Tag Archives: morning

Today I Pledge

It was a rough weekend. Anxiety pinched at my every breath. Couldn’t sleep, couldn’t stop thinking, couldn’t finish any of the tasks I had set for myself. Just…couldn’t.

It’s been a rough month, what with the pneumonia and the plumbing crisis and taxes to do and summer camp registrations and bleeding cash and still missing my dad and the pollen and the and and ands.

It’s been a rough year, even the parts I haven’t talked about. I’ve been getting quieter and quieter because I started believing the lie that there were stories I’m not allowed to tell. I spent too much time listening to the vicious little voice that says, “No one gives a shit what you think anyway.” I started carrying the weight of “but what if I hurt someone’s feelings if I say that?” I put my own hand over my own mouth then wondered why I felt so stifled.

So with all that said, I found myself sitting inside my car at Carlos’ school this morning and I realized that I was pretty close to happy. Jayla and I had made a pattern of beads. She took my hair out of its ponytail and said, “Let’s be pretty!” Reniya sat in my lap while we counted pegs and stacked them up to make the tallest tower we could. Caleb counted all the way to 20. Rico snuck up behind me so I could play our game where I look over my shoulder and pretend I can’t see him back there. Malak showed me her new pink sneakers. Jaden showed me his dance moves.

When the Good Morning Song played over the intercomm, we cleaned up the toys and pushed the chairs under the table, then the kids went to their spots on the rug. I kissed Carlos on the top of his head and whispered, “Have a great day. I love you.” I gave a couple of hugs to the ones who wanted one. I slipped out the side door of the school and walked across the empty parking lot as the Star Spangled Banner played. The PA system reaches out to the playground, so I can still hear what’s going on inside the building.

I sat in the car with the keys dangling from the ignition and my phone in hand. On busy mornings, that moment in the car is usually my first chance to gather myself and see how I am that day. Today, after all those airless moments this weekend, I found myself with a glimmer of happy, like a candle flame trying to get started. I looked out into the sun rising over the playground and breathed in some of the pink sky.

The teacher in charge of announcements read the menu for breakfast and lunch. She reminded everyone that tomorrow is superhero dress up day. Then she welcomed three little preschool kids who would be leading the school in the pledge that day. Each one hollered their name into the mic–so loud and proud I couldn’t really understand them. But their joy came through loud and clear.

They launched into the Pledge of Allegiance with verve. One little girl was going double-time so it kind of fell apart in the middle section. The teacher chimed in to get them back on track, and in unison they all wrapped it up on, “with liberty and justice for all.”

My heart twisted. That’s the part of the pledge that’s hardest to hear right now. For the past couple of years, being woke has worn me out. Once you’ve become attuned to the unjust parts of our system, whether it be sexism, racism, or economic chokeholds–it’s hard to believe it when we say “liberty and justice for all.” I have to remind myself that it’s a goal, not a done deal. That liberty and justice for ALL is what we’re working towards.

The happy started to dissipate under the weight. I could feel all that joy that I had stored up with my preK friends begin to flicker and fade.

But those kids on the microphone weren’t finished. Right after the Pledge of Allegiance, all the students at the Early Learning Center recite their school pledge, which goes like this:

Today I pledge to do my best

By being READY to learn

RESPONSIBLE for myself and

RESPECTFUL towards others.

I am an ELC Lion…hear me ROAR!

The trio doing morning announcements really threw themselves into that pledge today and I thank them for it. As their roars raced across the parking lot to where I sat alone in my car, I realized that I can believe in their simple pledge. Right now, every day.

I am ready to learn, even when the knowledge hurts.

I am responsible for myself, honoring my mind, body, and spirit.

I am respectful towards others, even those who disagree with me.

I am a tired but hopeful middle-aged white woman whose heart sometimes breaks in the parking lot….hear me ROAR.


Morning Magic

Wednesday morning, I drove over to Watkinsville for a meeting…that had been canceled.  No one thought to tell me. Oh well.  I was in such a good mood that there was no frustrating me with inconveniences.  When you find yourself in Watkinsville early in the morning and you haven’t eaten breakfast yet and you have a little time on your hands, what do you do?  This girl pops in to Waffle House for a Cheese and Eggs platter with grits, wheat toast, and sausage.  Aw, yeah!

