Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Kindergartners Are Gross

Dear Kindergarten Class of 2014,

Yes, I am talking to you with your cute new outfits, spiffy new shoes, and recently snaggle- and gap toothed smiles. You are all so very, very cute and I cannot wait to see the people that you grow into. However, I do have a bone to pick with you and I hope that I can speak plainly here. You make me sick.

Literally, bed-ridden, fever addled, cannot breathe sick.

You may not realize that I am privy to the gallons of hand sanitizer, yards of disinfectant wipes, and thousands of anti-bacterial facial tissues that you have stashed away in your cubbies. This is the reason that I am puzzled over the recent string of nastiness that you have sent to my home. I cannot understand how these germs are so virulent that they have survived all of the artillery that you have at your disposal.

And yet, they are and they did which brings us to now.

See, in your tiny body, germs do their thing, you run a bit of a fever, your momma gives you some Tylenol or ibuprofen, you take a quick nap and two hours later you are running around, bouncing off the walls with a free day off like you were never even sick, but in my body and most likely your momma’s body? These germs mutate into something evil, something surely sent by Satan himself and, honestly, it’s just not fair.

When I see how rapidly you digest and defeat these germs, I begin to wonder if this is the time that I will get sick and die. I begin to think that perhaps that this disease is not the same that you have recovered from so quickly. Obviously, this is the time that I have contracted Ebola (if that still exists) or West Nile or Avian Flu or Encephalitis and my death is not only certain, but in the near future.

The fever that you were able to knock out with one dose is now going on four days strong for me, with very little relief. My body aches for sleep that is interrupted by demands for food or playtime or the intense desire to blow my nose, while one nostril leaks a constant fount of watery snot, the other is so congested that it is bitterly painful. You have to repeat everything that you say to me because my right ear has been ringing for 3 days while the left has received no sound for the last two.

I am willing to work out a truce with you. You break open the packs of supplies that your mommas scoured the city for and start using them and I will make sure that your teacher is supplied with a steady stream of the best name brand snacks that I am allowed to bring. I will not only volunteer to host your classroom parties, but will ensure that you will have lots of sugary goodness to celebrate with.

But, if I catch wind of another runny nose or fever? I will cut off your supply and you will be left eating whatever generic pretzel sticks that your poor teacher can afford for the rest of the year. I will bring a raw veggie tray of cauliflower and broccoli to every party and celebration and make sure that every kid gets some on their plate. I can and I will make sure that I go out of my way to healthify your classroom if changes are not made.

Let’s work together kids, I want you to be happy, I want you to have fun, I want kindergarten to be awesome for you, but, if you keep tossing these germs around like your basketball at PE, I will be forced to be the bad guy.

Nobody wants that.

I love you all,


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A Tale of Two Mornings

While I have normally taken on the task of getting the Supergirl ready for school in the mornings, there are days that Hubs elects to do it. This morning, I sat back and allowed him to control the morning rhythm. For your consideration, here is a snapshot of our two very different mornings.
6:00 – He stumbles out of bed, wandering to the restroom, then to walk the visiting dog. 
6:15 – I get up because I have not heard the sounds of a child or even his voice commanding her to get up yet. I jolt out of the bed, sprint down the hall to her room to find him sitting on her bed, lights off, holding her, still sleeping, head wedged into the nook between his neck and shoulder. I leave the room with an eyeroll and collect her clothes. 
6:20 – They have moved into the bathroom, or rather he has. She is now face down on our bed, still asleep, feet dangling off of the side. I leave to gather the towels that he always forgets. 
6:25 – She is in the shower now, somehow. Sitting on the floor, playing with rubber duckies. I give her conditioner and a hairbrush. 
6:32 – She is ready to get out. He wraps her in a towel and leaves the room. Neither has spoken yet. 
6:36 – She is sitting, still wrapped in a towel on the couch. The clothes that I got for her are still sitting next to her. He silently hands them to her and she gets dressed. He hands her socks and her shoes. 
6:40 – He pulls her hair into a ponytail. 
6:45 – She sits at the table in front of a bowl of cereal. She stares into space in that place between waking up and going back to sleep. 
6:50 – Her food has disappeared even though I have not seen her move and was almost certain that she was asleep with her eyes open. 
6:55 – He hands her folders, her lunch box. She kisses me goodbye and I know that she will fall asleep in the car on the way to school.
7:00 - They are backing out of the driveway. I stand on the porch, amazed at the silent dance of my two night owls.
My mornings are a bit lot different.
6:00 AM – The clock is ticking, always ticking. We’re gonna be late, I know we are gonna be late, the mantra beats against my skull from the moment I wake up. 
6:03 – I turn on the lights in her room, strip the comforter off of her little body. “Rise and shine, my little porcupine.”  She squeals, groans against my constant diatribe. “Get up now and you won’t have to eat in the car, get up now and you won’t be late, get up NOW before I get really angry.” 
Tick tock, tick tock. That clock is not going to stop. 
“Time to shower. Hurry, hurry.” 
“Get dressed. Hurry, hurry.” 
The mood is tense, urgent, deliberate. 
Time check. 6:20. 
“Brush your hair. Brush your teeth” 
“Where are your shoes? Where are your socks? Are you packing your lunch today, or do you want me to? What cereal do you want this morning? How do you want me to do your hair? Hurry, hurry. We have to move a little quicker.” 
Late, late, you’re gonna be late. Time check. Shit, more to do, more to do. What else do we need to do? I click off items on my mental checklist. 
“Where is your homework? Where is your folder? These things are your responsibility, you have to keep track of them.” 
Time Check. 6:40 
My commands get louder, more insistent. “Eat. Do. Go. Hurry.” 
She eats her cereal, as I continue clicking items on the checklist. I do the hair, I slip on the socks, the shoes. I make sure that the earrings that she decided on last night are in her ears, I pack the lunch.
Tick tock, tick tock, that bleeping clock is getting louder, more insistent as are my commands.
Time check. 6:55 AM. She kisses her dad, grabs her things and heads for the door. I am speaking still calling out orders. "Don't climb over my seat, use your door. Buckle up, buckle up. Come on let's go, are you ready?"
At 7 we are pulling out of the driveway, she talks to me the entire way to school about the things on the radio, the things outside the window, the little things that she just remembered that she wanted to ask me about. She bounces out of her seat when we get to the school ready to begin her day, ready to learn, to grow, to socialize. 
In the last five years, the differences between the Hubs and I have become more and more glaringly obvious. The one thing that I have learned, that I have decided to take to heart is that just because what he does is different, just because it is not the way that I would do it, doesn't mean that he is wrong or not doing it the right way. He has been a parent just as long as I have and as long as his way works and gets her there on time, I am not going to complain. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Here and Now

