Let It Go…

Let It Go…

This is not about Elsa. I promise.

“Sometimes memories sneak out of my eyes and roll down my cheeks.”


I came across this quote today and immediately found a story, a memory, I needed to tell.  As many of my pieces and words unravel I will take you down the yellow brick road of a moment; always bits of flying monkeys and poppies finding you face to face with a wizard at the end. Stick with me, and as my students sometimes say, “I gotchu.”

The day my father passed away all three of my kids had appointments to get the flu shot. That afternoon my husband got a ride to the Rockford airport to pick up my car where I had left it the week before and I sat at the kitchen table staring at a lone banana; tiny brown spots beginning to design the peel – splatter paint – polka dots – freckles. I memorized that banana in all its speckled, rotten glory.

When I decided to raise my head I saw the clock, stood up and yelled, “Kids! It is time to get your flu shots. Let’s go.” I remember them frozen in a sibling triangle staring at each other silently daring the other to ask me if I was joking; just an hour prior all of us were locked in a huddle missing Zayde, missing my father. I must have gotten in the car, turned it on and put it into drive because we were heading to 20 South Park. I began to cry hard loud sobs at the red lights, pools of tears at the stop signs, fountains of salty streams at the green lights. I cried at the registration desk; I cried in the waiting room and I cried in the arm of our nurse who delicately held 3 syringes in one hand and me in the other. I blubbered my way home and into a nap that lasted, well, a long time.

For a few years after this moment, every time the flu shot appointments hit the calendar, my kids would become hesitant to pile in my sweet ride of a blue minivan; not because of the potential pain from a needle poke, but for the fear that mom was going to lose it. I would watch them look at one another with quiet darting eyeballs and console, “I won’t cry today you guys,” and then we would all crack up.

The laughing is the Wizard my friends; now I take you behind the curtain. I think it is okay to be real with our children; to be human and show them truth; to thank them; to apologize to them; to cry in front of them.

Showing our kids we can overcome sadness and pain may give them the courage to not hold their own emotions captive; or it will make them fear flu shots for the rest of their life but I say, take the risk!     Tear Drop quote

Non, je ne regrette rien

Every time this commercial comes on I become transfixed; I stop everything I am doing, take in a loud, dramatic gasp of air and proclaim , “I love this commercial!” and pounce like a startled cat onto the couch; if I am already sitting on the couch I do the same thing; full circle spaz.

The first time this happened in front of my father I saw him shake his head with his eyes closed and he said “my daughter, my calm, emotionless daughter –  get chocolate if you want, you know where I keep it.”

But it wasn’t the chocolate; that’s not what did it.

After the hundredth time ( I also do not exaggerate at all) I reacted this way in front of my husband I saw him looking at me with his eyes in pensive slits and he said, “Jessie, you are not going to fly off to Paris in a blue dress are you?”

But it wasn’t the dress; that’s not what did it.

It was not her Peter Pan, sylph-like, untethered existence that tugged at my heart and made me teary and overly histrionic; nor was it the chocolate. I had plenty of that hidden in my freezer and in many other areas of the house.

So what was it? I knew for a fact it wasn’t the French. Mon Professeur, after my senior year in high school, could not wait to say AU REVOIR to MOI!

This past week I attended a conference called “Building the Heart of Successful Schools.” The keynote speaker, breakout sessions and closing speaker all focused around a handful of very important concepts – how to reach students who experienced trauma, how trauma affects their life and learning and how we as teachers need to take care of ourselves so we can take care of our students and our own families simultaneously. A local Madisonian, Jason Kotecki, introduced to us a concept called “young-dove-girl.” He had us log onto his website and take the adultitis test. My diagnosis was Stage 1 Adultitis; thankfully this stage of the disease can be easily treated by more play and less “Adulting.” All 450 of us teachers, nurses, counselors and therapists laughed after receiving our diagnoses; yet, this funny, creative and insightful man ended his speech with this somewhat heavy message, “Live everyday as if it could be your last because we do not know what tomorrow may bring. Wake up tomorrow with no regrets.”

Seven year old me understood this all too well.

Then it dawned on me, I got it!! The feline inside wanted to jump out of my seat and wave my hand and say, ‘Wait! I get it now, I get why I love the Dove commercial so much!!’ I also wanted to keep my job so I sat still, behaved myself and let this ‘AHA’ moment sink in.

The message of the Dove commercial is very clear, even if you did not pay attention in French class.

When your child asks, “Mom, can you come here? I want to show you something.”

What can possibly be more important?


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