I’m working in a 3rd grade classroom this fall launching reading workshop. The classroom teacher and I have not always seen eye-to-eye so I was a bit nervous entering her classroom.
Last week, while teaching a lesson on what it means to have a reading life, I shared a bit of my life as a reader. I became an avid reader despite having no memories of being read to. When I was seven, my mother gave me a beautiful book of fairy tales illustrated by Tasha Tudor. The words were too hard for me to read, but I spent hours looking at the pictures. I still have the book. It is a prized possession. I told the students about my love for this book and how I always wished I could have a dress like Cinderella’s. After my lesson, a young Vietnamese girl came up to me and said, “Mrs. Miner, when you showed us that book, I was in a whole new world.” That may be one of my happiest teaching moments.
In looking for a photo, I just learned that I own a first edition of this fairy tale book. I love that my mother took the time to find a book she thought I would love. Later, I discovered more of Tasha Tudor’s work and her passion for gardening.
Tasha Tudor lived in New England, was the daughter of a portrait artist, and believed that if you had only a little money, you should buy as many of one kind of flower as possible to make a big splash. I love that.
I spent most of the summer being Grandma. It felt so good to see my children as parents of interesting, capable, young people. We welcomed a new baby, an 8 lb. 12 oz. wonderful boy. Even though I don’t feel “old” enough to have 10 grandchildren, I am deeply grateful for each one. My summer–in a list:
- played and swam at the pool
- treated to ice cream
- spent a fortune on groceries
- cooked and cleaned; repeated often
- read books
- pitched balls
- sang lullabies
- went to a hiphop program
- watched softball games
- hiked in the woods
- washed little clothes
- rocked the baby
- fed the yellow lab, Champ
- got to know Charlie, the labradoodle puppy
- pushed strollers
- marveled at the wonder of childhood
In this time of uncertainty in the world, it comforts me to know family love thrives–that imperfect people can join in loving ways, forgiving when necessary and laughing often. When my kids get going on rapid-fire text messaging, all five of them join in, communicating in the familiar patterns that define sibling relationships. I’m happy to be included, although I have to be quick-fingered to keep up. Mostly, I smile.
I’m still transitioning to full-speed-ahead teaching, but I carry warm, summer memories to sustain me in the days ahead.
Note: Hoping to bring “greenbelt” writing to my teachers and their students! Thank you, Ralph Fletcher! I attended the JoyFest in Maine with Ralph Fletcher and Barry Lane. More about that next time!