A View from the Bottom Bunk

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Don’t be afraid of what you don’t understand.

Easier said than done, of course, but this is my husband and I’s go-to advice for our three-year-old son when we know storms are imminent.

Two nights ago, however, we were no match for the incessant thunder and lightning.

At approximately 3:45 a.m. we awoke to my son’s tearful pleas: “Mommy! Daddy!” There was something different in my son’s voice this time – a blend of emerging maturity and raw fear. He sensed what was happening, yet couldn’t prevent himself from the human desire for certainty…and control.

I led my oldest child down the ladder as Mother Nature illuminated his small room with urgent pulses of white. The night’s antidote would be snuggles with Momma in the bottom bunk.

And, in that 10-minute embrace, shadows weren’t the only images that danced across his walls.

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Time: The Missing Ingredient

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Sometimes the muffins don’t rise, and sometimes it’s your own fault.

If there is one thing to be said of college students, it is this: they stay hungry. During my undergraduate years, I remember, with a weak stomach, subsisting off a diet of highly processed foods. I believe rock bottom was the morning I ate microwaveable mac and cheese at 7:30 a.m. before a final exam.

Of course, I see this same struggle in my students, which inspires me to bake a homemade treat for each of my classes during the semester.  Two weeks ago, I gathered the necessary supplies for double chocolate chip muffins and committed myself to the task, which happened to be at 10 p.m.

After nearly an hour of preparation and baking, I peered into the oven with the kind of devastation that always finds teachers who try too hard. The muffins were dense and flat, and I immediately recalled my missing ingredient: baking soda.

I went to bed that night with a heavy heart and a full trash can.

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