Hold me I’m frightened…

Rex started kindergarten.  I was surprised by my reaction.  Felt fine.  Till we crossed the threshold of the campus that was filled the chaos and crowds of Kuala Lumpur right before the Japanese approached. Then I wanted to cry.  Sob.  My tough boy was gripping my hand as I said my hellos.  I kept indicating without words how I felt so as not to upset Rex. ( Finger from corner of eye down, tear).

on the way to school.  Support from his sister

on the way to school. Support from his sister

At one point a nice mom spoke to me about something unrelated.  I nodded politely, but she might as well have had burning hair on her head as I couldn’t make out what she said.  “I’m in CRISIS right now”  I thought.

The last few days he had been saying “I want to stay in pre school.”  I can’t say the truth.  I do too. You are right.  It’s all down hill from here.  Until you get your drivers license and feel someone up sexually.

Happily They only have half days for the start.  So I took him out to celebrate.  Sweets, natch.  cupcakes

I was squeezing the last bit of summer I could out of this truncated season.  I do not believe it is right that children begin school before Congress is back in session. Totally messed up.  So, now that Labor day is no longer sacred we traveled till the 11th hour.  We spent the last 10 days glamping it through California.  A family reunion with American and Dutch family was like a dream commune existence, but with continental breakfast.  Kids jumped out of bed to safely play with extended cousins while we slept in and leisurely made some coffee before we hiked, swam, drank beer.

a few of us who discovered some vineyards

a few of us who discovered some vineyards

" eat this, my dad's a chef

” eat this, my dad’s a chef

in case Mark and I lost each other, we had name tags.

in case Mark and I lost each other, we had name tags.


Off to my family’s annual pilgrimage to Yosemite.  I love it so.

Rex finds his own perch

Rex finds his own perch

That $600 in swim lessons paid off.  First summer with out a float vest.

always somewhere to climb

always somewhere to climb

Side bar,  one interesting thing I noticed in Yosemite this year.. no, not low water, brown grass and over priced bland food, I expected that, but there were so many foreigners.  I don’t mean to sound Archie Bunker, and I know it’s  a world wide destination, but there were more Europeans there than any year I can remember.  I offered to take photos for so many German tourists I was afraid the French and British visitors would brand me as a collaborator.  Later when we were at the Lodge in the valley a French woman was complaining to the hostess at the Mountain Room Broiler ( they call it grill, but whatever it was called in 1978 is what I call it) Oh, I’m from Culver City and I know it’s not great.  If you were from France, oy!  I had to interject.  “It’s not good, no where around here is going to be good.”  The hostess smiled, while French lady looked unbelieving.  I found her husband outside, “I just talked to your wife.  Tell her we all know the food is not very good in the park.” Blank face.  I should have just offered to take their picture.

Rex loves the cafeteria there.  He calls it the “Room with all the food.”  Me:” the cafeteria?”  ie, that dump?  “Yes, mommy I love it!”

We played in the river.  We saw deer. deer in yosemiteyosemite with kids

Rex ran naked through the fields and woods. I brought my wine, so it was all good to me. I got no cell reception–yippiee!  That’s living.

One day we went to the pioneer village and watched a Blacksmith work. kids and blacksmitth I have rarely seen my kids so fascinated and focused on the 3 dimensional world.  I didn’t prattle on about my love of Laura Ingalls Wilder, just in my inner voice.stagecoachWhen I take the winding road in or out of Yosemite I marvel at the people of yore who came there on horseback and coach.  10 minutes in a stage coach and I needed a kidney transplant.  How did they do it?  When we left I offered to take my kids to the Mariposa Grove to see the big redwoods.  Rex has been talking about big trees for two years since we went through a deep forest near the Oregon border.  “NO”  They screamed.  They were worn out.

