Saturday, September 4, 2010

The kindergarten journey has begun in our house.

BB has been so excited to start kindergarten that it was, quite frankly, hard for me to feel incredibly sad about it. But then--gulp--when he hopped on that big yellow school bus in his brand new Star Wars shoes and didn't look back at me and then I saw his little tiny half of a blonde head barely visible in that front seat window, I did lose it in a big old sob as the bus rounded the bend. Yes, he's my firstborn, and ours are so close together, that sometimes I treat him and think of him like my teenager instead of a five-year old. And then to see him on the bus like that--I mean, he was TINY. There was no oldest, wisest anything. He was just Little.

But I went about my day and continued to look at his schedule that I had posted on the refrigerator, "now he's in math", "now in literacy", "now he's eating lunch", etc. I think the hardest thing for me--and I admit this with a touch of embarrassment--is the relinquishing of so much control over his time--to this point, I have had almost sole control over what he ate and whether it was a "healthy choice" and what he watched on television and what other kids he played with and what tone he used with his sisters and whether he was polite with adults, etc. It is hard to recognize that here on out, there are so many other influences on him than mine.

This is the beginning of his journey away from me.

I don't totally lament that, as I recognize functioning without us is a sign of a job well done, blah, blah, but still it is worth Marking the time. This is the beginning.

So then, when the designated time came, the girls and I crossed the street to meet the afternoon bus. He was the last of our neighbor kids to get off and he was looking down at his feet as he stepped down, taking care, I suppose, with those enormous school bus steps. And then he scanned the small crowd of parents and his eyes finally landed on mine and the smile that lit up his face upon seeing me there waiting for him was worth a thousand midnight wakings, a thousand dirty diapers, a thousand Lego meltdowns and a thousand missed foreign travel excursions.

I can't wait to hear about his day. Again. And again.

Ciao a tutti.

PS. My friend Stacy ("anymommy") is one of the best writers I have encountered on the web. She somehow seems to capture the human experience--MY experience--in such a profound and funny way that most days when I read her latest entry, I have a lump in my throat for one reason or another and want to just link to my blog and say, "What she said. That is what I'm feeling. What she just said." The link below (if I have linked correctly--I have never done it before) is where she writes about her children's kindergarten experience and it is lovely. I could so relate to the Being Left Behind instead of Doing the Leaving part, which resulted in another of those aforementioned lumps in the throat. Enjoy--particularly you former world traveler kindred spirits who are now keeping the home fires burning.

To Clancy

When we got our lab, Jackson, seven years ago, my dad got Clancy at the same time. They are not related, but are both yellow labs and coincidentally share an August 15th birthday. At the time, I wasn't sure it was a good decision for Dad to get a dog to take care of, but in retrospect, I am so glad he did. Clancy was his constant companion and not to sound trite, but he really was his best friend. He was with him when he actually died, and for that, I am inexplicably grateful. Truly, profoundly, grateful that he was not alone.

When we were cleaning out dad's apartment and carrying out the last few loads, a youngish fellow passed by in his car, slowed down and yelled out to us, "Hey--what happened to the old man who lived there?" (I gulped at the "old man" part--I haven't yet made the transition into thinking that my parents are old.) Anyway, Husband explained that he had passed away and I was his daughter, etc. The guy paused for a second, looked out the front window and then looked me squarely in the eyes and said, "he was a good man. told good stories. and he had a killer dog." And then he took off. And I took a deep breath.

So Clancy the Killer Dog came to live with us for a month or so until we could find him a home. I would have really liked to have kept him, but as I mentioned, we had our own 100 pound hunk of hairy love and our delightfully Not So Big House--nor our Dyson vaccuum cleaner-- could handle two Big Yellow Dogs. Our almost-4 year old got really attached to Clancy though and i don't know if it had to do with her transference of emotion about Dad's death or if she just really loved the daggum dog, but telling her when we found him another home was excruciating. Her little lip quivered and she tried so hard to hold back her tears before they flowed freely down her sweet cheeks, and wow, that is hard for a mother to watch. We talked alot about the confusing emotion of feeling "happy and sad at the same time"--happy that Clancy has a wonderful new home and sad that we will miss him so much in ours. The "happy/sad" thing seemed to resonate with her and she has mentioned it countless times since then.

And sweet Clancy has a wonderful new home with a dear friend and her mother and a new sister dog. So Clancy, you big goofy shedding, humping, huge-pawed hunk of love, I am happy/happy for you, happy that you have such a Purposeful life--first as friend and companion to my dad and now with a new family who may need you here in the second half of your life as much as dad did in the first. Go well. Go with purpose.

Ciao a tutti.