I'm terrified, really. In a few short months her daily therapies will end and she will begin Kindergarten. Is she ready? Of course, that kid was born ready. She'd attend post-graduate seminars if you'd let her. We are all equal in her eyes. This is not about her being ready for the world. This is about the world being ready for her.
We've tried to prepare you for her. We've told you she's likely to hug you upon meeting you and we've told you she is a fearless and stealthy ninja but have we told you that she cries when she is confused? Have we told you that she comes on strong and she'll need help making friends? Have we told you that she can express so much more language than she can understand?
There is so much more you need to know. How can I make sure you know these things?
Did you know that hitting and crying and screaming and running are forms of communication for her? She'll try and tell you what she needs a number of times before she resorts to these methods but even the ninja has limits. You might get hit. I know it isn't okay. I just hope you know she feels there is no other option to make you understand. Can you imagine her frustration?
Her vocabulary has exploded. We are so beyond grateful for her words. We hope you know, as thrilling as her words are, they are unreliable.
What if the kids scrunch their noses up at her. "Who is this rambunctious little girl, with her superhero t-shirts and her boy short hair?"
"Why is she so loud?"
"Why does she cry like a baby?"
"Why doesn't she sit still?"
I know you'll love her, I know you'll help her peers to understand her, but I hope you all have patience for her, too, because, as I have learned, they are two very different things.
I'm sure I'll write to you again in the coming months. I'll sleep less and less and you'll assure me that she'll be loved and cared for like any child. I'll smile and assure you that I know, but the truth is; I am scared.
I didn't need to see the big names to be interested but they certainly helped. My current criteria for choosing a binge-worthy show is as follows:
1. Is it a Netflix Original Series?
2. Is Kevin Bacon in it?
Grace and Frankie fit the bill, so I settled in and I wasn't disappointed.
It's quirky, it's well-acted and it provides me with sufficient time away from the real world. What else can I ask for...except for maybe a little Kevin Bacon.
When I was growing up I wasn't cute, or little, or darling or any of those things that endear us to children. I was always tall for my age and chubby and slightly precocious. I never really minded because I was absolutely positive that the universe would even itself out and if I was forced to be a plain looking child than certainly I was destined to be a drop dead gorgeous adult. And I was right. I kid, of course, and it was my first lesson in how the universe cares little about making sure you have a decent amount of good things happen in your life. I sound bitter, but I am not. If I cared about how I looked in that way I would be pretty disappointed in myself. I would like to get healthy and maybe I will. I tell myself to relax about this stressor often. Just be cool.
I did, however, land a handsome, successful and slightly aggravating husband. I was thinner then (weren't we all?). My husband is two years younger by the calendar but a few decades older in maturity. He exercises and reminds me about the merits of choosing to exercise. He's very serious and careful and not the least likely person to smother me in my sleep. I don't know what makes it work, but so far so good. So now, still tall, battling a weight that almost necessitates a second seat on an airplane and a slightly aggressive attitude I often wonder how I maintain our relationship. Maybe it's my exceptional taste in art or my ability to keep turning the conversation back to myself that keeps him around. Who knows? But more about me...
I am pretty seriously insecure. Mostly about my weight and my parenting skills, but also about my writing and my effect, if any, on the children I teach. I wish I had more confidence. But if wishes were fishes...Just be cool.
We have two little girls. They have, to date, monopolized our world in such a way that only tiny, selfish and adorable minions can do. Like, for example, just the other day they were both demanding snacks and drinks from their spots on the couch with out concern for the fact that I was, at that moment, scrolling Facebo...I mean, doing the dishes. To be fair, they are most likely the reason our marriage is working. They make us laugh every single day, even when we feel like crying, and as they demand this or that from their proverbial thrones we are happy to oblige, unless we are watching Netflix.
Just be cool.
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Sometimes it's heavy; its weight crushing me so I can't take a deep breath. The world speeds up and I slow down and I hate you. I hate you for keeping up. Can't you see the dubbing for the world is off? Can't you feel it? Your smile looks smug, your make-up...well, just the fact that you have time for make-up!