45 minutes later.  “You guys let’s say we get lunch in Fresno and go back to school shopping.”  The back seat cheered.  I cheered to be in a smaller scale city with a Macy’s I could practically park in front of the door, everything was on sale and they called me ma’m.  Big city living can be tasking, nice to be in  a medium market.

So, we are the brink of day 2 of Kinder.  “How was it Rex?”

“Horrible and sort of awesome.”  I told Mark that Rex said he is afraid of not having friends.  Mark looked up, ” I’m still worried about that.”  I think that’s why it does choke me up.  We all feel uneasy going into a new space, new people, but as we age we learn to shove the feelings down, or mask them.  But, we know our little ones are still open, vulnerable.  Will he be ok?  Probably.  But, it’s also the beginning of me not being able to fix things in his life.  The separating.  My heart breaks a little. Wish we could get back on the road where I feel somewhat in control.


Preschool Days 2 & 3: Mama Drama

Day 2: After an hour of her not wanting me to leave, I bit the bullet and walked out. I walked out to her screaming and crying and begging and grabbing at my legs. I walked to the gate and didn’t turn around. One of the hardest thing I have ever done. Like I’ve been punched in the gut.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Jonny Thirkill

I had signaled the teaching assistant I was doing it. She was standing next to us, ready to attend to Vivien. I went to the grocery store and took the groceries home. A zombie. All those things I had been looking forward to doing with my new free time in the morning flew out of my mind. I just felt horrible. I thought she must hate me. When I got home, there was a squirrel in my house. We both screamed. It ran out of the window we shouldn’t have left open.

I drove back near the school and walked closely by to try to hear her screams. I didn’t. I walked around the neighborhood for one hour. At least I got some exercise, that had been on my list. I was going to rush in at one point, but called my mom and she talked me out of it. “You are just going to prolong this,” she saod.  But it also showed it’s not crazy of Vivien or the other kids who cried when their parents left. I am arguably a middle-aged woman and in times of stress, I want my mommy too.

I called my friend Bonnie, I called my husband. Finally I sat in front of the school, again, just waiting to hear her voice or cry. When two parents from her class came up, they said I was not sitting by our kids, but a different class, so I wouldn’t have heard here anyway. We went in. I could see her happily having lunch. The teacher came over to us (they didn’t want the kids to see us yet). She said Vivien had cried for a few minutes and then played with two other kids. (Who had also cried earlier, maybe they are the sensitive crew.)  I went to where she was playing, about 15 minutes later.

I said, “are you ready to go home?”

Vivien said, “No, I want to stay.” I was so relieved and happy.

Mark is out of town, so I have to take her tomorrow, even though I have to bail even faster. God, I hope it goes okay.

And to think if Brad and Angie hadn’t had their kid on Monday, I wouldn’t have been able to have that experience with her.

Day 3: I went earlier so there were fewer kids and it was more tranquil. It’s a small room they start out in and it gets pretty hectic by 9ish. I stayed 30 minutes. Again, had to leave for work. I gave her a warning of leaving.  She took that fine.  But, when I said, “I’m going,” she flipped out again. Cried, grabbed, again the TA was standing by to pick her up. Vivien whacked her away, but the TA stayed with her. I walked out. As I walked to my car, I seriously thought I was going to throw up.

I drove 45 minutes to my shoot and blabbed to everyone who would listen about the preschool drama. I did a shoot on celebrity gift baskets. All that swag they get at gifting sweets. I said to my crew, “Let’s knock this out in one hour,” and we did. I was able to get back to Viv for the end of school. And again they said she had 2 minutes of crying and then was fine. She seemed fine. But tonight she said, “Mommy, no more school.”

I wasn’t going to send her 5 days this week, but now I think I should. Get her used to it…oh, gosh, I dunno. Also trying to set up some play dates with classmates, as she feels a familiarity with some of the kids.

You know, the other part that nags at me is I have a 14-year-old stepson who wants to spend very little time with us, and so I think, “Why am I pushing away this kid who wants to be with me?”