Kindergarten vs. Middle School

This is Max, his first day of kindergarten.

Max school

This is Max, his first day of middle school.

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True, he looks happier starting kindergarten. I’m not sure that’s true. He is excited for today, I know. I’m glad he has Reed to look to for support. That is, if Reed isn’t tormenting him at that exact moment.

Davis went to high school today. He seemed ready. I, on the other hand, am not.

I’ve stopped pretending that I won’t be sad the first day of school. I always have been. Always will be.

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Are you sick to death of all the back to school posts yet?

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I admit it. I kind of am. But that doesn’t mean to say that I am not going to chime in.

Because I am.

Going to chime in, that is.

This morning, I had to go to the high school to pick up a book. High school. Oh my.

And before I go on to tell you my stream of thoughts, I want to explain that I was supposed to pick up this book in June. I believe June 25 was the deadline. Who was asked to pick this up? The incoming student? No. The letter was mailed and directed to me. For a variety of reasons (which to me seem valid and reasonable…and irrelevant) I did not pick up the book by June 25. In fact, until yesterday, I did not believe I had been given any such instruction.

But I digress.

I went to the main office of the school and a very nice school secretary (who looked familiar from the sports or around here somewhere) helped me. I didn’t know who to ask for or anything and she made some calls and tracked down the teacher. I wonder if she noticed that I was a nervous wreck.

Guessing it was hard to miss.

I was still talking a mile a minute, and her phone rang. While she helped the next parent, she took out a map of the school and circled my destination and put a star marking the office where we were. I took the map, mouthed ‘thank you,’ and left.

It wasn’t hard to follow the map.

At first.

But then there was a crossroads. Should I take the road less taken? It wasn’t clear on the map. Oh wait, there were room numbers over the hallway entrances – reminiscent of the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas.

I got lost there. too.

Sweating profusely, I carefully considered each turn and finally arrived at my destination.

Room 220.

I was hoping it would be Room 222 – the song was totally in my head.

But again, I digress.

The teacher was helpful and kind. She didn’t even say, “do you have a calendar where you come from?” or anything. And I sincerely got the feeling she was not going to fail my kid because of my mistake.

I left with the book (all 20 lbs. of it) in my arms.

But the sweating didn’t stop. Sure it was hot and humid out, but the A/C was running, I’m quite sure. I was stressed out.

Seriously stressed out.

And then, the flash back.

Going up the wrong stairway and being late for class in 10th grade. I had no idea where I was going. I couldn’t find the room. At first there were people in the hallway and then, poof, it was empty but I still had not found my class. My eyes teared up and I started to breath louder.

Until I saw it. I found it. And I opened the door as quietly as I could thinking I could get to a seat undetected and the nightmare would all be over… when the teacher stopped the class and everyone turned to stare. “Ms. Goldman, thank you for joining us today.” (In my recurring dream it’s Mrs. Kershman but I really don’t think it was. I think she was my 11th grade English teacher. Laurie?)

I wander the halls in my dreams still. And when this all came back to me, as I walked from the school, the tears came again.

How can I let my baby go through this?

Ambivilence.

There’s something about traveling to new places that makes me want to live in new and interesting places.

And there’s something about traveling that makes me appreciate and love my home.

I wrote a long and detailed post about my family’s wonderful week. About our adventures and friends and food snd more.

I wrote about how close I feel to Andrew and the boys when we spend time together – and how we worked as an amazing team making decisions about what to do, where to go, and more.

Though it’s easy to say now, I think it was one of the better things I’ve written lately.

But it’s gone. Vanished. It escaped into vapor while it was uploading.

One day, I may try to re-write it. But right now, I’m just thinking about enjoying the last of our vacation and soaking up the time with my guys.

It’s fun until someone loses an eye.

Let me tell you about today.

The sun was shining. It was warm and beautiful. I had my coffee on the deck with my laptop. (okay, should have left the laptop in the house, but no one is perfect.)

The boys woke up one by one. The dads woke up and finally (ha!) the other mom woke up. Not that she’s lazy or anything. We had a pancake breakfast with warm fresh strawberry sauce.

Not too shabby.

Then, down to the dock. While the boys swam and took turns on the jet skis, I lounged on the float. The water was warm, but if it felt too warm, I could dive deep where it was much cooler. And then back onto the raft for a little more well-earned relaxation.

By around 2:00, we started thinking about food again. I made bacon and cut tomatoes that we bought just down the way. Oh my. Those were some great tomatoes. Add some sliced avocado, Cabot sharp cheddar, lettuce, bbq chicken. We cut a big bowl of watermelon, too. Everyone built their own. Yum.

