Monday, August 31, 2009


Last night we picked out Big A's first-day-of-school outfit, packed the lunch, and shined her shoes. After the girls were in bed DH and I popped open a bottle of bubbly and clinked glasses.

"We made it to kindergarten," I said, "We did it!"

"And now she's the state's problem," DH concluded with much contentment.

Can we take a moment to give it up for public school? After struggling for five years with daycare and preschool payments on top of house payments and medical bills and the usual daily-life costs, the start of kindergarten is SUCH a financial reprieve. We are giddy at the thought of actually putting money in a college account, or upgrading our seven-year-old computer. Yippee!

As for Big A, she did really well this morning. She looked forward to seeing the class pet lizard that she met at the school open house last week. Also, she wanted to see that blond girl she made insta-friends with at the open house ... Corinne or Carly or Charlie -- we need to get her name straightened out.

Big A did want to hold my hand while waiting for the bell to ring. But that was it, in terms of angst. The bell rang, the teacher led the line of new students into the school, and Big A marched along. She gave one wave, and didn't look back after that. I was so proud of her bravery. Honestly, I don't know where she gets that. When I have to so much as change dry cleaners, I'm a mess.

Unfortunately, poor Little A was horrified to learn that she was not allowed to go to school with her sister. (Even though we'd told her this 400 times.) She cried and waved frantically as Big A walked into the school. I kept telling her we'd see Big A again at 3 o'clock, but toddlers, they can't tell time. I might as well have said we'd see her next year.

Speaking of which, it's time to walk to school to pick my kid up. I can't wait!

Friday, August 21, 2009

End of Summer

I've had a great summer full of camping trips and fun outings with the kids. But now even though we have a lot of August left, it feels like autumn is very much here already. It's funny how things putter along in a stable pattern for awhile, and then changes come rapidly, like a flock of birds landing or a row of dominoes falling. For instance:
  • This week SIL, her husband, and the nieces left Sonoma and moved to West Virginia. Now our nearest family is located three time zones away. (Sigh.)
  • We bought our first family pet: goldfish!
  • Somehow, we managed to break Little A of her pacifier habit this month.
  • Little A now wants to wear big-girl "unner pans," so potty training has finally begun.
  • Today is Big A's last day as a student at the preschool she's attended for years.
  • In a week Big A starts kindergarten at the nieghborhood elementary school and Little A begins preschool at the same place Big A used to attend.
Changes major and minor. But even the minor ones, like the addition of the fish and the ditching of the pacifiers, impact how we arrange our days. In a few more months we'll have a different sort of normal because of all that happened this past month. And what was a normal day in July will not come this way again.

I would have been teary-eyed saying goodbye when SIL and her kids left no matter what. The entire fifteen years I've lived in California we've managed to live nearby each other. We've gone through our twenties, thirties, earthquakes, weddings, deaths, and births together. Basically, during that time span I went from being a bad ass to just having one. And our relationship deepened a lot with the addition of the kids. So some tears were in order, no matter what.

But watching the agony of Big A as their car pulled away made me completely lose my shit. She ran down the street waving her lanky arms like a castaway left on shore by the rescue boat. When she reached the corner I had to call her back.

"I don't want them to go!" She said as we trudged up the steps into our house.

"Me either," I admitted. "But remember, we're visiting this Christmas. We'll get to explore their new town. That's going to be so much fun!" It would have been more convincing to say this while not crying myself. But it was the best I could do under the circumstances.

"But they'll miss my BIRTHDAY and Halloween and Thanksgiving!" Big A cried. "Christmas is too far away."

"I know this is hard, baby. But we'll get used to it. It's going to be okay."

"I sad, mommy," piped up a bewildered Little A. "I so sad. They. Gone. Way."


I'd like to think that deadbaby grief has made me better at saying goodbye and letting go than I used to be. At least the nuts and bolts of the process are very familiar. When Big A tells me she wants to move, I certainly understand what she is feeling. Being left behind is hard. The surface sameness of life is such a sham. Old routines are hollow. Of course Big A wants to move and try something new, if only so that the outside of life matches the inside.

"If we did move, what kind of house would you want to live in next?" I ask Big A. She describes a tall Victorian mansion -- pink, naturally. One with a nice big climbing tree in the yard.

"That sounds pretty nice," I say, meaning it more than I want to.