Word of the First Three Months: Harbinger

These "word of the week" posts used to come weekly.  (Was I ever that together?)  Actually, if you'll remember, I did do a harbinger post here, but just never got around to making it official and posting it on my sidebar.  So there.  And anyway, it turns out that the universe had a reason for me not getting it together earlier.  You can read about that here.

I'll bet you had no idea I was that important in the universe.

You stand corrected.

Anyway, here is a quick post about one of my favorite words.

harbinger  /n./  a person or thing that comes before to announce or give an indication of what follows.  herald.  anything regarded as a token of what is to follow.  a foretaste of what is to come.  augury.  precursor.  forerunner.  omen.  portent.

harbinger /n./  1.  Last night Olivia had her first softball game ever.  David has been pushing me to sign her up for years.  He finally wore me down and I reluctantly signed her up.  We all sat on the bench last night and cheered her on and watched her get two base hits, an RBI, and make an inning-ending play with a nice throw from second base.  As I watched her glowing from the infield, I had the thought that this night was only a harbinger of hundreds of others I will likely spend under the lights, sitting on an aluminum bench, cheering her on.  David just grinned at me all night.  It must be taxing to always be right.

And now, for her, and her grandparents, here is her first hit during her first at-bat: 


Another harbinger, I suspect.

harbinger /n./  2.  As I was cheering for Olivia, I was working on some applique for a quilt we are auctioning off at the Spring Tea hospital benefit in May. 

The lady behind me asked me what I was working on.  When I explained it was the beginning of a tree and that I still need to add leaves and flowers, she shook her head and said, "Wow.  That's going to take a while."

I smiled and agreed.

And then my smile promptly faded as I remembered that it's supposed to be done in two weeks and that I'm running out of time.  And fast.  About the same time I remembered the invitations for the event (that I was supposed to seal and stamp and send) were still sitting in the back of my car (unsealed, unstamped, and unsent).  I prayed desperately that neither of these were harbingers for the success (or failure) of the actual event itself. 

harbinger  /n./  3.  Next week my kids all have standardized testing.  And the harbingers of stress and anxiety have already started in earnest.  The AIMS tests have made their way into the children's prayers, and every day I get another note home saying how important it is that my children get plenty of rest, have a good breakfast, are well-groomed (what?), and are propped up with positive encouragement.  A couple of days ago I told the kids that I would be gone for part of the week for quilt retreat.  They nearly came undone, certain that this disruption in their schedule was a harbinger for disaster on their tests.  And I am wondering how keeping our teachers and schools "accountable" has resulted in creating inordinate amounts of stress for my children.  Good grief.

harbinger /n./  4.  We spent part of our spring break in Santa Barbara last week visiting some very good friends.  I keep meaning to post all about our hours of freedom together, and maybe even make a movie, but haven't found the time amidst the demands of regular life.  Perhaps this is the real harbinger that our break is really and truly over.