Trader Joe’s breaks my heart again

I shopped at Target today for the first time in almost a year. I’m bummed about that, but I only spent ten dollars and it’s not like I’m going to be shopping there regularly.

I’m flying in November and I’m bummed about that too, but my choices are limited. Of more concern to me is how I’m probably going to put my kid on a plane in two weeks, flying alone, and I really, really don’t want her going through the backscatter machine (not so much because of the nakedness but because of the radiation, though obviously the nakedness business is not so wonderful either) and I’m worried about her opting out and being manhandled. I’m taking advice, information, anecdotes and all else on that, if you’d care to leave some in comments.

I’m on the eve of finishing up my first year of teaching. It’s been a crazy ride, ninety eight percent wonderful and maybe the best thing I’ve ever done in my entire life. The children, the method, the environment I’m fortunate enough to be in…it’s all beyond anything I could have dreamed up for myself. I feel about it the way I sometimes feel about Sophia: like I can’t say anything because I’m too fortunate and it’s not fair to anyone else because so many people have children with problems or children they wish were different or children living with terrible traumas. Just so, my job is great, and the world is full of people in horrible jobs that are grinding them down little by little and also full of people who can’t even get jobs and really want them and it just doesn’t seem right to go on and on about my happy, idyllic, peaceful, Montessori classroom (or my happy, smart Montessori child). I feel like I’m skating the meniscus of perfection and that shouldn’t be possible, right? Some other shoe has to be waiting to drop, right? Narrative law says so. I just know that in all the ways it counts (sense of purpose, love of life, general contentment and daily challenges that uplift instead of knocking down) I’m in the right place at the right time doing the right thing.

So I’m not sorry I gave up on writing. I am sorry in the sense that giving up is lame, lame, lame. I acknowledge that. And I didn’t give up in the sense that I’ll never write anything again. I still have this novel and a few short stories hanging around, coming into my mind on my daily commute. So I still want to write, but I’m not sorry I stopped doing it for a while to teach. Besides, I get to tell stories any day I want to. You should hear my story about papyrus, or the one about Henry Hudson, or the one on the peace crane. You should have seen the look in the child’s eyes this week when I gave her the lesson on storywriting. Three sentences long, but if only you could see her look of wonder. First, I wrote: “I went to the beach. I built sandcastles and played in the waves.” Then I said, “Now, when you are writing a story, you may write anything true. Anything that happened to you or that you want to write about. Or…you can make something up.” Then I add the last sentence: “At night, I heard mermaids sing.” I don’t know what it feels like to have a big publication credit or to sell a book, but I’m betting it feels like when that child reads that sentence and her eyes lit up like the whole planet just unwound before her, full of possibilities. “Which of these sentences did I make up?” The one about the mermaids. Yes. That one. I made it up. And so can you.

Oh, and the real reason I started this post? Trader Joe’s stopped making cashews and hibiscus and I loved them SO much. This is my perennial problem with Trader Joe’s. They make something I love, then stop.

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