17 July 2011

Sleepaway, away away

My kid has had first-time jitters about going to sleepaway camp for a while now, and is on her way there, with her dad to drop her off and a best friend to bunk with for a week, which is all happening as I write this post. As coincidence has it, they're riding there with another girl who is adopted and who goes up to Snow Mountain Ranch in the summer for a heritage camp as well, which we have been doing with our daughter each summer for more than half her life. The difference is that we all go to her heritage camp together, but she is doing this on her own.

I feel terrible on one level about letting her go to camp -- nay, encouraging her to go -- given that she's experiencing such mixed feelings about entering the rapids of hormonal flux. I have parental jitters about the worst happening because I am not there. I feel our house and our routines and our adjacent rooms have become a talisman in and of themselves. At home, we can watch over each other constantly, but this is an untethering. I think we share the feeling that we are launching her up into space without a plan by sending her away from us like this.

I have to remember, when I'm feeling anxious that my daughter and knows how to stand up for herself. She was the one who said "No" when Will The Creepy Bus-Driver asked her to say things into his cellphone about another boy on the bus. Thank heavens, and thank me, too, for taking her absolutely seriously when she said she felt nervous around that person. Of course she would feel weird around an adult who was playing unexpected games in the few minutes he had with her every day, and turned and said to my face and hers that he was "just playing along with her and her friend, who had started it." As if he were supposed to be their big bus-driving buddy, their playful pal, not the guardian we expected to escort our tender darlings safely home from school every day. My point is that my daughter does know right from wrong and can take a stand when she needs to.

She really loved the sentiment "Take things in stride," from a framed picture containing "Lessons from a horse." I hope she can internalize more and more of that feeling of taking things in stride, adjusting as she goes, not necessarily stopping but skirting obstacles and continuing on as we all do.

I know too that my daughter has great untapped reserves of strength, and more resilience than she sometimes believes she has. She relies heavily and continuously on us, her parents, for support, which is fine and good, but I think it will be healthy for her to rely on herself, too -- to see and hear up close how other girls in the same situation do and don't rely on themselves.

I love her and worry about her but also trust her and have a huge amount of faith in her that I hope buoys her when she's feeling heavy. So I send her a wish and a prayer: I wish her a great first camp experience! May she make many great memories and friends and always be safe.

Oh, but here's what made me sit down and write about this in the first place. She goes off to camp, I sit down at the computer to start catching up on some writing, and this I find a document my daughter has written. It reads:

I still think she's going to be all right.

07 June 2011

Two things:

One: I had been giving myself a hard time about not having made photo albums but finally realized that I have all of my photos online where my daughter can (and often does) browse them. Sure, there are still a zillion notes and charming bits of art or artifice I will want to sift through and preserve in a more organized fashion. But now she can see herself through time, even if time is relative for us: for her, it started at birth. For us, her time started later than her birth, so there are gaps in our chronological records.

"We are awash in images," wrote A.O. Scott in a recent essay responding to his contemporary dilemma -- and Susan Sontag's notion that we should control the flow of images lest we become addicted to them. But I and I see and I know my daughter sees something worth looking for in the pictures of the past.

Two: A fun short film idea: The Band-Aid. A Band-Aid's journey through a dance class. Even the paper wrapping could play a role, so to speak.

14 April 2011

A Runway Success!

I just got back from the sweetest event to benefit the Boulder Valley School District's School Food Project: "Recycled to Runway," a fashion show by kids in a class at Common Threads who made their clothes out of trash. Anthropologie hosted the event, delicious food was catered by Whole Foods, and some very nice wines were donated by Frasca Food and Wine and The Kitchen.

Most of the girls were a little keyed-up and rushed up and down the runway. The MC repeatedly had to ask them to stick around at the end of the runway for a second and turn around once more, and it was great when they stayed to chat a little or answer a question about their process. Waylon Lewis, editor of Elephant Magazine, asked one of the designers, “Is your dress comfortable?” and got an honest answer: “No, not at all.”

Watching them zoom up the runway and back in their creations I thought how brave they all were. Even the designers competing on Project Runway didn't have to model their own fashions like these kids were doing!

A couple of the dresses were made with colorful candy wrappers, one was ingeniously decorated with Izze cans cut into interesting shapes, and another girl who said she was “inspired by prom dresses, and really nice dress-up dresses,” wore a gown made of plastic trash bags and dryer sheets, and carried a clutch made of gift cards, the magnetic-stripe kind. “It was hard to use the hot gun just right,” she said. “Too hot and you'd melt a hole in the dress. If it wasn't hot enough, the bags wouldn't stick.”

Another girl, wearing a well constructed dress made of brightly colored plastic shopping bags from Whole Foods said, “I broke three needles making this.” One described her material as “food boxes.” A high school boy used layered newspapers and paint to create an interesting, fashion-forward, graphic tunic shirt with a laced spine and wings painted on either side. One girl made a cocktail dress decorated abundantly with loops of VHS tape for a fabulous spangly effect (her clutch was a VHS cartridge—awesome!). Can you tell a) who I hoped would win (I couldn't help it: girl with the spangly VHS tape dress) and b) that I left early, before the winner was announced?

15 February 2011

Wannabe connected

New playlist: Want to be connected

Inspiration: In Lisa Jones' book Broken: A Love Story, Jones tells about making friends on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming with people and animals. At one point in the story, someone teases a young man about being a "wannabe." Her friend Stanford says, "Want to be connected." Don't we all?

"Braided Hair," featuring Speech + Neneh Cherry, from 1 Giant Leap
"Breathe Together," by The Mothers, from The Township Sessions
"Nu" by Timbuktu, from Afrikya Vol. 1: A musical journey through Africa
"Bryn" by Vampire Weekend, from Vampire Weekend
"Loco de Amor" by David Byrne, from Rei Momo
"Tukka Yoots Riddim," by US3 (with samples from "Sookie Sookie" as performed by Grant Green), from Hand on the Torch
"Strange Apparition" by Beck, from The Information
"The Main Thing" by Roxy Music, from Avalon
"Magick Carpet Ride" by The Brooklyn Funk Essentials, from In The Buzz Bag
"The Big Sky" by Kate Bush, from Hounds of Love
"Shanti/Ashtangi" by Madonna, from Ray of Light
"Llegare" by Sidestepper, from 3 am: In Beats We Trust
"Let Love Rule" by Lenny Kravitz, from Let Love Rule
"Until the End of the World" by U2, from the Until The End of the World soundtrack
"Rock On Hanuman" by M.C. Yogi, from Elephant Power