I sat at the low counter because all the spinny seats at the high counter were taken.  On one perched a retired man in a cowboy hat with a peacock feather bobbing from the band.  The seat by the register held a prosperous looking fellow in an emerald green golf shirt who held up a full-page newspaper ad and told the waitress, “THAT is NOT Kim Kardashian.”  Obvious Photoshopping on the waistline.  In the center, a couple deep in their phones.

Ms V. took my order–she’s my favorite because one time Vivi and I went in there and they talked about sharing V names.  While the cooks did their thing, one of the younger girls started singing a pop song.  She wasn’t as entertaining as she thought she was.  Ms. V must not have approved because after she dropped off my plate, she walked over to the jukebox, pressed some magic button and started up something far better:  Alison Krauss and Gillian Welch singing “I’ll Fly Away” from the “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” soundtrack.


I couldn’t help it. Quietly, under my breath.  Just loud enough to hear myself…I started singing.

I’ll fly away oh glory
I’ll fly away in the morning
When I die hallelujah by and by
I’ll fly away

The Cheese and Eggs platter reminds me of my Grandmama Eunice.  In the summers when I was young, I spent the days with her while my parents and siblings worked.  Some days, she would fix me a big breakfast–eggs, sausage, grits and toast.  I liked to use the toast as a base, pile on a little dab of grits for mortar, then a little bit of egg, then a bite of sausage and eat it all together.  I still eat it that way at the Waffle House.  I was thinking of Grandmama Eunice and those breakfasts, singing “When the shadows of this life have gone, I’ll fly away,” when I realized that the woman beside me was singing too.  And the man with the newspaper was whistling along.  The peacock feather kept the beat.  Ms. V joined in on the chorus.


I’ll fly away oh glory
I’ll fly away in the morning
When I die hallelujah by and by
I’ll fly away
Just a few more weary days and then
I’ll fly away
To a land where joys will never end
I’ll fly away
I’ll fly away oh glory
I’ll fly away in the morning
When I die hallelujah by and by
I’ll fly away
I’ll fly away


A few hours earlier, my friend, Hannah, had shared this quote from J. B. Priestley:  “I have always been delighted at the prospect of  a new day, a fresh try, one more start, with perhaps a bit of magic waiting somewhere behind the morning.”  Amen.  I found my bit of magic at the Waffle House in Watkinsville, singing an old song with strangers.  My bill was $8 and I left a $20 for Ms. V.

Here’s to a new day, a fresh try, one more start!

morning magic

Wordless Wednesday–Bluebirds

Today is my first day of this new year.  I am so glad.  


The Navajo identify the Mountain Bluebird as a spirit in animal form, associated with the rising sun. The Bluebird Song is sung to remind tribe members to wake at dawn and rise to greet the sun:

Bluebird said to me,
“Get up, my grandchild.
It is dawn,” it said to me.

Ten True Things

Here’s a list of truisms that floated through my head this morning between 6:33 a.m. and 8:00 a.m.:  The Dreaded School Run.

  1. “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.”   (Ben Franklin, who clearly did not have Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert keeping him up until all hours.)
  2. “Never argue with a fool.  Onlookers may not be able to tell the difference.”  (Mark Twain.  This also applies to a grumpy 6 yr old.)
  3. “Charity begins at home.”  (My stepmother, Big Gay.  All the kindness in the world stems from the patience and love we share with each other at home.)
  4. “There’s a reason God gives children to young people.”  (My Grandmama Eunice, who raised several and did a fine job.)
  5. “Always pay attention to your rear view mirror.  What’s happening behind you can be far more dangerous than what’s going on in front.”  (Mom, who clearly drove with a snarl of little children in the back seat.)
  6. “Never buy a house on a yellow line street.”  (Vickie, my first realtor.  Who wants to raise kids in all that traffic?)
  7. “Don’t tailgate someone driving a Dodge.  They’re already mad and they’ve got nothing to lose.”  (Daddy)
  8. “What goes around, comes around.”  (Myself, laughing at the dumbass who PARKED in the drop off lane at school then couldn’t get out.  Hate it fer ya.)
  9. “Mind your pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves.” (Another from Big Gay, and the reason I had a yogurt instead of pulling through a drive through.)
  10. “Friends multiply your joy and divide your sorrow.”  (a coffee mug I saw once)