Photo: Ursa Major’s first “self-portrait” has many surprising features! The Husband and I were amazing by how much artwork Major has done!


Our most excellent and amazing neighbors came over so that we could do Back to School night together. I don’t know why, but they had it scheduled for 6pm which is, like, prime rush hour around here. Worst! Anyway, it was a mad dash across town, deploying many short cuts to make it. The Husband kept trying to get me to relax, but… there was anxiety for some many reasons. It took so much just to make the day happen at all (including bathing, feeding and guitar practicing the boys before 5:30!) and then there was all the worry about what The Husband was going to think of the school (it was his first visit) and what the teacher was going to say to us about Major…

“Just be cool, babe. You’ve gotta calm down.”

Yeah, ok. I should have had a beer before we left.

Arrival was on time and we rushed down to the classroom. It was bright and happy, sparsely populated with other nervous parents. None of us parents talked to each other. We all sorta milled about in pairs, politely avoiding eye contact and/or bumping into each other as we floated from thing to see to some other thing to see. There were “hopes and dreams” drawn in clouds. There were writing folders already protecting precious pages of first handwriting practice. There were family portraits (Major drew the four of us in yellow with black, spiky hair). There was paper left at each little chair for parents to sit and write a little note to their child. One parent would sit and write (The Husband) while the other would float, lingering close by for no reason, never speaking to any other adults in the room (me).

When it was our turn to speak to the teacher, there were the polite handshakes, a little bit of small talk. Then the pregnant pause, filled with my motherly, “so how is he doing?”

“He seems to be doing just fine,” the young woman replied. “Does he seem stressed?”

I wasn’t prepared for this question. I was ready for something else. So I answered stupidly, “Well, no. I suppose not. I just… we don’t always get a lot about what he’s doing–”

“–The conversation starters you send home each night are very helpful,” my husband assisted.

That opened up some things. We talked about the schedule, potential friends. She asked about guitar practice: “he talks about it every day,” she told us. “That’s just so cool.”

Lingering over long after the spiel the teacher gave to all of us gathered parents, we began to venture toward the hallway. That’s when the principal came into the room. He greeted us very warmly, remembering me from the parent tours months ago. I’ve seen him since orientation only twice, but he has called me by name both times and he knows who Major is. He gave The Husband a hearty handshake and chatted with us for a long time.

The assistant principal gave us a personal tour of the gorgeous, bright, fantastic library.   He, too, remembers me from that tour back in the spring. He spoke with us for a while, highlighting many things we have to look forward to. The Husband was really impressed with the entire space, especially enjoying the huge gym, the over-stuffed art room and the music room filled with instruments.

And I was reminded of why we are doing all of this.

“I came into this building and was like, ‘we came all the way out here. Isn’t this what we were looking for?'”

The Husband nodded his head. “This is exactly what I had in mind when I thought of a school for our boys.”

Every once in a while, especially in stressful moments like these last two weeks, it’s nice to have a strong, visceral reminder of what the hell the goal is. Why are we here? What are we putting ourselves through this for?

I walked into that building last night and instantly thought, “Oh. Now I remember!”

We came here because we want our boys to get the best education we can afford to give them. We want them to feel safe and loved and take positive risks. Already, we’re seeing that. Major is having a great kindergarten experience. We’re on the right track.

I’m not saying the transition is any easier… Minor and I are pretty much over our colds. Major should be significantly better tomorrow. The Husband’s cold just arrived. Freelancing and Fiction still feel impossible, which tightly scheduled days and exhaustion at night. I feel overwhelmed by all that I feel like I have to accomplish during my 10 hours of baby-free time a week… so overwhelmed that I find myself paralyzed and wasting the time.

Rhythm, balance. They are coming… but they are far off. In the meantime, I feel like I’m falling farther and farther behind.

I’ll start dancing to the new rhythm soon enough. Until then, I’ll be here whining and whining. I’m sorry, Dear Reader. This has been intense and poor for blogging. Forgive me.

See you Friday for Quiet Thoughts.


6 thoughts on “This is Why We Came Here

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