The Princess Has Left The Room

Holding the silky white pieces of fabric, shaped like medieval banners, tinged in pink with golden symbols and connected to each other with soft pink ribbon, was causing my heart to ache. This fabric of childhood dreams and fantasy, once the subject of delight and joy needed to be folded and put away. This banner accompanied by light purple, gauzy draperies wrapped around the posts of a four poster bed, once daintily draped the top of my daughter’s white canopy bed. The fabric, slightly faded and stained, was showing it’s age.

I embraced the solemness of the moment as I folded. I gave myself permission to reminisce and honor the princess who once slept and dreamed of her kingdom in a bed adorned by princess draperies, It was time to accept the princess was no longer in residence.

Watching little princesses grow into strong, confident women is not a new experience for me. This was the fourth princess in my life to disappear. I knew to not be shocked or even surprised, but darn it if this moment didn’t catch me by surprise and take my breath away for just a moment.

This casual moment of redecorating, changing the princess canopy out for shiny, colorful marbleized globe lights, was placed too close in a week’s timeline that began with dropping the next oldest sister at college in North Carolina. Time, slippery and unforgiving, was continually marching forth, changing princesses to teenagers to college undergrads. I was feeling the full force of it and it was causing my heart to hurt.

I calmed my heart and finished my work. I took a moment to survey the bedroom and understand I needed to make space for new memories. The princess may have left the room, but a beautiful, artistic, blossoming young woman was taking residence. She is making this former Princess bedroom her own. She is in the process of finding her voice and unique sense of style. If I’m lucky, if I pay attention closely, she will invite me to her world and show me all the goodness that can be found there.

The princess may have left, but the kingdom remains cloaked in globe lights, photos of friends, dirty clothes, books, an overstuffed school backpack, pointe shoes, strength, and beauty. She is destined for greatness.

I love you but your room is a mess…..

My youngest daughter Sierra has a beautiful gentle soul and loves to draw. She composes poetry, short stories and essays as ritualistically as breathing. She has the voice of a songbird, delicate, light and often imperceptible. She is blonde, beautiful, long-legged and swiftly surpassing me and her sisters in height. Sierra’s beautiful, uniquely wonderful qualities are beginning to mix with a disastrously messy room. She is standing on the brink of womanhood alternately embracing then running from the experience. She is thirteen going on fourteen.

My youngest son, Aidan helps me through the transition of his slightly older sister. His is 10 going on 11 and sees the world with clear, introspective eyes.His hormones have not erupted into a drill sergeant directing his thoughts and actions, at least, not yet.As the youngest of six, he has observed his teenage siblings with awe, wonder, and compassion. He understands them in a way many parents can not, and routinely offers me advice.

Aidan and I developed a little game to entertain ourselves during our journey between his sisters’ school drop off and the 15 traffic lights (I’ve counted them) to his school. A typical morning drive to school generally summons a reminder to play.

Slam! our car shudders in response to the departure of Sierra and her 17 year old sister. Hunched by the weight of their backpacks, they slog up the few steps to the school door. Disgust and exhaustion compete for top billing on their faces. I watch them briefly, sigh, and remember when they would skip instead of slump. The game commences.

“Have a nice day!” “Thanks Mom for the ride!” “Love you!” Aidan and I chant appropriate responses for the girls. We offer up the thank you for them, knowing it has been buried in the temporary darkness invading their hearts.

Aidan finishes the round of play. “I will never be that way Mom, I promise. I will NOT get the teenage disease.”

The Teenage Disease: Aidan’s artfully coined term that guides one needing to learn to live with young adults in transition.

The teenage disease grants perspective. I can detach from the emotional onslaught of anger, bitterness and joy that often shows up in waves within a short 30 minute car ride. These emotions are only symptoms. Remembering the afflicted reminds me to offer compassion instead of judgement. It summons portions of the endless amounts of patience required of a mother of teens.
The teenage disease.

