Thursday, August 30, 2012

Phase 3 of the First Day of School

About 20 minutes before Silas arrived, my stomach knotted into a solid contraction that still hasn't let up.  At 3:15, Eden and I crossed the street and sit on a shady wall to wait for yellow face of the bus to poke over the hill.  The bus with windows tinted so dark it's impossible to see the kids hissed to a stop, and Silas stepped off grinning, his backpack dwarfing his lean little body.  I watched him, reading his day in his springy steps and even little skip down the sidewalk to our front door.

He didn't have much to say, as usual, so I asked as many questions as I could think of: no, he didn't know the games in PE but yes they were fun -- no details; no, he didn't talk to any kids in his class at all or learn any names (really?); no, he didn't know what the assignment was that led to the piece of lined paper -- each line 3 times narrower than any he's ever been asked to write on before -- he brought home on which he'd written "this sumr I;" yes, he learned something about his teacher -- she loves gummy bears; yes, music would be tomorrow.  A good enough report for day 1.

Then the needling began, Silas instigating.  Eden whining.  Eden crying.  Silas taunting.  I listened, entirely unsure of what Silas needed and will need post-school -- time with me? time alone? up time? down time? park time? -- but knowing it's something that I ought to help provide.  Instantly the bright energy I'd worn muscling through the day gave way, and Fall feels long, impossibly long, and while I'm at it, dark and cold and riddled with unknown weather-patterns and winter-rhythms, full of dirty dishes/lunch boxes/snack bags/tupperware.  What will we do every day to bridge the time from school to bed?  Currently, my coping mechanism is to hide in the kitchen "making dinner" with a glass of wine, answering all knocks by barking "having time alone!" which so far is working.  I'm pretty sure, though, that especially once a baby arrives, this isn't going to fly for an evening ritual...

Monday, August 27, 2012

Conversation Walking over to the Bus Stop

Silas: the bus driver is going to think we're CRAZY -- following him, stopping where he stops, getting there behind him!  He's gonna think we're crazy.

Eden:  It'll be a little awkward for him, won't it Silas?  It will be kind of awkward.

Dawn on the First Day of School

At 5:30 I finally looked at the clock -- morning enough for the first day of school.  It's rare when I wake before Silas, and if I do, just as I settle in at the kitchen table with a cup of tea, journal, and book, he appears and the small haven for centering disappears.  But this morning, everyone sleeps, and I find myself at the table with a cup of hot tea (which I can't quite taste, though stronger flavors have returned!) looking at the chalky grey sky outside.  

We've struck a deal about the bus: today, we will walk out to the bus stop and meet neighbors, see who's there, wait for the bus to come, poke our heads on, say hi to the driver, and then jump in our car to follow it to school.  Ben will drop Silas and me at the curb so we can watch everyone unload while he parks, and then we'll all walk to the classroom together.  Tomorrow, he'll board.  (ack!).  That's the plan.  

First day of school fairy presents are sitting in Silas's doorway.  Croissants are in the oven, and eggs are ready to go -- first day of school breakfast.  We make eggs nearly every morning, and I'm trying to prepare my small egg-lovers for a change in menu once this baby comes.  Cereal.  Toast.  Yogurt.  Hard boiled egg.  Somehow, they don't find any of those options quite so appealing.   

Sitting here it has just struck me, speaking of food, that I have to make lunch and snack.  Forgot about that job.  So I will go do that now.  Feeling the grind of endless days of lunch-making as I look at the months stretching ahead -- best to think about simply making lunch today.  I can make lunch today.  Yes, one lunch, I can do.

High school kids are walking past the window.  It's 6:30.  Could they really have some place they already need to be??  Again, best to think about simply 1st grade and the 8:15 bus, driving behind it.  We can do that.

Saturday, August 25, 2012


The last few weeks have been a lesson in appreciating the senses.  I've had a cold that won't budge, just moves around the inside of my head.  I haven't smelled anything for weeks.  On Monday I stopped being able to taste, which seems to happen before I throw parties... The other day I stood at a cheese counter optimistically tasting blue cheeses, trying to find anything to say to the woman helping me when each one tasted 100% like nothing... Yesterday I couldn't hear very well and today I may as well have one of those huge old school horns to hold up to my ear because I can hear virtually nothing, except my own loud voice.  I've also learned I have a very difficult name to say when congested.  In fact, it's impossible.  The other day I had to talk to three people on the phone:

What's your name?
Brodwed Dewcott.
No, BroDweD, with an ed.
Oh.  Brodwen?
And I simply had no way to correct it.  Thankfully, today my N's have returned!