I’ve decided to attempt to go back to writing everyday again. I fell off the wagon, fell hard and have felt stuck these last few months. I am not sure where to begin so I figure I will lay it all out on the table and see what we come up with.

I quit my full time job a few months ago. I couldn’t deal with the negativity anymore, didn’t need the additional drain on my sanity, didn’t need the emotional toll that it took on me day after day for those last few months. I was so miserable there, so very unhappy all of the time, that it left me sick, exhausted, depleted. I couldn’t love my family the way they needed me to, I couldn’t love myself the way that I needed. So I quit.

And I feel kind of stupid now, looking back in hindsight, at the sheer irresponsibility of it all, even though I know that it was the right move for me, even though I know that there is something better for me just around the corner. I have two interviews tomorrow, in fact.

I spent the summer mothering. For the first time in a year, there was no job to run to, no other more pressing responsibility than to mother my child. She may have hated every moment of it, may have revolted against my every attempt to discipline her, but I think it has also brought her a bit more stability, a bit more confidence and trust in my abilities to effectively parent her.

I spent the summer repairing myself and my marriage. I went back to church, I prayed, I believed, and I began to heal the hurts of the past few years. We still have a way to go, but we are back on the road to recovery and that is a good road for all of us.

I spent the summer being a tourist. Seeing sites I have never seen, or have not seen in a long time. I went into the mountains for the first time since I was a child, I took my daughter to the beach, to the natural springs, to museums, and the park.

I spent the summer cleaning, purging my house of old clothes, old toys, old memories. I scrubbed and scoured and reclaimed my home from a year of neglect and animosity. There still a few more things that I would like to do, a few more pieces of furniture that I need to move, but it is home once again. 

And, now? Summer is over now, and I am ready, ready to get back to work. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

And Then My Baby Disappeared

Today, for the very first time, I slipped off a little girl’s silky pink pajamas and let them fall to the floor. I helped her put on her school uniform and marveled at the kid standing before me. And even as I watched her grow right before my eyes, I didn’t cry.

I watched as she stood in front of the mirror, whispering, “I am brave, I am smart, I can do this.” And I did not cry.

I saw her strap her shoes (on the right feet!) and gather her supplies, watched her as she confidently strode to the door and I did not cry.

I did not cry today as the Supergirl started Kindergarten. I did not cry when we walked into the classroom, even as I witnessed mothers breaking down in the hallway. Or other children clinging to their mommas as mine skipped her way down the hall into unknown territory. I did not cry when I thought about all of the other milestones that we had traversed thus far. I did not cry when I saw her sit down and make a new friend, or even when I drove away.

Even though I knew that I would, I did not cry.

I am excited for her. Excited for new friendships, new experiences, for this journey to begin. I am excited about the tooth that is getting a little looser every day. I am not sad that that my baby is nearly gone, almost unrecognizable from the bundle that I brought home nearly six years ago. I am excited that the person that I have nurtured is finally emerging.

And this afternoon, as we were pulling away from the school, as she was stumbling over her words in an effort to get out all of the details before she forgot them, like the names of her new best friends, she exclaimed, "I am awesome, my teacher thinks so too. See this sticker? See what it says? I am awesome. Also, I am the President of Kindergarten." 

And my heart sings with pride. 

 There will be days ahead, where I know there will be tears, when her heart will be broken by boys (and girls), when her hopes are diminished and her confidence is dashed, but today? Today is not the day to cry.

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