Welcome to this peaceful spot on the internet, and thank you for your patience as we move together through this time of transition! Pour yourself a cup of tea and let’s get to know one another.

As I write this, it is Easter Sunday. While I woke early, made coffee, hid Easter baskets, made cinnamon rolls for breakfast, and spoke with my eldest child on the phone for over an hour, my health eventually got the better of me and I spent much of the day in bed. I have been coming to terms with many things lately- my health challenges, my work schedule, my dreams and goals, my children’s needs. I feel like there is so much inside of me, so many different people I want to be. Honestly, deep down, I have the same unsettled feeling I had at 18. I thought I would have outgrown it by now. But, here we are.

I love a good blog series, and I haven’t done one in a bit. Recently I came across an old Gateways article called Six Gestures for the Waldorf Early Childhood Educator. After reading the article, I realized that while the author is correct in stating this predispositions (or gestures as she calls them; I am choosing to call them gifts) in teaching are closely aligned with the child from zero to eight, they also are helpful to give our elementary , middle school, high school, and even college-age children. Why do I choose to call them gifts? Because I believe that these six ways of being do not always come naturally. To be blunt and honest, in this COVID-era when we’re often all stuck together in close quarters, sometimes my inclination is not to follow these six parenting guidelines at all, but rather to do the opposite. There have been times I have wanted to yell, to disappear, to hide away. There have been times my own life has not been worthy of imitation, but rather, a stunning example of what NOT to do.

Steadfast I stand in the world
With certainty I tread the path of life
Love I cherish in the core of my being
Hope I carry into every deed
Confidence I imprint upon my thinking. ~ Rudolf Steiner


I’ve reached the point in this pandemic where I’m just not quite sure how I feel anymore.

I’m tired.

I’m overwhelmed.

I’m missing my friends.

I’m excited for these extra moments with my children, which seem like gifts, while at the same time longing for some time alone.

I keep starting and deleting and restarting and then forgetting new posts, so I decided to take the easy way out and bullet point things.

  • My youngest two will be cyberschooling with a Waldorf/Montessori twist for the next two years.
  • My middle boys, who have a spot at the local creative and performing arts magnet school, will keep their spots but also be schooling from home, at least this year.
  • My two college kids are home this semester as well.

On our way to our classroom today, a little girl looked me in the eye and said “There was a shooting.”
“Yes,” I replied.
Another child turned around, panic in her eyes. “There was a shooting? Where??”
Before I could answer, the first little girl did it for me. “In Squirrel Hill. That’s why I didn’t have a lunch today. My daddy is there and he couldn’t leave. So I just had snacks instead.”
I fielded a few more questions and tried my best to hold the space. Yes, someone who was angry and full of hate used a gun to hurt people. I didn’t mention that it happened in a house of worship because we were in a church. I didn’t mention the targeting of a Jewish congregation because we are a multi-faith program. I didn’t mention that people were murdered. I didn’t even mention the exact location, because Pittsburgh is a surprisingly small town for a big-ish city, and everyone has some sort of connection to every place, including Squirrel Hill.
I spent an extra long time on our physical warm ups today. I put on soothing music and helped the children feel grounded and safe in their own bodies. I was extra careful to make sure we all had space and that no one was bumping into one another. For a singing class, we did an awful lot of talking today. We talked about asking before touching. We talked about respect. We talked about peace. We talked about collaboration. We talked about how much more complex our partner clapping patterns were when we took the time to listen to one another and collaborate. We sang. We moved. We played. We danced.
It was hot, as the room always is. We knew that since the church was on lockdown, we dare not open the windows.
Then, on the bathroom break, that first little girl melted. I checked in with her to make sure she was doing OK since she didn’t get a whole lunch. She said she had a headache. She said her stomach was like acid. She asked for more food and water and to sit in the hall, away from the chaos. She asked for me to sit with her.
We sat and I held her water as she ate her granola bar and fishies. I made her giggle when I told her to pull down the wrapper so she didn’t accidentally eat it like a goat. I said that would not make her tummy feel any better. I asked if she wanted to talk about anything.
She told me her great-grandfather died, and that she missed him. He used to give her caramels. I told her about my great-grandmother, who we used to call Bubble Gum Nanny because she gave us gum whenever we came to visit. She said she missed her great grandpa. I said I still miss my great grandma. We always miss and love the people we care about when they leave us.
She did not mention the shooting.
Back in the classroom, acting out the folktale Abiyoyo, the children rehearsed. They sang. They moved. They played. They danced. They threw themselves into the moment in a way that only children can. We adults tried to hold the space, attention divided. We tried to be a little extra patient and a little extra loving.
Leaving the room, she slipped her hand in mine. “Can I walk with you, Ms. Annette?” she asked. “Of course,” I said, giving her hand a squeeze. “Absolutely.”
Nothing about this day is about me. It’s about my Jewish friends and the ugliness that knocked down their Temple door. It’s about the children who are confused and angry and feel unsafe. “It isn’t fair,” one said. “We shouldn’t have to live like this.”
They shouldn’t.
I don’t know the script for a day like today. There is no choreography. Improvising the answers for children who deserve so much better seems sloppy. There are not enough trainings and active shooter drills in the world to make you feel sufficiently rehearsed for a day like today.
And so, for the children, we hold ourselves together. We sing. We move. We play. We dance.
We listen.
We love.

Calendar of the Soul

[October 07, 2018 – October 13, 2018]

Twenty-eighth Week

I can, in newly quickened inner life,
Sense wide horizons in myself.
The force and radiance of my thought —
Coming from soul’s sun power —
Can solve the mysteries of life,
And grant fulfillment now to wishes
Whose wings have long been lamed by hope.

autumn leaf

(From Calendar of the Soul, Week 28, translation  by Ruth and Hans Pusch)

Head, heart, and hands.

Thinking, feeling, and doing.