Monday, August 30, 2010

A Day At The Park

My summer vacation is soon coming to a bittersweet end, as is the summer itself. My first year teaching seemed to have wrapped up just as quickly as it had begun. And now, just like that, another school year is fast approaching. My summer began with good intentions for the ten weeks to come. I would get some work done, do some curriculum planning, make materials, organize some files, and the list goes on and on. Of course (and I’m sure to no one’s surprise) I have done none of this. 

Snoozing in Central Park
Truth be told, by the time June had finally rolled around, I was burned out. My first year teaching was wonderful and eye opening, but also tough and scary—and, in other words, utterly exhausting. While I indeed started out with high hopes and ambitions for the summer break, I also was ready to grant myself a little bit of time to be idle. A little scrap of time to just relax and actually turn my mind off to work. I had spent six challenging months doing the Working Mom thing, and to be quite honest, I was absolutely desperate to shed that part of my identity for two and half months and just be Lina’s mom for a while, with no distractions. And so, as a result, I haven’t gotten any work done yet. So on Friday, I had decided that I would spend the afternoon getting a little bit organized. But just as I was settling in to get started (I swear!) it dawned on me that my carefree summer afternoons with Lina are numbered. So, in true procrastinator style, I put away my notebook, promised to get to it later, and headed to Central Park.

Lina is still relatively new to this world, and one responsibility I love that comes with being her Mama is that I get to introduce her to the strange and interesting world she finds herself in. Over the last nine weeks, Lina has become well acquainted with my absolute favorite place in all of Manhattan—Central Park. After arriving on Friday through E. 72nd Street, Lina quickly grew tired of being restricted to her stroller and began protesting for a better view, to be up with me, in the cozy familiar space she’s claimed on my hip. From up here, it’s easier for her to see it all, the rare space of this city that is calm and slow moving. Busy streets and narrow sidewalks and tall buildings are all replaced with towering trees and a kind of quiet stillness that is still somehow bustling with the energy and excitement of New York City. From up on my hip, I’m able to whisper into her ear an explanation for all of the exciting sights and sounds we are taking in…

This small woman on the bench is playing something called a violin. Do you hear that beautiful sound? It’s called music, and her eyes are closed because she’s playing something that must be special to her. And do you see those two skinny men, down that path? They're tap dancing with their feet. Maybe you’ll be a dancer one day, Lina. And that couple over there, walking under those big trees, all alone. They're having their picture taken to celebrate their engagement. That means they’re getting married because they’re in love, which is the most wonderful thing. I wonder who you’ll marry…

I fill my daughter’s ears with anything that comes to mind, as if I’m having a conversation with an old friend. Lina laughs and screams and ooohhhs and ahhhhhs in response to it all. Then I give her a lick of my ice cream and she smacks her lips excitedly and kicks her legs, her way of telling me she’s enjoying herself too. I know she won’t remember this day when she’s older. But she remembers it now, and that, to me, is just priceless. A day much better spent than by doing lesson plans.

3 comments:

  1. You're an awe-inspiring momma :)

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  2. aw thanks laura :) you're an awe-inspiring friend

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  3. Oh my gosh. This gave me goosebumps. I can't wait to be able to visit you and see you as a mother. What lucky girl Lina is!

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