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1 year ago

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Photo: Oh? The Red Sox and Yankees are accusing each other of cheating? Here’s what we O’s fans think of all that. Also, the O’s totally beat the Yankees last night, so this photo needed to be sent to my number one favorite Yankee fan. He wasn’t amused. I think it’s adorable.


When Ursa Minor got off the bus after school yesterday, he announced: “I have a wonderful school!”

I was so relieved! I had been at the ready to field phone calls, offer encouragement, show up with emergency clothes or extra food. To have him get off the bus with a big ol’ smile on his face really warmed my heart.

I had to ask the inevitable follow-up: “Are you excited to go back tomorrow?”

Without hesitation: “No, no. I don’t really need to go back tomorrow.”

sigh Walked into that, didn’t I?

He did go back this morning. While both boys seemed to have lost the first-day jitters/exuberance that made them fly out of bed yesterday, the routine went smoothly and they got on the bus on time. No phone calls about in-school disasters, no complaints from the kiddos… I think we are gonna be ok, ya’ll.

As for me? What did I do on my first day of kid-free motherhood?

I mopped the floors.

Yes, you read that right: I mopped the floors. I put on my cleaning clothes, I broke out my broom and my mop and my Method wood floor cleaning solution, and cleaned the hell out of the dining room, living room, and kitchen floors. And it. was. glorious. My house was lemony fresh, ya’ll! I can’t even tell you the last time I achieved lemony freshness!

I had grand, grand dreams of doing all the floors in the house. I’d told my mother that was my plan. I’d actually had a dream, a very awesome dream, of mopping all the floors in my house while blasting music. Then I remembered that I had CSA pickup this week and I had to be there promptly at 1. Also, everyone kept interrupting me with emails and phone calls and texts. I might also have had a “coffee is not a food, you dolt” sugar crash at 12. Soooo… I only got to the bottom floor. Won’t be able to get to the bedrooms until next week! I’m booked solid between now and Monday!

In the preschool world, when it felt like the boys were never in school, this would make me feel really frustrated. I really must say that the time really is as luxurious as I had imagined. They get on the bus early, they get back mid-afternoon. It’s a long, glorious day, and I am slowly climbing back up to my peak-productivity. It’s amazing!

I confess that the first day of school didn’t do everything I hoped it would. I really thought that having a whole day to myself would then make me more patient with the frustrating behaviors they’ve been having lately. Within 15 minutes of their being home, I was back to negotiating non-essential details of nothing, fighting with the boys to go play in the playroom instead of running in the kitchen, repeating simple instructions twice, thrice, four times… I huffed with frustration, then I immediately felt guilty.

Indeed, the two local mom’s groups I follow on Facebook, just for the kindergarten moms in my town, were full of moms losing it over the big “put your kid on the bus” moment. They all commiserated in a common thread, sharing pictures of smiling faces or red faces with little tears. My boys didn’t even look back after they climbed on the bus yesterday. The bus driver, the same awesome one we had last year, welcomed my boys on the bus with a high-five and then they were gone. The Husband and I waved, gave a little cheer, then walked up the driveway merrily.

When Mom texted me to get the report on what the boys said when they got home, I gave her the full story. Then I said, “I confess I was hoping that a whole day away would somehow make me be more patient or present. I feel guilty that I’m not. And all the other moms were talking jive about all the crying they did when the bus went past. I didn’t. The boys barely waved goodbye.

“Sometimes I feel like I’m bad at this, Mom.”

It was a surprising moment. Certainly not the feeling I was expecting on the big first day back. It had been a perfectly smooth day with no hiccups. I’d done just about everything I’d wanted to do. I’d given a full summer, put so much on the back-burner to devote my days to these two boys and everything they wanted. For over 6 years I have been a 24/7 attendant to every single want and whim and need and emergency to these two little boys. Have I not earned a little jubilation over my freedom? Have I not earned a feeling of ownership, and yes, maybe a little entitlement over this newly recovered free time? I don’t know why I had a sharp pang, a very real moment when I thought I was going to fall apart after the kids got home. It was stupid timing.

Mom told me my kids are well adjusted. It’s a good thing they got on the bus without anxiety or drama. She said I was doing fine. At that moment, I didn’t believe her. But I know that she is right.

As usual, the promised tomorrow is really reassuring. They get to go back and keep learning. I get to keep picking up a life that has been on hold for a very long time. It’s daunting, being a woman again, free to roam around and do as she pleases with a extravagant amount of time in her day. Of course, I’m overscheduled with assignments, meetings, social appointments and the running of this residence. But you know what? It’s just Day Two. A groove will emerge and it will all start to run like clockwork.

What a week, what a change. Hopefully, I will have a little more time to be brave, taking some risks and doing different things with with blog and my writing. There is time now. Time to think. Time to try. Time to fail. Time to learn and try again. Is it fool-hearty to feel hopeful in a world as crazy as the one we’re living in right now, Dear Reader? It may well be…

I hope you have had at least one hopeful moment this week, Dear Reader. This world is mean and cruel and shocking and deteriorating… but we’re taught that hope, frail as it is, small as it may be, has a power that can be all-surpassing. It can grow, strengthen and create a whole new world. I’m holding onto that: for the challenges I face personally, for the challenges we face collectively. I hope you will, too.

I will see you Friday for Quiet Thoughts.




2 Replies to “First Impressions”

  1. I don’t know if it’s any comfort, but I remember when I was younger being deeply confused by all the crying happening at the school gates at the start of the year, since I’d been very impatient to start school and went straight in (and as far as I’m aware, my parents didn’t cry; they’re not really the crying type tbh). I didn’t understand why other pupils and parents made such a big deal out of it. So I think a lack of demonstrative emotions about that kind of thing is totally fine because eh, I seemed to turn out okay.

    (Also I definitely think some people fuss TOO much about that kind of thing. It’s like nobody told them children will grow up and reach life milestones, haha.)

  2. For the record, I’m with your mom on this. It’s right and healthy and appropriate for you to be happy about getting some more time to yourself. Do you ever hear men worry that they should miss their kids more when they’re at work? I haven’t. It’s part of that weird guilt women put on other women. I could go on quite a rant about this so I’ll stop there.

    The very fact that the boys came home and (I’m assuming) had crazy energy and drove you nuts is because they know that home is safe. Home is a place to let loose and blow off some steam after a day full of “new”. And they know no matter how angry you get at them for jumping up and down on your last nerve, underneath you still love them.

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