D.L. Mayfield

living in the upside-down kingdom

Filtering by Tag: elementary school

day 7

The baby was up at 4:45 today. Usually my husband gets up with him and feeds him breakfast and starts the french press. But I felt guilty this morning, since he is working all day and has a meeting at night. I got out of bed, feeling miserably tired. My daughter was awoken by the commotion, and I know she will crash emotionally this afternoon. It is dark outside and dark in my thoughts, I will forever be imprisoned by the needs and schedules and sensitivities of my children, my life will never be my own again, I will never sleep in I will never get to hang out with people I will never not have children that melt down between the hours of 4-6pm. I am cursing daylight savings in my mind, for putting us back ever farther than we already were on the no-sleep train.

Then later (it feels like so much later) we walked to school. We crunched the leaves and said hi to the people we know (more and more with each day). I am not friends with anyone besides us who has a car, and most people in the neighborhood walk. A mother asked how my baby is feeling. A father told us that his grandpa just died, that is why his son missed three days of school last week. Children streamed into the building, the vast majority of them getting their first meal of the day there. I realized that because of the time change, these children will not have to walk to school in the dark anymore. It will be just the tiniest bit safer for them, wandering the streets with no sidewalks to that bright, busy building where they spend so much time.

Tomorrow, when my baby wakes up much too early, I will think about this, the need for more light in our lives. And I will try to be grateful for the sun that is just starting to come out, to cast a glow on all these precious souls, even if it might be hidden behind clouds as far as the eye can see. 

day 2

I have a photo that I treasure, that I have carried with me on so many moves. It is a picture of when I first started mentoring a family of Somali Bantu girls, it was taken at a brown and barren school playground at the height of summer. Me, with short brown hair, squinting into the sun, arms draped awkwardly around the girls, being a good volunteer. The girls stare straight into the camera, no smiles, all fierceness. At that time, I was living with a friend on the outer edges of Portland, sleeping hard at night and spending most of my days at Bible College or my Starbucks job or hanging out with refugees. But this day I had driven the girls over to my neck of the woods to play at the park across the street. Someone, I don't remember who, but probably my roommate who I call Jan in my book (the person who first introduced me to the refugees), took my picture with the three girls. Sometimes, even to this day, one of the younger two will pick up the picture and make a comment about it, how young they looked, how they weren't wearing headscarves yet. 


Today, I walked by that exact same spot. It's over a decade later, and my daughter now attends that same elementary school. Would I have ever guessed at the cycles of my life? This picture I have carried and prayed over as if it were an icon, keeping me close to these girls even as they spread out, ever farther away from me--I have come back to it. That grass, that broken playground equipment, is now a part of my home. I walk around the edges of the school, and I see the kids running and hear their shrieks from long distances away. Oh, the great cloud of witnesses must look like this. Little children, of every size and color, pumping their legs as fast as they can, hoping to break free of all that constrains them.




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