“We had a test with the principal,” my 7-year-old said. “It sucked. I was bored.”

Common Core? I asked. Yep. But his response had more to do with the conversations we’ve had in the car, driving to and from the grocery and school and music lessons, than any informed opinion about the quality of the testing.

Inside the school, it was hot. The kids emerged red-cheeked and coatless, weighted down with heavy backpacks sure to burden vertebrae as well as our after-school time. The school dance this Friday? Only losers go, my older son informed me. How would you know if you’ve never attended?

middle school dancing…

Ticket sales at lunch were pretty flimsy, he said. As if that’s an indication? Most people decide at the last minute to attend an event. Eye roll. I don’t know anything, obviously.

It used to be that we had miles of time after school to experience the setting sun and fresh air slapping against our day-warmed cheeks. I remember after-school hours of ghosts-in-the-graveyard, darting through the neighbors’ yard and hiding in the pool shed, not wanting to be found, hoping to be found.

Nichols Arboretum, Ann Arbor

That friend’s life is now miles away, but last week, she and her son joined us in the Arboretum in Ann Arbor, hiking through spring snow, the kids pretending to be on reconnaissance. Not sure why my boys love playing war so much.

But then on Monday, my daughter is starting martial arts. I guess we all must now how to stand in our power, and defend when needed.

Except the biggest mistake we face nowadays is defending ourselves constantly because we take everything personally. What about the notion of recognizing the unwavering soul deep within us, which does not respond to cheap barbs and schoolyard taunts? You can still be wonderful even when someone calls you a name.

So we came home from school after the talent show auditions, for the boys to play cards in their room and the girl to relax on the couch. She’s been sick all week. It takes a lot out of you when your body is fighting off germs.

And today. The promise of warmth and lukewarm sun behind energetic clouds. The sunrise outside the boys’ windows was purple and pink. And then it turned to magnetic white as the sun reached its perch and we ate breakfast in the kitchen nook.

Lunches made. Kids to school. Daughter with me to work. Another day to get things done, check items off the list, reach out and reach out and spread the good messages that is our work. Our obligation. Our joy.

In my chosen field of public relations, we wake up every morning eager to tell stories and cement relationships of meaning. We ride through the day breathing evenly into each effort as if this one matters more than any before, because this moment is all we have, this project immediate in front of us.

It’s a wonder to be right here, right now. To recognize this moment for what it is: the one true thing we hold dear, until it leaves, fleeting, appreciated, or missed, gone forever.

The poetry of this life is deep indeed. We can breeze past it, anxious and waiting, or we can saunter into the flow of it, recognizing the importance of just being. Of cherishing. That everything we think matters so very much really does not at all.

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