Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Top Ten: Little Shifts.

Sometimes I look up and realize that something that I have done or someone that I've seen on a regular basis has gone away. I realize that I miss those moments, those people and that part of my routine. Though I try to savor times and moments, sometimes I don't fully appreciate what I had until it's gone.

Oh, how cliche.

I'm sitting at my kitchen table. Drinking a cup of coffee. And thinking of how tiny shifts in life can shift you away from some of your favorite things. Such teeny-weeny adjustments that you pause and later realize were seismic. Like changes in the seasons. You welcome the next but at some point miss seeing the fireflies or hearing leaves crunch under your feet. Stuff like that.

I'm not talking about things like your best friend moving across the country or your children moving away. But then again, maybe I am because changes like those leave you missing little itty-bitty things. Like, for example, when Harry is out of town, I obviously miss him in major ways. But I also miss things like brushing my teeth beside him or sniffing his clothes to see if they smell like fabric softener (clean) or soap (his perpetual scent.) Fortunately, he doesn't leave town often enough for me to miss such things.

So my point. Oh yeah, that. It's that we all probably ache for some of the smallest things at times. Or at least pause and smile when we reflect upon them.

I wrote a little top ten about it. Like to hear it? Here it go.

#10  -- Mr. Brown.

When Isaiah was in kindergarten, he took the bus to school. We decided that it ended up being too long of a day, so we shifted to dropping him off. Every morning, I used to wait at the bus stop with him and every morning, we both greeted Mr. Brown, his bus driver. What a delightful soul! I would instruct Isaiah to always start off with, "Good Morning, sir!"or "Hello, Mr. Brown!"

And he would. And Mr. Brown would say, "Well hello, sir!" or "I'm good and you, Isaiah?"

Every single day.

On days that I was hustling out of the door, he would patiently give me time and smile and shrug like it was no big deal when I came huffing and puffing to the curb in a robe. I appreciated that.

I learned that he retired this year. That kind of made me sad because even though I miss him, it never felt permanent until then.

#9  -- Glenda, the Good Witch.

Our mail carrier for the first several years we lived here was a woman named Glenda. She would cover mail in plastic on rainy days and put packages in safe places. She'd leave us cards for holidays and even once left puzzles for the boys.

She always signed everything, "Glenda, the Good Witch."

We always left her gifts at Christmas and even figured out her birthday. Her route changed last year and just like that, we don't see her any more. She did remember to leave the kids a Christmas card last year, though.

I miss her.

#8  -- One cup coffee maker.

I used to have one, and sometimes I miss it. Harry gave up caffeine earlier this year so it would have come in handy now that I'm the only one on the pot. It has made me drink a little more coffee but oh well. There are worse things.

I don't miss those expensive pod thingies, though.

#7  -- Pre-Schoolin' it.

Zachary's preschool was small. The families were like a family of their own and the teacher had been with many of the kids since she'd departed their last school and opened this one. Pickup was like happy hour. We'd stand around and shoot the breeze. Laugh out loud. Walk out of the door empty-handed because that chat ended up leading to an impromptu playdate.

I especially loved and still love Zachary's teacher, Ms. Heidi. She remains a good friend of our family, but something about not going there every day to see her just isn't the same. We all cried crocodile tears on the last day he was there.

#6  --  Camp PaPa.

Okay. I talk to my dad every day. And I've lived away from him since I was eighteen years old and now I'm a few days shy of forty two. As all of you know, my boys go to Los Angeles to spend 4 weeks with him every summer. During that time, I love the joy in Poopdeck's voice when they are there. It is quite possibly the happiest I've heard him in a long, long time and seeing as my dad is a VERY happy person at baseline--that is saying a whole lot.

Whenever they return, I miss that sound in his voice. Especially since, when they first return, it gets replaced with this wistfulness that makes my heart hurt.

I am blessed to have him. So are they. I know that. But I still miss him with them and the loftiness of his voice.

#5 -- Small Group Alpha.

This was my first small group of medical students that I began advising on their first day of medical school in 2007. They are all in residencies now and I hear from them often. Two of them were here in Atlanta last year so it made the rest of them feel near. This year they are in San Francisco, New York City, Washington D.C., Chicago, Detroit, and St. Louis. Even though they send me sweet messages and updates, this week I acutely missed seeing their smiling faces twice per week.

I miss that time.

#4  -- Coach B. 