Silas and Ben just left for a Redskins preseason game.  Silas has had his outfit laid out since Monday.  The game countdown has utterly trumped the first day of school countdown.  Monday will simply arrive, and he'll walk into his classroom with a game under his belt.  I seem to have made the mistake of offering to drive Silas to school for the first week and THEN transition him to the school bus.  It didn't occur to me (because of my own bus-fear -- will there be bullies?  will he feel scared?  will anyone sit next to him?  will older kids tell raunchy jokes?  will he get off at the wrong stop and be stranded somewhere random?) to put him on the bus Monday!  But apparently, that's the thing to do.  So now we are in negotiations...

I'm sitting on the front steps because it's COOL outside, actually cool.  I have goosebumps on my arms.  The air is humid but ripe with a storm.  It is supposed to thunderstorm for the game...  In fact, just now it's begun to rain in heavy drops, so I must relocate to watch the wind through the windows.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Leaving the Beach

I am waiting for my favorite hour on the beach to brighten the sky, but for now it's still dark.  Due to pregnancy and Silas's early bird wiring, I've been up around 6 most mornings this week, which has meant dragging a beach chair, my journal, and a hot cup of tea (much of which I've spilled on my hand) to the edge of the ocean to sit while the sun brightens from a pink a dayglo ball to white heat in the sky.  

This is our last morning at the beach.  In fact, we are supposed to be driving away in 25 minutes when it will still be dark.  I keep looking out the window as if the sky must know this and will bring dawn faster.

The week has great -- healing to have my feet in the sand and Ben on a surfboard, connections all around, trips to the dollar store for spy kits, cousin play, outdoor showers, ice cream, home movies.  And now it's time to go.  A gift when a week has been full and the end is still welcome.  At home we'll settle into our last summer week -- warm the house, swim in the pool, walk to the creek and library, gather groceries to make school snacks and lunches once again...  I'm feeling ready!

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Their First Solo Lemonade Stand

 the circus of vehicles that stopped for them:

They each made $12... I think I'll have one tomorrow.

On Pregnancy, Fall, and Time Moving Toward Both

It's 7:53PM but I feel like it's 3AM.  I just sent a stranger off to test drive my car alone because Ben is out for a run and the kids are sleeping.  I hope she comes back... (She pulled in right when I wrote that).

I'm a little sick -- the summer colds have been mild but unrelenting and surprising.

We sit in the final three weeks of summer, our summer list of fun things taped to the door with various check marks down the left side, but without the riveting events like
-get hand-foot-and-mouth
-buy toilet paper holders, paper towel racks, medicine cabinets
-leave medicine cabinets in the garage that floods in rain and try to return the muddy boxed soggy cabinets to Home Depot (did that)
-schlep the kids more times than is healthy to local hardware store, Ikea, Target to buy and return various curtain rods, storage bins, paint samples, faucet heads
-find that all shower curtains are too short and all curtains too long
- put on afternoon movies so as to collapse on the bed rather than yell at the children

I am 33 weeks pregnant and have begun dreaming about the baby -- her name, her being twins that need two names, nursing her.  Even a few weeks ago, the speed of time flying by stung my eyes, but a shift in the last week and I've started to lean into it.  With all that's been unsettled the last four months, having this baby finally a baby in my hands rather than a concept in my brain will be a welcome relief.

The other day I bought the kids pencil boxes, lunchskins, and new markers, and could taste the zing of Fall, newness, back to school.  On the 27th, Silas will start at a new school again and begin 1st grade.  Since we moved, he's grown tall and has new black high tops that make him look old.  The school bus stop is across the street from our house, and when we moved in I couldn't imagine a brighter Godsend for hectic mornings, but now when I picture Silas stepping onto a school bus full of strange kids at 8AM to head out for the day, I wilt.  That's how Fall is, isn't it?  It crackles under foot and thrills us with its wind, smoky smell, arresting color, the very air charged with change, and then it strips us down to bone.  And there we wait through the quiet months until blooms overwhelm us once more.

It's a wonder, with such a visual aid, that I'm always so taken aback to stand in these vulnerable quiet months between fiery branches and weighty boughs...

Friday, August 03, 2012

Change of Scenery -- Breaths of Fresh Air

DC -> New York -> Boston (Needham) -> Cape Cod -> New York -> Home

New York: Subway, Central Park, New Cousin Hudson

 Boston: Make Way for Ducklings, Boston Commons

 Cape Cod: Chowdah, Beauty, Beach, Prized Souvenirs, More Beach

New York: Hot Dogs, Evening Light, Mesmerizing Sand Art: