Quiet Thoughts: And I Shall Pay the Iron Price

Title: If you don’t get it, you must read Game of Thrones. No, don’t watch the show. Read the freaking books first! Then read the books.

Photo: Ursa Major had the best time at preschool orientation today!


My goodness… where do I begin?

Let’s start with a joke:

5 blondes, a brunette, and a mixed-kid walk into a classroom….

I’ve got no punchline. There is no punchline.

Ursa Major really, really enjoyed preschool orientation today. He walked right in, said good morning, went right over to the train table and got started as if he’d been attending the school forever. He was polite to his new teachers, he tried to engage with some other kids, and he didn’t want to say goodbye when it was time to go. Ursa Minor went, too, and seemed like an honorary member of the class. Both of my babies, it would seem, are ready for school. And while Ursa Major didn’t really notice that he was a little bit different than the other kids (but not totally different… I mean, he pretty much looks like a white kid with a very good, very consistent tan), I couldn’t help from mourn a little bit on the inside. He’s the only kid of color in the whole entire school. The whole entire school.

I’m sitting here really wondering when I threw away all of my principles. I’m providing the best possible education that I can afford to for my sons… so why do I feel like a bit of a failure?

and yes, I knew that this was going to happen. I knew it when we put in the application. I knew it when I went for the parent meeting in the spring. But a little part of me hoped that I’d just missed those one or two other families somehow… Stupid of me, really. And as I’m standing with these other moms, I was reminded again that I’m quite out of my league.  I really don’t know what I’ve gotten myself into… I hope that i can step up and meet whatever the challenge may be.

and there are just so many challenges out there. But before we get to that, let’s talk about the house.

We signed the Purchase and Sale agreement on Wednesday night. After fighting over the language about who is responsible for what, we were finally able to write language that made the sellers fully responsible for every component of the septic system, including any sort of missed expenses/fees/needs that come up during the process. We took the $2500 price increase, but we pay nothing beyond that. We’re very pleased. When we signed all of the papers, my realtor said “congratulations!” and I told her not to say it until after closing. I’m still not convinced that this deal is going to get done.

“Well, I mean, if you don’t get the mortgage then it won’t go through, but otherwise, they can’t pull out of the deal at this point once they sign the papers.”

Once they sign the papers

It’s Friday. Guess what?

One of the sisters hasn’t signed the papers.

Did you chuckle a little bit? I’m chuckling. I really am. If I don’t chuckle, I don’t know what I’ll do instead.

If these folks get it together and sign everything, we’re going to close on this house on October 17th, with a move-in date sometime in November. We still need work done on the house though, with much of it to be done before we move in. So I’ve been spending much of my nap time calling contractors and leaving messages. One man I talked to yesterday was like “Oh, so, that sounds like a total gut job. I don’t think I can do the electricity without taking down the walls completely.”

…This does not bode well…

I’ll keep you posted.

After signing the papers on Wednesday, I sat down at my computer to start thinking about my blog post for today. I wanted to write something high-quality, seeing as you all gave me such a wonderful response to the pieces that I wrote while I was on vacation. I was going to write about the seven sunrises that I had the pleasure of watching. I was so looking forward to breaking out some profound lessons and imparting some wisdom.

but my cell phone rang instead.

I run a playgroup at one of the local colleges here. I took over for another woman who was pregnant and didn’t want to run it anymore. She and I have become  friends,  and her daughter and Ursa Major are very close. She is on the executive board of the family dormitory where I run my weekly playgroup. I was happy to see her number pop up at first, but then I wondered what was wrong.

“Hey girl! How are you? How are the kids?”

“They are great…” this wasn’t a social call. I could tell immediately. Clearly there was something going on. So I’ll fast forward to the shoe dropping, “Unfortunately, the board has decided that groups cannot store their items in the penthouse closets anymore.”

This is pretty devastating. We lost all of our toys and supplies in the fire that happened in the Penthouse earlier this summer. Hundreds of dollars worth of toys, books and art supplies gone. In order to replace them, I raised our supply fee by ten dollars, and I had every expectation that I would be able to leave our toys, books, craft supplies and snacks in the closets. Moving that stuff is such a pain in the butt.

“Yeah, I’m really sorry…” She was sincerely sorry. She has been advocating for the group on my behalf for months. I don’t know if this little playgroup would have a home if not for her advocacy. We talked about options (there are no good, sustainable, smooth options), and then she finally said “and you know what, Kyra, if you get to the winter and this doesn’t feel sustainable anymore, at least you tried. You don’t have to take on this burden.”

But the thing is, I really, really do.

because 5 blondes and a brunette walked into my son’s classroom this morning.

There are children of at least 6 different nationalities in the playgroup I run.  I need my sons to see this diversity in their life, even if it is for 90 minutes once a week.

So now I’m rearranging the schedule to add two field trips, I’m taking on craft every week so that parents/caregivers don’t have to drag supplies, I’m going to buy super portable toys… and I’m probably going to lose my mind. I already schedule roles, run the website, collect the fees, create the budget, send out the weekly email with announcements, gather community information to distribute as needed… this is testing the limits of my very few and primitive leadership skills.

The things we do for love. I want my sons to have the best education that I can afford to give them. I’ve made a sacrifice to make that happen. I want my sons to have a little diversity in their lives, at least once a week, so I’ll shoulder the burden with the playgroup. With everything that we want, there is always an iron price.

I really did want to post a few pictures from my trip last week. Specifically, the beautiful sunrise over the Atlantic that I got up every morning to see. I didn’t get a lot of time to relax during my time at the beach, but I did take one hour every single morning to feel hopeful and witness the beautifully inevitable.

I love the inevitability of the sunrise. There are few things in the world that will absolutely, positively happen. I love that the sun absolutely, positively has to rise in the East every single morning. I love that i can face a direction and know that it is there, even if I can’t see it. I don’t know how you can watch a sunrise and not feel even a little bit hopeful. The sun represents infinite power and potential.

This house may not go through. My playgroup may fall apart. I may come to resent this preschool. I may not meet my goal of publishing a book next year (augh! No time for writing!). There are many, many challenges in my life with high, very high likelihood of failure. But in these moments of stress and doubt, it is powerful to know that I simply need to turn to the East. The sun will always rise there. I will always get to try again.

It is Friday and I have wishes and hopes for you. I hope that you’ll take a moment to notice the change of the seasons. I hope that you’ll take a breath of crisp air and indulge a craving of warm comfort food. I hope your football team finds victory (unless your teams are the Patriots, the Cowboys or the Packers). or even your baseball team (unless your teams are the Red Sox or the Yankees… especially the Yankees!). I hope your children give you some fifteen minutes of genuine peace this weekend. I hope that you’ll look to the East and take solace in knowing that tomorrow always has infinite potential.



I have so many pictures of my week of sunrises. I think I’ll sprinkle them into the coming weeks. I think i’m going to need to remind myself, now again, of its hopeful promise. Besides, Winter is Coming, and it will be nice to remember the beach when there are feet of snow outside of my doorway.


Until Monday… when I’ll be able to tell you if playgroup was a disaster or not.


4 Comments Add yours

  1. Britt says:

    I’ve read the entire Game of Thrones series. Twice. I totally want to be Daenerys for Halloween!

    But I’m sorry everything is feeling difficult. U.M. having a great day of school is a huge milestone and I’m so happy for that, for you. My son hated every day of preschool and he often said tearfully, “why do you leave me here, mommy?” Ugh.

    This quote struck me, Kyra, “And as I’m standing with these other moms, I was reminded again that I’m quite out of my league.” Whose league? Your league appears to include smartypants women who care about you. What were these moms like? Were they unwelcoming? Aloof? Ridiculously blonde and preppy? (Sadly, I’m totally that mom.) I want to know all about it!


    1. Sunnyplace says:

      I am struck by the same quote Britt mentioned. You’re an incredibly smart, highly-educated, talented, community-minded and socially conscious woman. Why would you feel out of your league?
      As for diversity, my DD was one of 2 multi-ethnic children in her elementary school, then we moved and she was lost in a crowd of diversity (and felt she could finally be free to be who she really was). Now she’s at college and I see pictures and ask her, “Is there anyone at school who doesn’t look just like you?” 🙂 It’s funny how in a few years and a few thousand miles the look of the majority changed significantly for my DD. I’m happy that you’re working so hard to bring diversity to your sons’ lives.

      1. K.C. Wise says:

        Thanks for the kind words…I really wasn’t fishing for compliments when I wrote that line. I really should have written “out-classed” or something of that nature. I don’t live the way that these women live…and while they are certainly not millionaires (at least, I don’t think so?), they are certainly COMFORTABLE. I realize that I’m am by no means UNcomfortable in comparison to others (though Lord knows I complain as if I am), I know that I’m pretty solidly “middle” class while these women are pretty solidly “upper” class. This is the kind of privilege that I’ve studied and seen from afar, but now will have to potentially invite into my home. It is a scary thought.

        I hope that my sons can find that kind of experience as they get older. Seems like your DD is having a positive college experience! About an hour after I posted this, my mom called and said that the local Jack and Jill chapter is recruiting toddlers. I was really surprised… I don’t know if I really want to combat segregation with segregation. I hate how this region seems to be so very, very separated…

    2. K.C. Wise says:

      Thanks, Britt. Really… and if you are Daenerys for Halloween, I want pictures!! Maybe I’ll be Daenerys for Halloween, too!! …. just kidding… My husband has a huge crush on Missandei (or at least the woman who plays her on the TV series). I wonder if I should dress up as her? Hmm…


      you know, when I said “out of my league” it really wasn’t about intelligence or anything like that. I originally wrote “out classed” but I thought that it might have given the wrong impression. I don’t want to seem like I’m super obsessed with money and wealthy, but there are two things about this group that I get quite quickly: Not only do these women have money currently, but they are clearly from affluent backgrounds. The second is that they are older than I am. One mom I talked to is in her 40s. I suspect that at least 3 other moms are in the same boat. I have only met one other mom is is close to my age (and she seems pretty cool). So I’m out classed more than anything else: These are established women. Privileged women. Women who live in and know a totally different world than I know. And while I’m trying really hard to get to their comfort level, I’m certainly not there and it shows.

      The other moms were very sincere and welcoming. They didn’t seem aloof at all, though there were a few moms who already knew each other. I think that some said hello out of curiosity, but others were very happy to share in that “OMG we have toddlers” kind of way that we all share. I didn’t feel any hostility, I didn’t feel unwelcome… but I also didn’t feel like I’m going to be “one of the girls,” you know?

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