Last year, like a crazy woman, I had my sons at two different after school programs. One program didn't take Pre-K kids and the other was the one Isaiah had already been a part of in kindergarten and didn't want to leave. Oh, did I mention? They both attend the same school.


So every day when I picked up Zachary from his after school program, I would walk in and see Coach Katie B. sitting in the office with a walkie talkie. Initially, we would simply greet one another and she'd call for Zachary. But over time, we developed a friendship. Those brief snippets were punctuated by stories about her work in a downtown homeless shelter, her daughter who happens to be a Grady nurse AND a newly wed, her grand baby that was born last year, and sometimes nothing much at all. She's an avid runner and on some days I would just lament about my horrible-ness when it comes to running and she would always smile and encourage me.

I will always remember the day I got stuck in traffic and reached after care nearly twenty minutes late. When I arrived, she was sitting on a chair reading a book to my baby. She didn't look annoyed or anything. In fact, she was so gracious that every single time I imagine that day, it makes my eyes sting.

Now that the boys are both at the after care program closer to my home, I realize how much I miss those every day meetings. I still see her directing traffic in front of the school or waving when I pass through the carpool lane but it isn't the same.

I miss that time, too.

#3 --  The best next door neighbors ever.

Dave and Beth lived directly beside us until last summer. Our relationship has been authentic from the very start and they have become like family to us. Their kids are all grown up, but they have two big dogs who are as fun loving as our boys and could quite possibly be two of the most FUN people we have ever met.

We always affectionately called each other "the best next door neighbors ever."  And we especially said that on the late nights on their patio during Camp PaPa where we drank red wine and smelled the aroma of Dave's cigars.

Which reminds me. Dave always smokes a cigar after work, and the smell of it is something I associate with being home and off of work in the evening. It would waft over the fence and into my yard and Isaiah would always say, "Mr. Dave is home!"

Crazy enough. I miss that smell.

Dave and Beth moved literally four houses around the corner from us. We can throw a rock at their house through our back yard so really they aren't gone. But they aren't our next door neighbors any more and I miss that. Our new ones are nice. They are.

They just aren't Dave, Beth, Moosey and Chancey. (The last two are the dogs.)

#2  --  Mrs. Reed.

Mrs. Reed was Isaiah's first grade teacher last year. What I will say is that she changed our lives. She changed my life. That is all I can say without crying.

She also works in after care with Coach B. I really miss seeing her there and also knowing that she is Isaiah's teacher. His new teacher is amazing, too. And just maybe I will fall in love with her as well. But something about that year with Mrs. Reed will always feel divine.


#1  --  Body Pump.

I used to faithfully go to my Body Pump class at the YMCA on two early mornings each week. The regulars were there and we'd all moan and grown as Lisa K. our awesome instructor whipped our backsides into shape. Everyone looked a hot ass mess because it was at 6 am and that was part of the bonding, I suppose. We'd push each other to do push ups and nudge each other to add more weight or not give up.

Now that the kids are in school it's hard to make that class. I miss that specific work out, yes. I miss the people and the experience far more.

Bonus one:

Fox 5 Good Day Atlanta.

I used to go there every single week to talk about medical topics on local television. They had some management changes so our schedule coming changed, too. It was amicable and I do still come here and there, just not weekly. It was a lot of work and often a hassle to fit into my schedule but people in the community really seemed to appreciate it. The camera guys, the security dude, and all of the people in the background are surprisingly what I miss the most. You'd think I'd mostly miss the "being on TV" part.


I loved talking to people in the grocery store about what I'd talked about or even at the park. It helped me connect to more people and was my favorite part of doing that piece of media so regularly.

And perhaps this is why I love connecting with all of you here so much.

If you weren't here, I'd miss you, too.

That's all I've got this morning.

Happy Wednesday.

How 'bout this 80's jam for your mental iPod? "Seasons Change" by Expose. Yes. I just said Expose. You're welcome.


  1. First, I love this post, every bit of it. Second, I know exactly what you mean about those special women who have loved and taught not just our children, but us. Made my eyes sting to think of them. Mine was the Kindergarten teacher who taught both my kids. Never met anybody else quite like her, she's magical.
    Thanks for sharing so much good today, it was balm for my soul.

    1. Thank you for these kind words, Mel. I know that eye sting when it comes to your children's teachers.

  2. What an awesome post! Ok, I'm going to try to do a top 10.

    1. Miss Ollie. She was my daughter's bus driver last year. Every. Single. Day. She drove up with the biggest smile you've ever seen. I loved her, but more importantly, the kids on that bus loved her and felt loved by her. Her daughter got sick and she had to quit at the end of the year to care for her.

