Thursday, June 25, 2009


I attended two promotions last week. Maia had her sixth grade promotion and Chongo finished up eighth grade. Both were flawless and smooth (my kids had come home sunburned from their hours of rehearsing), and neither was unbearably long or boring. It was in fact a lovely, meaningful transition, marking the end of one school and the beginning of another. And I was reminded of how important these traditions are, that it's worth the clothes shopping and the hour spent on the hair and the rush to be on time and orderly.

We live in a world where change is an everyday occurrence. We change jobs, schools, churches, spouses, neighborhoods, friends, wardrobes and cars far more often than our fore bearers did. Psychologists say change creates stress for most people, and if that's true we are getting more and more stressed out as a culture. But there are some traditions that honor these times of transition, because we know that it's important to celebrate and embrace change. To take time out to recognize that our lives are in flux, and that we feel a great deal at these moments. To say goodbye, to cry a little, and to let our stomachs flutter with anticipation at the new.

In our family we have been walking down to our local school for nine years. On the last day of school the 6th grade teachers led their kids through the school to say goodbye to the places and people they had spent the better part of their lives with. As a family, we sadly say goodbye to those days and the community we experienced at our neighborhood school. But we also welcome the new opportunities, the challenge of middle school and high school.

And there was one more ceremony. Chongo
had a church party for the eighth grade graduates. The youth leaders presented each eighth grader with a journal spoke about each of them with words that affirmed what they saw in them and appreciated about each of them.

In each of these transition ceremonies I felt the right-ness, the beauty of honoring this passage in my kids lives. In those moments I could not imagine any better place to be.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Wrong numbers

Today I had three calls which were wrong numbers. One was the standard "hello?"
"Is Maria there?"
"no, I think you have the wrong number" sort of call.
Two were messages on my answering machine. The first was the lovely voice of a receptionist from a local spa reminding me about a massage appointment for someone named Elizabeth. I called them back to let them know Elizabeth hadn't gotten the message. The only thing worse than not getting a massage is getting a phone call for someone else who is. The next message was actually for someone by my name, and this time, thankfully, NOT for me. Apparently my namesake had bounced the check she'd written to her cabinet maker. I called him back too, and wished him luck. He sounded pretty bummed out.
What do they say about things happening in threes? I tried to imagine what the universe was trying to tell me in three wrong numbers. But the only thing I understood was that I was not Maria, I did not have a massage appointment and I had not bounced a check.
Maybe that was enough to learn in one day.