In elementary schools across our country, March’s Reading Month kicked off with a birthday celebration to honor one of the finest children’s authors of all time, Dr. Seuss. I have loved the silliness, repetition and illustrations of his books since I was a young girl. However, it was not until I was an adult that I fully comprehended the magnitude of his deep and powerful messages.
As a kindergarten teacher I spent weeks reading his books. The Butter Battle Book gave me the perfect opportunity to discuss how a silly disagreement can turn into an enormous, foolish fight. The Sneetches encouraged a discussion about accepting others that are different than yourself. My all time favorite still is Horton Hears a Who illustrating perfectly how every single person matters, no matter how small!!!! If only Dr. Seuss were here to make sense of this unbelievably mystifying—and often comical—Presidential election.
After the birthday festivities some schools continue the celebration by inviting an author to speak to their students about the writing process. That’s where I come in. Among other things I am a children’s author … and I love nothing more than speaking to a group of wide-eyed budding writers. I talk about my life and all the life experiences I have had that brought me to where I am today. On occasion I get the good fortune to share the adult version of my life with teachers, and remind them of the importance of their job and it’s life-altering affect on their students.
Lucky me—I have had a few school engagements this month. Just the thought of packing for a school visit trip makes me giddy. My husbands career and it’s constant moving potential made it a challenge for me to continue my career as a teacher. Plus, once we had a family we decided I should stay home and take care of our two children. So, 20 years ago traveling alone and sleeping in hotels was a perfect fit for my heart and life. I would fill my suitcase with all the magazines I never had time to read and treat myself to a brand new sleeping mask that I would leave on all night without a care. These days escaping a home filled with children is no longer a thing. Neither is sleeping in a hotel alone since “empty-nest” has me home alone most of the time. Thankfully unread magazines no longer fill my bag as there are far more important items I cannot travel without. First being my personal portable fan just in case the daily pills I take to ease my hot flashes are not working. My makeup bag is chock full of anti-wrinkle creams, eye brightening concealer stick and my faithful teaser comb to add volume to my drooping hair! These times may be a changing, but the happiness and satisfaction from these trips remains, and in many ways, is heightened.
All the packing aside, as a new dear friend was dropping me off at the train station, she said, “ Try to take it easy, two schools in just two full days sounds draining!” I smiled back and replied, ”No worries, I’m like a car with no gas pulling into a gas station to fill up!” Of course, truth be told, I am absolutely drained after spending two entire school days sharing stories about my life, my struggles, my accomplishments … but mostly I am inevitably revitalized, rejuvenated and “happied” too.
Moral: Find what fills up your tank and get yourself to your local “gas station!”
your lucky author friend,
A little person I met: At the end of the school day a sweet little fourth grade girl walked up to me and told me that meeting me was the best day of her life so far. She said, “ I understand how you felt being bullied in second grade.” After we hugged she looked into my eyes and said, “I’m not scared anymore after your words, I feel brave now.” ….and just like that my tank runneth over!
One of the little thank you letters I received from another sweet child I met.