lost and found

On Saturday, at about 3:30 pm, we were getting ready to head out to the beach and dinner. Our six-year-old son asked “Is it late?” He asks this when he’s worried about the day coming to a close. He never wants weekend-days to end. I told him not to worry, that the day was young, we were heading out early for dinner.

Yesterday, the day before the first day of school, he fell asleep on the couch at about 3:30. He rarely does this — but he had stayed up late the two nights prior, not wanting the last weekend before school to end too soon.

He woke up just before dinner time, and cried. He had lost time. He knew what dinner-time meant: eat, bathe, get ready for bed, and then… school. We still had about a half-hour before dinner was ready, so I asked whether he wanted to watch a cartoon before eating. He was placated… temporarily.

But then, as we sat down to dinner, he started sobbing. My husband thought it was because he had turned off the tv, but our son said that wasn’t it. His sister knew what the problem was. 

“Don’t worry, your teacher is so nice, you’re going to have a great day tomorrow!” She is very good at cutting to the chase.

We tried to figure out what exactly bothered him about school. We reminded him that he knew his teacher (it was his sister’s first grade teacher), that he knew what the classroom looked like (he had seen it when his sister was in it, loved playing in there), that he knew a couple of the kids in his class already… We just couldn’t figure out what was wrong. I had a feeling all weekend that the prospect of the first day of school was troubling him… I had visions of him crying Monday morning, not wanting to get in the car. Dread filled me.

Still crying, he wailed, “I don’t remember where to goooooo!”

Oh!

We reminded him that his sister walks right past his class to get to her class, that she would walk with him after I dropped them off in car circle, just like we showed him on Friday as we walked around campus. It would all be familiar the minute he saw it.

Now he remembered. He calmed down almost instantly. 

Baffling. Or maybe not. 

Our son–he hates to be lost. And sometimes he forgets what he knows, and he’s reluctant to admit it. We’re all like that, I guess. 

 

Rubber band

Here I am in my parents’ home, with the children until Daddy can join us this weekend for a full and proper visit. Am writing on this tablet, which is not quite as easy as I’d hoped, but it’s coming along. So far the only major embarrassment is an accidental posting of a blank post. iPads are a bit trigger happy in some apps. Or is that just me?

In March I was here with the kids, and my mom was just getting her very basic strength back after recovering from a course of chemotherapy that nearly killed her. I wish I were speaking metaphorically. Last night, our first night here of this visit, we watched a crime procedural drama on TV–“The Closer” spoiler alert–an oncologist had been murdered and the suspect was a pharmaceutical sales rep who was trying to rid the world of chemotherapies, which “don’t heal, but poison.” It hit a little close to home, but Mom didn’t seem bothered by it.

Last year at about this time, the whole family was here at the same time, and we were preparing for a big back yard barbecue with our family’s closest friends. Mom was just starting to feel terribly ill, she had not yet been diagnosed… She was just exhausted. I remember prepping what seemed to be 40lbs of chicken with my sister-in-law under my Mom’s supervision–Mom insisted that we slit every single chicken breast (seriously, there had to have been 100) before marinating them. I said under my breath to my sister-in-law, “I think it’ll be fine if we don’t slit the chicken…” but then I looked at my mom. We slit the chicken. (Mom had given me her signature “don’t mess with me” look.)

Today, my mom retaught me how to make and roll the dough for one of my favorite food items ever. We worked together quietly, with her occasionally noting my progress or offering some other sort of encouragement. She said, “Last year I was just starting to get sick.” I said, “Yes, I remember.”

So much happens in such a short period of time. And so little can change. So much can terrify you, and then in an instant (or week, or month, or year, same thing) everything snaps back to the familiar.

Yesterday, on the plane, on the initial ascent after takeoff for my hometown, we hit turbulence. Not just any turbulence, and not the kind that causes the oxygen masks to drop down, but significant turbulence. For the first time ever in my very long history of flying, and more important, of absolutely loving to fly, I felt nervous. I looked around the plane and everybody seemed calm, but I kept feeling more and more anxious. And then I started to feel angry, literally thinking to myself, “Are you f—ing kidding me? I’m going down in a plane with our kids?” I literally thought-screamed “NOOOO!” and then…

And then I looked at our kids. They were laughing maniacally, shouting “Whoa! Whoa! Whooooooooa!” I snapped back to the familiar, and asked them to be a just little quieter.