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.

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