Why You Should Volunteer In Your Child’s Classroom

The smell of construction paper, crayons and glue evoke so many memories for me.

They smell like childhood.

But for me they also smell like the many hours I worked in my mother’s elementary classroom after school on  weekends. She’d have me trace letters and cut them out, put together reading packets, correct homework, organize her in-class library and anything else that she needed. We’d listen to music and work the afternoon away.

Until this school year I hadn’t spent much time in an elementary classroom. They are such bright, cheerful places and in addition to the fond memories, I love volunteering in Lucas’s Kindergarten classroom! I wish every parent could take this opportunity.

For some parents the thought of volunteering in their child’s classroom is scary, but making this contribution can be very rewarding for both you and your child.

If your schedule permits, why not?

Why you should volunteer in your child’s classroom:

It makes my son’s entire week when he knows that I will be spending time in his classroom. He feels special and I know I’m sending a very positive message to him that I care about his class, his teachers, his friends and his school.

There is nothing better than getting first-hand knowledge of what is going on in your child’s class and witnessing their teacher in action.

Spending time with and getting to know the children your child spends a good part of their week with is priceless. These are his friends, maybe for life. No more blank stares or asking, “Who is Matthew again?”.

Working with other students helps you realize that your child is right where they need to be. What other classmates may be struggling with or excelling at can give you great insight into your own child’s progress.

Teachers need help! Often times after working in Lucas’s classroom I get a big hug and a thank you from Lucas’s teachers. They are grateful for my  help and I always leave feeling good about myself, even if all I did was filing and cutting strips of paper.

And I defy you to spend time with a bunch of insightful, cute, silly and full of life five- and six-year-olds and not leave feeling better about our world.

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Pink Tutus

I never thought I’d be a mother to a girl.

I like to be pampered just as much as the next woman, I get my nails done every three weeks or so and enjoy looking pretty and getting made up, but my style is simple and classic (some would say boring) and there is very little pink, frills or lace in my closet. There are five steps to my make-up routine and I have never owned, worn or coveted a tutu. I never took ballet as a child, which probably is why I am such a klutz in my cardio barre class, which is heavily ballet based.

I also had (for lack of a better word) a complete crap relationship with my own mother so relating to women in many ways has been challenging for me. The thought of having a daughter of my own, raising a daughter terrifies me.

I have been pleasantly surprised by my daughter, Lola. Granted we’re only 13 months in but she’s amazing and so very very different than her brother. I don’t know that that is a boy/girl thing or just the simple fact that they are different people.

Obviously she’s not showing feminine or masculine tendencies at this point because I dress her and she has very little hair, wears a lot of her older brother’s hand-me-downs and plays with his now neglected Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Thomas the Tank trains and Matchbox cars. I’m fully expecting this all to change and in a big way but hopefully I’ll have a say in her attire for a little while longer.

When Lola was born, my friend Wendi gave us a size 12 month Hello Kitty tutu and a stern warning to, “get ready, this is what you have to look forward to”. Having a daughter of her own she presumably knows what I am up against.

She could be right.

When I was going through Lola’s closet recently I found the tutu and slipped it around her middle.

My heart almost exploded, first at the hilarity of it and then at how utterly adorable she looked. She started swinging her hips as if she was born to wear it. How on earth would she know to do that? The joy on her face was pure. She loved it and knew she looked cute. Perhaps all babies are delicious in tutus but this is one piece of clothing I never thought under any circumstances would I ever buy for my daughter.

As I watched Lola twirl around my bathroom, all of a sudden I saw a very bright hot pink hue of a future flash before my eyes and I know without a doubt there will be many more tutus.



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Happy Tears

The first time I ever remember crying from pure joy was when I was eight years old. My family and I had just returned from a stateside summer vacation back to our home in Karachi, Pakistan and I was reunited after 2 1/2 months away with our dog Licorice. That was back when I liked dogs.

It has only happened a handful of times since then, my wedding day, with each pregnancy test, the birth of my son and daughter.

Tears of joy are the best kind although it is a strange phenomenon, water coming from your eyes when you’re so happy you could burst. And to try to explain it to a five-year-old is damn near impossible.

Now that Lola can sit up and I have a fancy bath seat for her, Lucas likes to take baths with his little sister. It is now part of our nightly routine and is adorable to watch. They splash and play with a few bath toys and in the process get clean. Two birds one stone.

The other night Lola grabbed at Lucas’s foot and chewed with her one tooth on his toes. When Lucas pretended that it hurt and screamed out ow!, Lola burst into a fit of giggles. They were truly playing with one another and it was so cute. Then he hugged her and kissed her and told her how much she loved her.

A quiet observer, sitting on the toilet I soon became a sobbing mess. I didn’t even bother hiding it. I never thought I’d see the day.

My two children.

Playing with one another.

Loving one another.

Laughing with one another.

My heart hurt.

But in the very best way.

Lucas never having seen anyone cry from joy before suddenly stopped having fun and with a very concerned look on his face asked, “Mommy, why are you crying? I’m not really hurt.”

“I know, I’m crying because I’m so happy. I never thought that I’d see this, you two together and it makes me… happy. These are happy tears.”

As I watch their relationship develop, something tells me that there will be many more happy tears in my future. And I can’t wait.


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Letters For Lola

Notice anything different about my blog?

Take a look at my new header!

My “letters” are now for Lucas and Lola.

It only took me five months to get around to making the addition!

Thank you to my terrific (and very, very patient) designer, Creative Kristi Designs.

I remember when I first started working with Kristi to redesign my blog in the summer of 2011 and had the forethought of leaving room in the header for a subsequent child, one that I had no idea would take so long to enter our lives. I’m blessed that Lola is finally here and so thrilled and very proud to see her name at the top of my blog along side her brothers.

I’ll still go by Letters For Lucas on Facebook and Twitter.


Why I write (April, 2014)


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Under A Shady Tree

I had just completed my morning walk and as usual was anxious to move on to daily errands and checking items off my “to do” list, but something stopped me from unbuckling Lola from her stroller and buckling her into her car seat.

A shady tree.

It almost beckoned me, dared me to do something that was not on the agenda.

Come, stop, sit for a while.

There is nothing else you need to do right now.

Be here.

Carefully lifting Lola out of her stroller, I left it by the car, walked not even 5 feet, fanned out a blanket under the calm of the tree and sat down.

We practiced sitting and I sang You Are My Sunshine and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.


We listened to the birds chirping and cars driving past, airplanes overhead and greeted anyone who walked by.

Lola grabbed at the grass with her tiny fingers and gasped and smiled with the wind.

Soon she had rolled almost entirely off the blanket and was gazing up at the leaves in the tree and “talking” quietly to herself. She was mesmerized, as was I.


As I stared in awe at my precious little girl, I thought I want to remember this. This moment.

She’s only going to be this small for a finite amount of time. I’m so glad we did this, thank you tree.

Duty will always call but taking time to savor and drink up these special moments is vital to my existence.

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No Guilt

After I made lunch for Lucas and got him off to school, I didn’t do anything productive. Not a damn thing.

I didn’t walk the dog.

I didn’t unload the dish washer.

I didn’t change the sheets or even make the beds.

I didn’t tackle the laundry.

I didn’t take a shower (I did brush my teeth!).

I didn’t pick up toys or other misplaced items.

I didn’t make it to the grocery store. Or dry cleaner. Or bank. Or gas station.

I didn’t return any phone calls.

I didn’t make any appointments.

There was no TV watching.

There was no reading.

There was no lunching with friends.

There was no meal planning.

There was no guilt.

It wasn’t a productive day but it was a great day!


Smiley girl – 7 weeks

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