Today at school is "dress up like what you want to be when you grow up" day.
When I was the students' age, I wanted to be an author and a mom.
So. Since I can't be a mom, I'm going to rekindle my elementary school dream.
I'm going to start posting every day. I won't have time to write every day, so some days I will post poems I've written in the past two decades.
This morning, one of the third grade special education students I've been trying to build trust with brought me a magnolia. He picked it from one of the "trees" we have growing in the "quad" area of our campus.
(The school I work with is housed in modular buildings. It's like a cheery trailer park, complete with xeriscaping of grey gravel/rocks. And the "trees" are in giant boxes.)
I don't see many magnolias in New Orleans. I don't know if it's too wet or hot here for them, but it's one sign that New Orleans is not really the South. So the fact that we have them on campus makes me really grateful.
Magnolias were a really important part of my childhood. We had a huge tree in our front yard, with lots of low, thick branches... making it the perfect climbing tree. My brother and I would dare each other to go up one branch higher each time, and as we grew taller, we were able to get nearly to the top. It taught us about teamwork: how to look out for each other and how to work together to accomplish a goal. It gave us shade and a hiding place. It also taught us risk, which is something children don't learn anymore in the litigious era.
We would pick magnolias for our mother, and in the month of June, our whole house smelled of crisp white goodness. At Christmas, she would line a non-working fireplace with their waxy green leaves.
The rest of the year, my brother and I would climb.
Magnolias smell like the best parts of my childhood:
innocence, laughter, playtime with my brother
the unconditional, unquestioning love of a child for her family