Sunday, August 30, 2009
I guess I decided way back in April. I picked the place, got her shots done, told everyone. Even she was excited: she was going to preschool. Kindergarten here in Florida is from 7:50a.m. to 2:30p.m. It's a great idea to get them into something to prepare them for the shock of that schedule.
She survived her first day Monday. We both breathed, I thought, I can do this. Just Lillie in the mornings, pick Ruby up by 11:30. Hear about her morning spent somewhere else (eek) and get on with our lives. Accept and embrace the change, doesn't sound too hard...
Tuesday came. She walked into school and waved at a little girl facing her. The girl only stared and did not wave back. Ruby's tiny little arm slipped back into place near her book bag. Her legs peeked out under her shorts and her socks were uneven. I almost cried then. I craned my neck as I pulled away that morning, watching her walk up the concrete path past the line of 4-year olds. I asked her when she got home that day what her favorite part was. She said playing with the doll house.
That night I told Jake I just couldn't do it. I wanted her sing song voice to echo undisciplined through our home. I wanted to keep her world just that for a little longer. After a long discussion, we decided that as long as she loved it and it was enriching, we'd see it through. We went to bed. I arose early the next morning to Ruby's quiet whine at the side of my bed. Her fists were rubbing her eyes as she spoke in repetetive tones. She declared that she didn't want to go to school anymore. It was quite clear after a few minutes that this emotion was not a fleeting one. Jake and I looked at each other and flooded our home with quaint decisiveness. It was what we needed.
She would adjust fine to Kindergarten. She would learn at a good pace. She would be just fine at home with me one more year.
I didn't send her back. We stayed home that morning, called the school, teased each other while Lillie weaved inside and out of her familiar morning routine with Mom and Ruby.
We ate cereal late and got in the car around 10, on a mission to buy the most massive dollhouse that Toys R Us carried.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
My little word to the wise:
Don't look at a photograph like this and listen to "Forever" by Ben Harper. Don't. Unless you want your face to look like you have a hangover tomorrow morning.
Do you want to know something amazing? Jake was working on his jeep tonight and up the rainy gutter flopped a catfish. It must have come from the lake just in our backyard. I pleaded with Jake to put it back into the lake, which involves a dangerous trudge through our "wild florida jungle" out back. You start to wonder what lives back there when you see a five-foot circular indentation in the tall weeds. What is that big? What is that heavy? I boycott the thought...
So we were discussing what to do with the fish so it wouldn't die anywhere close to our house (for the smell). My husband, the one who used to light scorpions on fire just for fun in his younger years, picked up the catfish between two pieces of cardboard (from the recycling bin endeavor that he so lovingly supports), gingerly walked all the way down to the shore, and let the little guy go, whiskers and all. He did it for me. For me and the house full of girls that would have cared for that fish immensely had they been awake.
I couldn't be more in love with him than at this very moment.
Monday, August 24, 2009
You were willing to help us feel calm and happy, and that trait alone made you seem like you were 22.
Halfway to the pavilion you didn't want us to touch you. Walk next to you, talk, yes. But no touching. And please, no more pictures.
You let me kiss you. On the lips. I know you did it just for me, too, because of that little hesitation.
You absolutely love these shoes. You think you can fly in them. You think they make you faster. And they do.
You filtered into your new classroom. You found your seat and as you did, I watched you take off your backpack, watched your shoulder blades work hard while you unpacked your supplies. Your eyes darted back and forth, taking stock of your cubby, the blackboard, the other kids. I was nervous, but you were not. I imagine that as I write this you are eating your grapes, the ones I washed and put in a ziplock bag last night at midnight while Dad and I gushed and gushed over you. It's the way we often spend our spare time.
You know the van with all the stickers? The van we drive everywhere? It was inside this van today that I had my final feeling about you going to preschool. I was driving the van down Lakeland Hills Boulevard, right before you pass the hospital. And my chest tightened.
It was really sudden. Like a shockwave. You were saying something about listening to "Mrs. Wilson" if she gives you instructions. And there it was, a minor anxiety attack right there in the driver's seat. How could I really let go of you? Even for a few hours each morning? I breathed through it, blinked my stinging eyes and my lungs eased up and I looked back at you, the early morning light brightening your green eyes and your chattering mouth full of expressions and expectations.
I looked over at Dad and said that there will never be anyone else like our Ruby. No one.
You then reached over and poked Lillie in the arm. The baby that was only a newborn at this time last year.
Ruby, you floor us. And I know you'll be alright. But like any other parent, I feel like I walked you to the end of the dock, dropped you into the sea, got in my car and drove back home with an insufficient, "she oughtta be alright".
Remember that we will always be waiting for you to come home so we can hear each and every set of your profound thoughts.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
She starts first grade next week.
A little boy who she was good friends with last year was about to find out what teacher he was getting. His mother was on the phone with me when they got the card. Turns out, he got a different teacher than Grace.
And you know what he did?
Marched over to the couch, hunkered down, and sucked his thumb in despair.
