Saturday, September 24, 2011

Fa or Ba?

My unstructured writing time has gone missing. For now, let me share something a friend sent over this evening that nails down my perspective on so many things. To be honest, it was annoying to find a link when I would rather just exchange a few words.

The link was worthy, although creepy in a random man's mouth kind of way. The way I'm assessing almost everything lately seems to be from the same two mind-numbing perspectives . . . reality or illustion?


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

More Big D

The before school routine has ramped up this year with two girls to prep on the three to four weekday mornings I have with them. Early mornings are just wrong for Violet and me, but Daisy jumps out of bed ahead of us, takes a shower on her own, combs her hair so it doesn't look weird, and finishes with a variety of well-placed fashion accessories - all this while providing an energetic narration of her entire morning process, pausing only to belt out Top-40 hits. Violet and I? Weird hair. No accessories. Not much sound.

Having both kids at one school is amazing, but kindergarten means no convenient big kid drop off. We grab a spot in the neighborhood and escort Daisy to the big kid area then wait with the other little kids and parents for the k-teachers to emerge smiling from their doors, ringing their bells. Violet pulls me into her room, attempting to velcro herself to my side before I can get out. It's not unusual for the age - there's always a bunch of boys crying for their mamas in the first month. The girls tend to hold it together, but Violet, at best, looks sad and scared when I leave.

Thankfully, Daisy is embracing her new life as a third grader. She remembers to bring her library books to school, willingly completes her homework, proudly displays her good citizenship awards. She's really making it easy on me so far this year. Violet, on the other hand, has stopped functioning normally with her k-lifestyle. She's not into the five-hour days. She's not crazy about the boy who grabbed her juicebox at lunch, dousing her in juice. She's tired of the girl who is constantly telling her how to do things at the craft table. She doesn't even know the kids who won't let her on the monkey bars. It's a long freaking day with those snot-noses, and Violet's had just about enough. One month down, nine more to go.

The kindergarten transition has obviously triggered Violet's grief from the divorce. Change, by definition, is sad for us these days. When I dropped the kids off at their dad's recently, Violet clung to me sobbing, begging for one more night and pleading desperately for her dad and I to get back together. I understand why people stay together for the kids, and believe me, if there were any hope of that happening, the raw emotional pain of my children would do it. I brought her back home with me - Daisy said she was fine at her dad's - and tucked Violet's exhausted, cried-out self into bed.

A few years back, when I was starting to recognize the extent of the problems in my marriage, I picked up Eat Pray Love. I loved Eat, rereading the best pizza description ever several times, but I couldn't finish the book. Even when I wasn't certain divorce was down the road, the very idea of how that might affect my children was horrifying. I wanted to tell Liz to suck it up. So her marriage didn't work out. I'm sure it was painful. Do you really need to sob on the bathroom floor for nights on end and feel sorry for yourself while you travel the world? It could be worse.

That's true for us too - it could be worse.The kids take turns carrying the grief - giving the other a respite when she needs it. I think it would be harder for an only child. But the pain I've caused my children - we've caused our children - is my greatest failure. Like I told my ex recently, whether or not he agrees with my ultimate decision, we were both adults making decisions throughout the relationship. Divorce happened to the kids.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Holiday Drive

Sunday, I woke up burnt from a long, over-scheduled month, determined to get to Quinn’s for Labor Day. It took me forever to pack, which was mostly throwing dirty laundry into bags and stuffing the bags into my compact trunk. By the time I picked up the girls from their dad, we were an hour behind schedule.

Like most Sundays, I was excited to see my kids and they were on their best behavior for about
twenty minutes. We were optimistic about joining our homegirls at Quinn's in the not-too-distant future. I refused to worry about lagging. What's lagging when your day's a blank slate? Well, let me tell you. Shortly before The City, we stopped to grab In-n-Out, because my children were surely going to perish without it. The Whole Food Gods wasted no time in cursing our road trip.

The hysteria began with the bee that flew into the car while we were in line at the drive thru. The kids huddled under a blanket, convinced it was the end of their young lives while I threw small toys at the dumb bee that wouldn’t take a hint. Obviously, the stresses of life have nothing on me.

When we got back on the freeway, I took a wrong turn, which has become so much more than my signature driving style. It’s really an approach to life. It didn’t fully sink in until I saw the stadium . . . and the flood of people wearing orange. Uh oh. Two hours later, still several agonizing minutes away from finally leaving The City, all hell had broken loose in the backseat.

There was the threat, “This will be the day that you die!” offered with the solemn confidence of an older sibling. There were the quick, painful slaps a younger sibling relies on for self-defense. There was soda splashing from one girl to another, punctuated by a momentary strangulation that went too far and a long, piercing cry.

Of course, I handled it like a pro: You don't threaten . . . ANYONE! No slapping! Stop it! Stop it!! I SAID STOP IT!! NO STRANGLING EVER!! IF YOU DON’T STOP TORTURING EACH OTHER, WE’RE GOING HOME! Are empty threats still empty when you say them really loud?

I was beside my freaking mind when Daisy read, “Broa-d-way. Mom, that’s Broadway!” I know! We want Broadway! . . . The kids questioning my sense of direction was getting annoying, although, clearly, they had their reasons. Violet interrupted me with, “We’re in Manhattan?!”

It was one of those sparkly moments with kids, when one sec outshines the torture of hours. The kids laughed when I explained that though it felt like weeks since we had left home, we were actually still in the Bay Area. I asked my five year old how she knew Broadway was in Manhattan. She claimed innocently, “I donno."

I heard later that during our molasses tour of The City, Bindy made her kids wait for us in front of Quinn's then couldn’t take it any longer and waited with them. The way things have been going lately, I just have to say - Bindy, maybe it's time you ditch the husband. Who are we kidding? That kind of devotion doesn't grow on trees.

Especially considering how long Bindy waited. I was in Petaluma before I realized I had passed Quinn’s exit miles ago. We rolled up to Bindy’s welcoming committee only three hours late.

Happy Labor Day!

Friday, September 2, 2011