Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Best Day Ever

I cried only a little as we said goodbye. I planted one more kiss on his kissing hand and put it to his cheek.

Mommy loves you. Mommy loves you.

I had my sunglasses on, so he didn't know I teared up. Girl was distraught.

I don't want Boy to go!

And Little Sister, for good measure

I nervously shifted my weight from foot to foot as we waited outside his classroom door (which conveniently lets out into the playground). School has burned us before. He burst out, yelling in his little kid speech.

It was the best day ever! This is the best school ever! I want to come every day until I die!

Monday, August 26, 2013

On the Occasion of Your Entry into Kindergarten

Dear Boy,

It is with both a bang and a whimper, amongst lost forms and fresh school supplies, that tomorrow you march off to Kindergarten, and embark upon a journey that leads you inexorably, inevitably to adulthood. Adulthood is a place you yearn to be and, like every parent before me, I plead with you to slow down. Adulthood is it. It is the remainder of your life, which is itself a blip on the cosmos.

Until we went shopping for school supplies, I never understood the gnashing of teeth over sending one's baby to Kindergarten. Rejoice! It's Kindergarten! No more long days at home! No more filling the space between with fights and complaining!

You sat in that cart, flipping through your very first marble notebook, and my mind flashed forward, like a flip book of a different sort. That book. It will have chicken scratch, pulled out of you by a patient and experienced teacher. Letters will become sentences will become paragraphs will become stories will become essays hastily scribbled in what we call a Blue Book will become emails will become real estate contracts will become wills. I hope in there you'll find the time and motivation for a love letter or two. You will learn to do addition. Then subtraction and multiplication and division and algebra and geometry and then algebra again (it's confusing, I know) and then trigonometry and then something horrible they call functions and then calculus and then. Adulthood. Where it all devolves back into addition and a lot of long division and more statistics than you thought you would need but almost never calculus, except for the engineers.

I've thought about holding you back. You're young for Kindergarten these days. In my time, you weren't young. Five was the norm. But now it's competitive and kids start at six. You still suck your fingers, though you declared to me on the practice walk to school this morning that you no longer sucked your fingers because you are a big boy and don't need to, right before immediately sucking your fingers. It's okay. People have asked when you are going to stop doing that. When I am going to take your lovies. You are different from other kids, Boy (though the dirty little secret is every kid is different from the other kids, and trying to make it otherwise is brutal and pointless). You need your tools for calming down, and I am not going to take this one from you. If, in your own time, you decide Big Boys really don't suck their fingers, then I will support you in that.

You will learn so much. You will learn that English is damn near impossible to spell with any consistency and that you just have to figure it out. You will learn that not every child is a friend and that not ever adult will offer a hug. You will have to save your cuddles for me and your dogs and cats. We will save ours for you as well. You will learn that a circle and a sphere are not the same but kinda they are but not really. You will learn, please God will you learn, to flush.

And with any luck after this it will be First Grade. And then Second. And Third after that. You see where I am going with this.

It is a new world for you, of packed lunches and cafeterias and cliques. The enthusiasm with which you've practiced eating a school lunch--which so far largely entails your marching off with your lunch box, opening it, and declaring "Let's see what Mom packed for me today!"--tells me this new adventure piques your interest.

Here's a secret as you start your journey: there is no magic moment of adulthood. It is a transformation over time, of learning lessons both good and regrettable, of sticking it out and throwing in the towel, of hurt feelings and crying into your pillow.  Of doing what is unfun and unrewarding. Of doing what is right even when it is unpopular. Of learning that picking on a kid just might get you socked in the mouth and that defending a kid just might make you an outsider as well. Being an outsider is okay, sometimes.

Here's another secret: I'm still figuring it out too.

Godspeed and kick ass, Little One.


Monday, August 5, 2013


Fear not, Loyal Reader (seriously, there's just one of you), I am alive, as are Husband and The Brood. I have some very good reasons for being quiet this summer. If you want to maintain the tiny bit of respect you have for me, I suggest you stop reading after reason #4. If you want to test your love and respect in the face of reality, read through.

Reason #1: Boy was accepted into a number of therapeutic programs at once. For the past month, he's had some activity or another every week day (swimming, behavioral group therapy, sensory integration camp). Yes, that last one is a thing, and it was fantastic. This week we have only group and the start of pre-school doctors appointments. First up, 5 year well-child, followed by eyes and teeth.

Reason #2: YES I SAID FIVE. Good Lord. He's five. Lots of celebrating, coming on the heels of my 32nd birthday, which involved lots of adult time and fun for me over several days. So no blogging.

Reason #3: I had a visitor. An honest-to-goodness visitor! Aunt C, blogger extraordinaire, Godmother The Most, College Roomie The First, graced Denver for a few days. It was lovely to have her and I'm sure all y'all would enjoy a visit too, so get on it.

Reason #4: My mom et al moved to Denver.

Reason #5: Candy Crush.

Reason #6: The batteries in the mouse died, and I considered waiting until Husband is home in September so he could remedy the situation. Can't blog comfortably on an iPad and even if I wanted to, please see Reason #5.

Summer is summer is summer. Lots of sweaty days. A few mad dashes to the ice cream truck while dogs escape and coins fly from my wallet, trying to appease the two children who seem not to hear me when I speak to them from two feet away, but who can detect an ice cream truck if it rings its bell in Kansas. PS--an ice cream sandwich is now $3.50; no $0.25 packs of candy cigarettes. My childhood weeps.

One trek to my cousin's wedding several hours from here, across the mountains. There were unironic cowboy hats. Everything is ironic on the East Coast, so this was very exciting for me.

One bid list. Zero ideas. For the past seven years, my mind wandered over the possibilities of Burundi or Beijing, wondering if the consular high of a post like CJ was worth the stress. Yes, over the past seven, even when it wasn't our bidding season. Now it all seems oppressive. We aren't ready. Boy isn't ready. We won't know anything until he's settled into school and an IEP is in place, so overseas is out. DC is always a possibility, but if this school year doesn't go well--or if it goes very well--we'd hate to move and both be back at work full-time, managing the many services our son needs with a Washington cost of living and a Washington work day. Hawaii is a possibility for Husband, but not me, but it's too expensive to do on one salary. Kansas could happen for Husband with a commute to Denver on the weekends, and for me--who knows? More LWOP? What I want is a magical little 03 or 02 job at Aurora. I've inquired about such things, but I haven't heard anything. It's a stretch, a potshot, a chance to stay in a career I've dreamed of since I was 16. It's a job that--so far--doesn't exist.

Possibly an 81 mile commute to NORAD for Husband. We'd take it, though, and figure out the rest later.

So: summer. There is something romantic about the long hot days of summer. Of ice cream trucks and sweat and sidewalk chalk. Of bidding and lobbying and dreaming of far-off places. Though there was a chill one day--one rare rainy day--and I immediately longed for a DC autumn, for brilliant trees and morning frost and hot cider.

Opportunity costs.