It has many symptoms: depression, moodiness, exhaustion, hunger, disorganization, strength, intense focus, deep introspection, and creativity. The often troubling concern with the teenage disease is that these symptoms can all be experienced within a 24 hour period, and often with great intensity. As a care provider to sufferers of the teenage disease, I generally measure its level of influence by walking into a patient’s bedroom or glancing into their school backpack. Each venue offers a true reflection of the internal struggle. The morning car ride often also serves as a quick assessment.

What Aidan and I discuss as we drive past those 15 stop lights is that this disease will not win. It is not terminal. Sure, it takes hold, often raging body and mind for years, but it does subside and the patient will be restored. Mercifully, the victims of the teenage disease often experience short periods of remission, little futuristic glimpses of a restored whole person more incredible than anything we could ever hope for. It’s a long, arduous battle fighting the teenage disease, but with love, patience, prayer, and lots of pizza, we always win.

More Amazing Student Bloggers

I’ve finished the evaluations of student blogs for the second five weeks of the semester. (Can you hear the angels singing?) The evaluation form I used held expectations for not only  blog content, but  use of Twitter, and Facebook pages created specifically for their professional blogs. It’s been a LOT of writing for the students, and therefore, a lot of reading for me.

This is my first experience teaching new media writing skills, and the use of social media tools as a platform for those skills. It has been an incredibly valuable educational experience for me, not only as an educator, but as a writer too. It’s also been an incredible amount of work. But just like I tell my student’s, “anything worth doing takes effort and time.”

As I read some my student’s work, I am impressed by their passion and talent. All of the students are “traditional college age”. This means they are the future. Some college Juniors and many Seniors on the edge of graduation, they are getting ready to launch into their careers and begin taking on the role(s) of leadership. What a privilege for me to be able to influence these future leaders and help them refine their talent. Add these student blogs to your reading list and you will understand exactly what I mean.

Jessica Drogemuller: Jess’s blog, “Fact or Pintion” expresses the heart of one of the latest social media tool superstars, Pinterest. Her casual, witty narrative style, personal photos, and use of Pinterest to promote her blog is making a mark on the blogosphere. She was nominated for an award by a fellow novice blogger; a first for our class. Congrats to Jesse.

Jerracah Heibel: Jerracah’s blog, “Paws for a Cause” reflects her passion for animals. It presents a wonderful introduction to the diverse issues related to animal cruelty, advocacy, and local (Cleveland, OH) concerns. Jerracah has partnered with a local shelter in hopes to help them with placement of dogs and cats needing forever homes.

Chris Perry: I’ve bragged about Chris and his blog, 216Artist before, but what can I say. Within two months, this kid has acquired 106 Twitter followers! He said in his reflective essay, “…I have seen great success in the first few weeks of my blogging experience, and look forward to the future of what my writing and social media can do for me as a young professional in the workforce.” You go Chris!

Olena Orlova: Olena’s blog, “Wine & Dine: Eating Your Way Across the Cultures” is an excellent mix of education, culture, and food. Don’t read it on an empty stomach. I learned so much about wine, crepes, and Ukrainian holidays while I perused (evaluated) her blog. It is truly inspiring and delicious. Our family dinners will never be the same.

Ryenn Lyons: Ryenn’s blog, “A Peaceful Panic” focuses on informing readers of news, concerns and  life experiences of those  suffering from anxiety. Although she is still working on connecting to Twitter and Facebook, start following her blog now. It’s artful design, well-researched content, and delicate treatment of a common health problem will make a large impact on readers.

 

I won!

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Photo Credit: Micah Spoerndle, photographer extraordinaire

I jumped into the water and it paid off. I read about a writing contest sponsored by a fellow WordPress blogger and knew I had to submit. I keep saying, “Someday, I’ll get around to submitting work”, but never do. I usually have a thousand excuses, none of which really hold water. The contest deadline was scheduled for my daughter’s birthday. The submission detail easy and efficient. I opened an email, attached the file and clicked “send”.

Too late to retrieve it. It was out in cyberspace and the deed was done. Good for me! Or was it?

My effort was rewarded. My work recognized. Thank you, Luann for sponsoring this contest. Thank you for encouraging me to remember writing is meant to be shared. Thank  you for my honorable mention.

Read more here: http://writersite.org/2013/09/30/honorable-mention-for-ian/

Feeling blessed