I saw you having lunch. Your legs crossed showing off tall tan boots that likely cost more than my car payment. She doesn't have children yet, I thought. Once you have children you could never be so carefree as to lunch after two pm on a Saturday. I was waiting for take-out and I watched you. Activities had run late and we were spending money we don't have on food we shouldn't eat. You sat with your husband? boyfriend? rendezvous? and laughed as you sipped a glass of wine. Your pants were winter white. There is no way you have kids. I smile to myself, probably looking a little odd, as I imagine white pants on myself, even for an afternoon. You're thin, like a runner; like someone who deserves their lean body because they worked hard for it. I envy you. Your 'husband' isn't looking at his phone. You aren't rubbing your eyes. You're talking and you're happy and I am feeling guilty for hating you and I am blaming you for that, too.
I pick up our meal and pay. I don't take my eyes off the debit machine until I see the words 'approved', I smile like it was never a question and take my bags to walk out. I glance over one last time. I notice you are no longer alone with your husband. From the washroom has emerged two children. A boy, maybe twelve, holding the hand of his little brother...a perfect little boy with down syndrome. I look closer now. You're still beautiful and thin and happy. Your husband is still looking at you rather than his phone. Your pants are still white. It isn't easy for you. It never was. You're doing it though. You're keeping up. You didn't let the weight of it crush you even though I know you feel it as much as any of us. Today, at least, you let it drive you and I am so fucking impressed I could slow clap. If I did, you'd look to me with my messy bun and dog hair covered yoga pants and you'd smile because you'd know exactly what I was applauding and your smile would tell me I could do it, too.
I smile again. The weight lessens. I take a deep breath. I'm sorry, I judged you but worse I'm sorry I judged myself.
We bought a boat. Not the way someone with a positive net worth buys a boat, but the way we buy a boat. First, we find a boat born somewhere in the eighties. This will ensure a price below the limit on most of your credit cards and some pretty sick interior design. (I'm using that 'sick' like the kids do, by the way. Eighties fashions rule) Then we fight to get our account out of overdraft so when the banker looks she suspects we aren't completely broke. Next, we use our tax refund to subsidize the purchase and get a small loan to add to multiple larger loans and presto: "The Sea Ninja" is born, or reborn or reincarnated, or whatever. Now that that part is over, here are some of the emotions I am going through. (Get ready for some serious first world shit).
I am too fat to comfortably board and de-board a boat. (Is that what it's even called?) I will, of course, board 'boaty' every single weekend this summer but it will be awkward and uncomfortable and another reminder that paying Weight Watchers is only the first step in actually starting the program.
I can't swim. Maybe when the other kids were learning to swim I was busily reading and re-reading the entire collections of "The Babysitter's Club" and "Sweet Valley High" but in my humble opinion the life skills I learned from those books have served me far better than the ability to swim. Until now...
I am terrified of water. I know for a 'fact' that there are things in the river that I don't want brushing against my legs. I would most definitely appear like to be an excellent meal to some sea creature or another. Yes, I let my kids go in. They don't seem to mind, at all. I am not the best mom when my fear sets in. I remember once when we were in Disney world I was afraid to touch the slimly little fish that they give you to feed the dolphins so I used Grace's hands like tongs and had her do it. I'm afraid in the water, I might be equally selfish, so rather than throw my children to a river shark to save myself, I simply stay on the boat.
And finally, I am feeling excitement. Alex has grown up on boats his whole life. He is thrilled to be a boat owner and I haven't seen him this happy since the Red Sox won the series...I mean since our children were born.
So, if I must sit on the deck of the "Sea Ninja" and drink sparkling wine while my children and husband enjoy a perfect summer's day that is a sword I am willing to fall on.
See you on the river.
Happy Mail to:
27 Wellington Row
Saint John, NB
I've been a tad overwhelmed with teaching Kindergarten during a pandemic (masks and all) butttttttt, I have not forgotten my sweet patr https://www.patreon.com/sunnyandsinclair
Grace and Kate's mom. (Shanell)