I'm learning to create slide shows using all kinds of Apple programs. These are not the old slide shows from when I was small. Countless Sunday evenings my grandmother would visit for dinner and my father would take out the old slide projector and line up each slide just right so that we could view and review the last few weeks of our lives again in pictures. It was always so much fun. I'll never forget my Uncle John's slide show when he photographed my Aunt Doris slicing a banana and then showed it in reverse order so that the banana went back together. I was about 8 or 9 and I remember laughing so hard!
These days slide shows are much easier to create. Choose pictures, upload, set to music, edit, delete, and show. My husband created a fantastic one from our California trip last year that we've watched over and over again. It takes us back in time and gives us back those days if just for a moment. We see the moments when we all posed, when we were lost in wonder at the geysers in Yellowstone, when we were enjoying meals together, when we were having fun.
Life - not so much. These days are speeding by. I haven't blogged since August when I started my new job. I've thought of so many things I was going to write, like Take Your Vitamins, because it's full speed ahead in August and September getting the kids back to school. Like Catch Your Breath, because when I'm watching the boys round second in fall baseball, I'm reminded of how I feel when I've run the race of the day and I'm so relieved to get home and take a breath. And Gear Up because the holidays are approaching. But I can't even catch up because the days are "advancing" by and I wish I could change the transition time, the duration, like I can on Power Point. I wish I could edit out all the moments when I'm not my best, when I forgot the 'camera' was on and the kids were listening and I snapped a little to quickly at the spilled milk and the story of forgotten homework or a poor test grade. I wish I could go back and crop the picture that reveals a little too much of my bad side and my bad hair day, and I hope the kids don't remember those moments. I hope they remember a mom who always had time for them and listened when they told a story, the Whole story. A mom who put down and turned off the cell phone, instead of trying to listen and text at the same time and doesn't look up, and says "I'm listening- I just have to do one thing more." Forget the crime of texting and driving, how about texting and listening. Instead I try to multitask and say I could never get it done without doing it all at once, but I'm not doing well at all.
In my new classroom we are learning to do small things well. Lucy Calkins talks about the Small Moments and just focusing on one when we write our stories. I'm learning as I'm teaching it. We focus on just capital letters in one assignment, just word wall words in another, and maybe by February we'll do it all a little better. We'll remember to use capitals and periods and adjectives in our writing. We can go back and edit and review and make it 'look pretty.'
The year is already a quarter of the way done. The first graders I'm with have already lost teeth, lost some of the baby-fat I saw in their first pictures of the school year. Four of the six people in this house are in new schools, high school, middle school, Catholic School. The slide show keeps advancing. I want to go back the way my father could and see the days again and say, "Wait, can you go back? Zoom in, right there, who was that at the party?" "What were we eating?" "What were we laughing so hard about?" He was always very patient with the slide show. He would take his time and my grandmother would tell stories about each person in the pictures and bring us up to date with any news about cousins and aunts and all the people in the pictures. Maybe that's the lure of SportsCenter in this house, you get to rewatch and review everything in sports all day long. Real life, not so much.
Matt just got home from a Boy Scout camping trip that consisted of three days, two nights and two states. When we were waiting for him to get home last night, my husband said, "We'll never get the whole story. We've missed so much." We'll never hear the play by play of his days away from us. We'll never know what his life was like those three days, the driving, the conversation, the people, the views, the hiking, the pitching of the tent, the cooking, the sleeping, the camping. We'll get snippets of his days and a few weeks from now he'll say, "Oh yeah, I never told you this... I forgot about this..." We'll get the cropped story, the slide show version and that's ok. But I'll be sure to put my cell phone away and listen, because there is no replay on those days.