Grace rocks the world. And she's only 6.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Friday, August 14, 2009
There was this one time over 8 years ago when I wanted to marry him and he wasn't sure. It's every girl's nightmare. He loved me, that's for sure. We couldn't be without each other. He would spend every last second with me, every day, with no end in sight. But he wasn't sure. He needed some time to be sure. I was sick of it, sick of knowing and him not.
So one night after a week of hard conversations, we broke up. We both sat there in excruciating pain in my living room as we discussed our future, "You can go to Arizona for the summer and I will stay here and get started at the U", I said between sobs. It was all just too hard to handle. We were up most of the night until he finally drove home at first morning light. I left for work with no sleep. I went in the bathroom and cried. I threw my uneaten sandwich away. There was drama, there were tears. All day long.
He came by that evening and there were some intense silences. Some not knowing. There was gravity. He had also had a horrible day. We discussed some things. We decided we couldn't be apart ever again. He would get his thoughts sorted out and meanwhile there would be no pressure from me.
We kissed again, not 24 hours after our first and only break up.
It was good to be home again.
Happy Anniversary, baby.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
I have put more effort into understanding her than the two others combined. She goes to preschool on August 24th. I don't know how to describe how that makes me feel other than explaining how I felt tonight shopping with Grace and Ruby at Target. They had acted like circus clowns in the dressing room, climbed on the display strollers, opened and closed musical hallmark cards, and grazed past hanging clothing so fast that shirts and sweaters toppled to the floor. It wasn't too bad, really.
But there was one moment. I had them all wound up and we were racing through the main aisle, panicked, because I had told them the store was closing soon and we would get locked in all night. I had my arms full of soap, baby powder and ice cream. Grace was four feet ahead of us running much faster. I looked over at Ruby next to me, breaking into a full run, eyes alive with anticipation. The light bounced around her face and the cheek just under her eyes jutted out into the air, pushed up, exaggerated by her buoyant smile. There was nothing else but the sound of her tiny shoes on the floor, her skinny little legs kissing the ground goodbye with every step.
I think she'll always run like this, with no fear. She'll move away from me this next year, toward something else. I hope it's toward something inside herself, a pool of maturity that deepens with time. I hope she will always come back around to her family, her mother, knowing her place here inside this family will never change and feeling more confident in her thin and freckly skin.
There's so much more.
But that's it for tonight.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Because I extracted a massive water beetle from the pool and they thought I was the best thing that happened to the age 30. I'm a goddess with super powers and they are my shrieking fans!
Because when I tell Lillie no! no! for playing in the toilet, she cries, walks away, comes back, and wants me to comfort her for the emotional pain that I inflicted. The irony.
Because even when I'm starving off my rocker, exhausted, with no patience, they eat first, they drink first, they come first. And that teaches me a lot.
And because all my emotions are heightened. Like when I was pregnant and every single piece of food was SO DELICIOUS and even a single refried bean tasted as succulent as a fresh vat of guacamole. That's what it's like being a mother. Every firework show, every Hello Kitty necklace in the mall, every bleach commercial has a new meaning, a new excitement to it, a new memory attached to it. So much so that I forget what it was like living in my blurry, carefree world of no daughters. When I walk into a room, I scan for little things that Lillie could choke on, look down for Ruby's next move and survey Grace's face for confidence and happiness. They're just the things I now live for.
Sunday, August 09, 2009
I don't recognize her anymore, the baby who was once so new. She had little to think about then besides bowel movements and sucking.
But those days are gone.
She has been bossing us all weekend and we are all very afraid.
Just about anything sets her off. Even moments after she wakes up, when she should be her happiest, she's like a convict fresh outta jail. A convict that is not too embarrassed to have a red face and pulsing neck veins.
She's 13 months. And if she could, she would shout it out to the world.
p.s., Go leave a comment on Jake's sister Jessie's blog (HERE). She loves comments. It would literally make her day. And if you don't know her, don't worry. She loves hearing from new people!
Wednesday, August 05, 2009
Tuesday, August 04, 2009
See more on my photoblog.
Also, I read the most inspirational story. Makes me want to drop everything, take the first plane to Nepal and hug orphan children around the clock. I don't think I was born to do much else. Someday, someday, my girls and I will tromp over there like the nurturing women that we are and serve the people that don't have anything. It's my dream. And reading her stories make every tiny problem in my life and everyone else's seem completely obsolete.
Read Maggie Doyne's blog here.
Read Maggie Doyne's very inspirational story here.
hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh (that's a sigh).
Monday, August 03, 2009
Ruby and I found ourselves alone tonight. We made muffins, conversed, and watched Ice Age.
She is forthright and does not bite her tongue to be polite. Sometimes I worry but mostly I love her fiercely.
It could be because she always lets me kiss and tickle her. It could be the way her neck muscles practically explode when she's cross. It's probably because I see something special in her, something that's hard to see unless you look really close. She doesn't try, she just is. She's comfortable in her tight freckly skin and is confident in her opinions and that makes a person just fall in love with her.
She notices when things are off center and if they're not, she makes them that way.
She's a necessary part of my day, like a custom made multi-vitamin.