In my Teaching Composition course this semester, one of my professor's goals is to help us to consider ourselves as writers. Me? I'm not a writer. Aside from this blog and the extremely rare journal entry, I don't think I have written anything aside from school-related assignments since I was in third grade. And school-related writing is like pulling my own teeth out (even this blog post is yet another attempt at procrastination; I will avoid writing any type of educational theory paper for as long as possible). I'm pretty positive this needs to change, but I'm still working on my plan of action. The first step, though, is this. One of our assignments is to write six short Slice of Life essays at some point throughout the semester. It's for school, yes, but it is much more personal and relatable than Vygotsky, Bandura, or Dewey. At least it's a start. Before I finally get down to what we're all really here for, I have to share this quote by William Henry Channing that exemplifies what Slice of Life is all about:
To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury; and refinement rather than fashion; to be worthy, not respectable; and wealthy, not rich; to study hard, think quietly, talk gently, act frankly; to listen to stars and birds, to babes and sages, with open heart; to bear all cheerfully, do all bravely, await occasion, hurry never; in a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious grow up through the common. This is to be my symphony.
I wonder how many common moments like this one, how much of the happiness my life, I have forgotten because I was too tired to write it down in my journal before I went to bed, or I don't have a picture or video or Facebook post to remind me.
I've probably made the four-hour drive from Provo to Idaho Falls and back a half-dozen times, but this time is different. I'm a passenger this time, sitting in the middle seat with my husband on one side and my nearly-eighty-year-old grandmother on the other side.
Grandma just got a hand-me-down iPad from my aunt, and she's looking for apps. Oh, have we got the game for her. Dots. "A Game About Connecting," as the developers call it. If you have any type of smart device, you've probably played it before, too. (If you haven't, don't start. When you jerk into consciousness three weeks later, you'll have lost all your friends, no longer be enrolled in school, and be nearly starved to death.)
It's embarrassing to admit, but for at least four of the eight hours of this trip, we play Dots, passing it to the person on the right every sixty seconds. At about 9:00 PM, only two hours to home, Michael decides that it's time to coach Grandma--her slow progress and a score of sixty is no longer cutting it for the Dots aficionado.
"Red square! Bottom left!"
"Double tap that blue one... the other blue one."
"Green square! Top!"
Now Michael has both his elbows on my legs, leaning across the seat so he's right over Grandma's game, giving her directions with the intensity of an NFL football coach.
"That's the ticket, Gayle, that's the ticket!"
"Blue square! Bottom right!"
In the end, it's too much for him to bear, and he's literally doing everything but connecting the squares for her. Grandma and I share a glance, then we're grinning, giggling, laughing, squealing.
I've lived five houses down the street from my grandma and grandpa for most of my life. But until last night, no one had ever told me my Grandma Gayle's childhood nickname: Giggles.