    2. Mrs. R, now, I missed her but we have her again. :) She was Tori's Kindergarten teacher. Tori had social anxiety and didn't speak to anyone until Thanksgiving that year. Mrs. R. was amazing. Tears. My baby girl was healed of her social anxiety in Mrs. R's class and now she's a social butterfly! She is in 3rd grade this year and has Mrs. R again. <3

    3. Having a community. I am a square peg in a round hole where we live and have been since we moved here. I miss being around people that KNOW me and love me.

    4. The ocean. It is my happy place. It is impossible for me to stand on the shoreline and look out and not realize how small I make God in my every day life. Looking at the ocean reminds me how awesome He is.

    5. Cousins. Growing up my cousins were my best friends. Ha! Here's an interesting tidbit that will shock some people. I am a Gypsy (please don't believe everything you read or see on reality tv) and we were incredibly clannish. Now we have all scattered and my kids don't even know their cousins.

    6. Horses. My family was filled with horse trainers and horse traders and we always had horses. I miss the feel of all of that power beneath me. The freedom of racing them across plowed fields. The smell of tack room; the combination of leather, oats, and hay. Bliss.

    7. A good hair stylist. I have not found one here that does what I want them to do.

    8. Friday Night Football. I love football. :) However, I don't have a son playing anymore and it's just not the same. Plus, my daughter is not enamored with it so we haven't been to a game in a couple of years. I miss the chill in the air, the sound of the band, the game, the town spirit.

    9. Chicago. I went to college not far from there and going into the city was always the best. Hot dogs, the best deep dish pizza ever! Michigan Ave. The heartbeat.

    10. Floating the river. We love to spend time at the river in the summer. It's like from the moment we get there reality is locked away and we are sucked into a vacuum of peace and serenity. The drought has taken a toll on the river though and it hasn't been deep enough to enjoy since the beginning of the summer.

    1. love, love, love every drop of this top ten. Yes to great teachers and awesome bus drivers, Yes to communities that feel organic and the ocean that is always organic. Thumbs up to cousins and also to good hair stylists. Like horses but they scare me. Football on Fridays--Yes! Food in Chi-town, OH YES especially the popcorn from Garrett's. And the river sounds amazing.

      Yes, Yes, and Yes.

    2. :) Never had the popcorn from Garrett's! My husband and kiddos want to go to Chicago next summer, so maybe we can try it. First on the list is Giordano's pizza!! Truth be told, I was afraid of horses for a long time, but somewhere along the line, I fell in love. This was a wonderful trip down memory lane, thank you.

    3. Giordano's!!! Gaaaahhh!! Yum, yum,yum!

  3. It is so GOOD to stop and count the blessings and to mourn the loss when one is gone.
    Damn, girl. Another beautiful, heartfelt post.

    1. Thank you, Sister Moon. And loved that picture of you and Gibson. So sweet.

  4. Thank you for the post--we are on the same page but your page is more eloquent than mine! We will just need to be intentional about our friendship. And I do need to take you running. I would also love for you to come to the Shelter some night to really see what we do. Please tell the BHE that my very enthusiastic wave in carpool has shown new signs of life because part of it is for you.
    And, for the record, Ms. Reed has changed my life too. It's what she does...
    Love, Coach B

    1. You prompted me to think of this post when you left that comment last week. And yes, I will have to come to the shelter one night to see what you and Ms. Reed really do. Love the enthusiastic wave and gulp, at some point, you must take me running.

      And yes, it is what Ms.Reed does. I like that plan of being more intentional about our friendship--yes. Love to you and yours.

  5. Yes, all of this, yes! How I miss my team (the parents) from Bob's last pre-school. Seeing them twice a day, at drop-off and pick-up, was priceless.

  6. Oh, I love this post! You've described perfectly those little shifts in a life that can sort of, kind of, but not really knock us off our feet, at the most and definitely make us melancholy in the missing at the least! I was especially misty-eyed at the one about your father and your boys. My children have an exceptional relationship with my parents, and it just kills me when they part -- so, so sad.

    1. Yeah. . .I hate that sound in my daddy's voice when they come back. It's so subtle, you know? Isaiah always picks up on it saying, "Papa? Are you sad that we're gone?"


"Tell me something good. . . tell me that you like it, yeah." ~ Chaka Khan

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