Back to the dock. Played Yahtzee and Quiddler.

We planned some fun stuff for tonight with the kids. (Top Chef challenge for dessert!)

Then, we all donned lifejackets and headed out on the boat, pulling Max & Reed on the tube. They were having a blast. Seriously, it looked like so much fun that against my better judgment, I asked for a turn.

And as we went along, before my turn, I was taken by the beauty, the water, the sunshine. It was peaceful and really perfect. And then. I got on the tube.

And that’s when things turned ugly. Well, that’s a serious exaggeration, but I’m here to tell you that it hurts when your face slams down on that nylon textured strap at a kabillion miles an hour on the bumpy wake.

I’ll be fine. It’s nothing some serious grilled pizza and crazy dessert won’t heal.

What is?

Runaway Ramps

Driving along the Blue Ridge Mountains on I-77 at 73 mph may not be the perfect opportunity to take great photographs. But it is a great time to ponder.

We’re on disk 2 of 13 of Plague Ship by Clive Cussler, and frankly, it’s not holding my attention. So my mind is wandering and I’ve been thinking about those truck runaway ramps.

What a concept. You’re losing control. Overwhelmed. Feel like you’re going to crash and burn. I mean, who hasn’t felt that way before, right?

Well no worries. Because all you have to do is take the runaway ramp and you’ll come to a peaceful respid.

True, you can’t stay forever. And you’ll need to continue along your path again…but hopefully with a little renewed relief and appreciation.

You need to keep moving and you need to leave the ramp open for the next guy who needs to slow down safely.

But it’s good to know there’s another ramp just a mile down the road.

Your cheatin’ heart.

I had a conversation recently with a friend of mine that really stopped me. It revolved around whether participation on Facebook or other social networks increases the likelihood of extramarital (or extrarelationshipal?) affairs.

I contend that opportunities present themselves in life. People make choices. My friend contends that Facebook starkly increases the number of opportunities.

I’ve been called Little Mary Sunshine more than once in my life. Maybe more than once this week.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Your response is anonymous.

I gotta know.

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Giving good phone.

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Years ago, a good friend of mine in New York introduced me to her boyfriend’s (now husband) brother. He was unconventionally handsome. Very smart with a sarcastic wit. I liked him. It was a brief meeting and I was on a train back to Baltimore.

But he called the next day. Actually, it was that same night. We talked for hours about everything and anything. It was super comfortable and I was relaxed and totally at ease. The conversation flowed like Ouzo at a Greek wedding. Totally exhausted, the call ended because it had to.

But he called the next day. And the next and the next.

And then we made plans for a visit. I’d take the train to New York and we’d spend the weekend together.

This was a big step. We didn’t even tell his brother or my friend right away. We selfishly wanted every minute to ourselves. Clearly, we had a lot to talk about.

I counted the minutes. I was distracted at work. I packed 2 days early. I couldn’t wait.

Finally. Friday arrived and I left for the Big Apple. I got off the train and there he was. We were over the moon.

Where should we go to dinner, he asked. I wouldn’t know. I was not a New York girl. What kind of food do I like? Anything. You pick.

We ended up at a nice bistro and talked about the food and how great it was to see each other. He gave me a book.

And that was it. There was nothing to talk about. Well, that’s not exactly true. I just felt awkward and intimidated and I had nothing to say. He was a lot less pithy in person. More biting sarcasm, I’d say. But we made it through the weekend on the energy that got us there.

And I left.

He called Sunday night. And we had the best conversation. Rinse. Repeat. Every night for two weeks.

And then, he came down to visit me.

And we had nothing to say.

Needless to say, this relationship did not last long. It was good phone. Not good reality. He blamed me. But all these years later, I think he gets at least 51% if the blame. I think he was busy trying to impress me in person and it just made me squirm. On the phone it felt more like a level playing field.

Kind of like social networking. Like Facebook or Twitter.

Now I’m not saying that all the people that I meet or become reacquainted with online are putting on airs or act differently than they do in person, but I do believe that the barriers to socialization that exist in person are blurrier online. It’s easier to be relaxed when someone isn’t looking you in the eye. It’s easier to be bold and confident when no one sees you biting your nails or sweating.

I think meeting people online is great. I’ve met some amazing new friends, old friends, and made some business relationships that I am grateful for making.

And for me the ones that last. The ones that work. They are the ones where the online, on phone, in person vibes overlap in a major way.

And that is my thought for the day.