North, I’ll take a few minutes beforehand to take some deep cleansing breaths, hold my Wonder Woman power pose I learned about watching Ted Talks with my speech class this year, and find my voice– the one that grew up on 11 Eagle Drive, Merrimack, NH and found power in the classrooms of excellent teachers and coaches.
Happy New Year friends and family; I will not see midnight, and haven’t for many moons. We will celebrate with our children at 7 pm and pretend we are in London’s time zone. And if you are in Merrimack on January 2 at 630 PM, please stop by the library to say hello to an old friend.
Side note: my best gift from a student this year came in the form of a personal essay written at the University of New Hampshire this fall. She returned to visit right before the vacation and provided me a copy. She writes, “I’ve decided I want to become a teacher because I want to be someone’s Krill. I know how much a great teacher, who believes in you, can influence the course you decide to take in life…So as I move on, I’ll persevere through any challenge…and stop every once and awhile to enjoy everything around me, and hopefully along the way, I’ll find my True North.” Thank you, Madison Savoy, these words remind me why I became a teacher.