As I left small notes in the margins and concluding feedback and grades on the last pages, I thought of my own beliefs.
I believe in wrestling and playing with my kids on the floor. I believe in saying no at the grocery store check-out line. I believe in open laps onto which the girls can climb and read. I believe in slipping into the girls' darkened rooms at night and kissing the top of their heads while they sleep. I believe in impromptu dance competitions where, undoubtedly, I will bust out the running man and my kids, who are still blissfully naive, will think it's cool. I believe in hand-me-downs, arts and crafts, and not feeling badly if we eat pizza for dinner (again).
I believe in amusement parks, discretely disposing the majority of wrinkled worksheets brought home from kindergarten, and letting my kids clomp around the house in my shoes. I believe in apologizing to my children when I'm wrong. I believe in bedtime by 8:00, no exceptions. Except when there's a really good exception.
I believe in sleeping in, but my children don't believe this. At least not yet. They'll catch onto that and sleep into noon eventually.
I believe in organized bookshelves, and my children don't believe in this either. They believe in strewing things about, in taking off the couch cushions, eating the age-undermined food crumbs they find underneath, and building forts that will inevitably fall over and require our help to set them aright.
I believe in making beds. My children believe in jumping on them.
I believe in vacuuming floors. My children believe in wrestling on them.
I believe that when the winter chill finally breaks and we can play outside, there's a new lease on life. I believe in finishing our puzzles, reading through chapter books aloud, and trying to clean up one game before we pull out another. I believe in letting some messes go untouched and without comment, turning my head, and knowing that it won't be this sticky or chaotic forever.
And, with deep sincerity, I believe in time outs. It's unfortunate because nobody ever seems to send me to one, but I still believe. Oh, I believe.