First Day of School

Here’s your first day of school picture: wild hair, a dimple to spare and a fat lip, running in a white sundress at breakneck speed to the car and then headlong into kindergarten. I’ll give up the front stoop shot in favor of watching her shed her pajamas in five seconds flat so that she can come with me on a morning walk. I tried to slip out quietly, heard a shuffle behind me, turned around and found the backend of a naked child bolting down the hall for her shoes. The dog was already waiting at the door.

I’ve been trying to capture a bit of peace of mind lately. Its a hunt, a chase, it’s rummaging and sifting. It’s turning over mossy rocks and flipping up corners of carpets. It’s dusting cobwebs from corners and scrubbing the sinks. It’s checking the mail two, three times before remembering I already brought it in, through the house, and left it on the deck in the rain. It’s eating a cupcake before supper and an eclair after. It’s trying to take a walk by myself. It’s reminding myself not to try to control anything and feeling like what I do is control everything.

Everything except the windblown, laughing, devil in the middle of the road with her feet planted wide and her face tipped up to the clouds. That’s a practice in self-control. Not to lecture, or scold. To keep my voice quiet when I warn of cars around curves. To take a deep breath when she rockets over uneven concrete and into the house out of my sight. To remember that she is five and not three or two or a baby.

A baby who fell asleep as I sang and rocked her this evening. One minute it was wide eyes and Winnie the Pooh and the next it was the quiet creak of the rocking chair and a heavy girl in my arms. The peace of mind I was looking for (at least for today) was in the place I would have tried to escape from as soon as possible. I assumed what I wanted was in solitude but it was tucked in with my daughter and her too small christmas pajamas.

Not bad for the first day of school.

Bear


bears

So is there a bear…or isn’t there? I imagine we’re about to find out for sure. File this away in Reasons I Spent The Day At Home With RR.

Where’d She Go? (Five Dollar Complaint #5)

I have so many questions.

Why would you leave a heap of wet towels on someone else’s bed?

Why are there Doritos on the floor?

Why did you lose track of my daughter?

No, actually, really. How exactly did my mother not notice that RR and her out-of-town-just-turned-seven-cousin-she-has-no-memory-of-ever-meeting-before walked through the woods, crossed a busy intersection, and traversed a street with no crosswalks? We could blame it on the cousin. We can blame it on RR, who, by the way, took responsibility anyway. But mostly, we have to look hard at the grown-up in the situation.

You guys, there is just so much. Do you know ridiculous it feels to find yourself wondering if your 5-yr-old daughter is always going to let strangers lead her away without question? How ridiculous it is to just assume she’s safe with whatever cousin or uncle or aunt we toss at her, especially when we barely know them? And how ridiculous, really, that there I was, picturing my pony-tailed teenager traipsing starry-eyed after some boy or girl with a to die for dimple and losing her over the edge of some lemming cliff.

It’s times like this I wonder if we should helicopter parent more.

L Word Fans?

You guys, I’m watching Season 4 and Shane now has a kid brother on the scene. Is this Cousin Oliver syndrome? Should I just give up now?

I’m Sorry About Your Cat

My mom and dad had to put their cat to sleep today. That’s slightly better than “put their cat down” and not nearly so clinical as “euthanize” but, the fact is, he’s no longer alive. Of course, my mom didn’t mention it. There were mentions in the morning Bubba’s leg isn’t working and he hasn’t been feeling well for weeks and then Well, he was probably bitten by something, there was slobber all over his back. 

Typical.

I mean, not the slobber or how it got there (I can’t think about it, it’s so heartbreaking), the abrupt passing of things. Dogs, cats, cars, grandparents, houses. Their passing from our lives to another is a blip on her radar. She watched RR today and she would have left without mentioning Bubba’s passing to us had we not ferreted it out.

Death and loss seem to me a practical, essential part of life. Sometimes a really shitty, horrible, awful, part of life and sometimes freeing, or a relief, or a shedding. And around here, it’s coming on fast and strong. I don’t have a way to meet it without turning to face it. It’s facing it gently that’s difficult.

So it wasn’t a conscious decision to tell RR about Bubba. That he had died. Do five year olds understand “passed away”? Is it passed when it wasn’t his decision (although no judgement – it was a sound one)? So, “died” it was. That he was old (which he sort of was) that he had an accident (which he did) and that grannie is very sad (which she is). Five year olds do understand empathy, though, at least a bit, and so over dinner RR decided to make grannie a card:

bubba

I felt badly telling her (she might never have noticed Bubba was missing) but it’s also practice. I shouldn’t have to think about that. She shouldn’t have to practice. We should, not. have. to. It might not help her but, I’ll be honest, it helps me. It means the first time I say those words to her won’t be when I have to tell her that her grandfather has died.

The L Word

I’ve been watching The L Word. I missed this whole era. I’m not sure what I was doing exactly. Well, that’s not entirely true. I was spending a lot of time doing my wife. I know, I know. This is not that kind of a blog. Except it totally is because we’re talking about The L Word and well, you’ve either seen it or you can imagine the general content of a show about lesbians. Thank goodness for netflix because I had no idea how much wild sex I was missing.

Obviously, the show is not about sex. But there is a lot of it. And all the sex with all the women makes me wonder if I was doing it wrong at the turn of the century. I mean, falling madly in love with my wife aside, I think probably my primary problem is that I just used the term turn of the century and I enjoyed it. But other than that, I’m not entirely certain how one comes to have this particular L Word experience.

There are lots of reasons why it wasn’t my life. I mean, I can’t imagine The L Word in DC. Or in the government. And I’m pretty sure the closest I ever got to this level of lesbian dramatics was giving my ex the car so that she would move out already. I spared you some profanity there. You’re welcome. I was looking for it in 1998 but I was too early or too young or too delicate. My sensibilities, that is. It took a long time to be who I was inside outside.

And so I’m watching The L Word in fascination and a little bit in envy. A large group of close knit friends? With a much bigger set of friends to have sex with? Lots of beautiful girls? Come on. And sadly, I’m too old for my own personal L Word. There are people who have this though, right? I’ll just keep watching because huh. And wow. And, well, it’s a pity. I’d have been good at that shit.

Teeth

So I don’t know if this has ever happened to you but something I thought I was totally okay with, no, even indifferent to, turns out to be something that makes me want to duck behind the nearest tree and lose my lunch.

Teeth.

Teeth. Loose teeth. Wiggly teeth. Horrible, loose, flopping, twisting, waggling, hanging loose teeth. TWO of them. Right in the middle.

I had no idea I was horrified by loose teeth. A couple of weeks ago she said one of her bottom teeth was loose. I smiled and nodded as she stuck her finger in her mouth. I thought, oh, my sweet girl is growing up. I didn’t see the tooth move. Not that I didn’t believe her, just that the foreshadowing music was playing so loudly in the background I was distracted. Then the second one turned up loose.

And then they started wiggling.

And flapping.

And turning my stomach.

I had no idea I had a thing about loose teeth. And there it is. Teeth are going to fall out. I’m going to continue averting my eyes ever so slightly. I’m going to try not to actually die. It’s likely though, I’m telling you. Before my death, I did make sure we had plenty of chocolate gold coins which is the tooth fairy currency of choice (according to RR). And do NOT talk to me about what the tooth fairy is going to DO with that tooth. Keep it? I’d like to live to see tomorrow, thank you very much. Throw it out and have someone do terrible things with her DNA? No I know, you don’t need to tell me I’m crazy. I’m okay with it. What do you do with pieces formerly of your child’s body?

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