Follow by Email

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The Summertime Girls

Lately I'm really struggling to start posts.  So...I don't.  I have a half-written tribute to Lily's school that I started on her last week, and she's already starting ESY at her new school.

Father's Day was Sunday.  I felt sad.  Maybe a bit sorry for myself.  It seemed to me that somehow I was sadder this year than I was last, and I feel like I probably just am not remembering correctly.  Last year we were at the beach.  Summer vacation.  It was...not what it once was.  But maybe just having vacation stuff to do pushed Father's Day stuff onto the back-burner and made that observance seem less sad than it might have.

It ends up being a weird circular celebration where my parents take Emma out to shop for me, and I give them a budget for Emma to buy a present to give me and then I pay them back.  It seems sort of sad.  It's ultimately no different from a balance sheet perspective.  When Leslie would take charge of Father's Day the debit came from the exact same account as this one did.  But she knew how to make it seem like a special occasion for me.  And too much of that now falls to Emma, who is as scattered and unfocused about those sorts of things as you might expect your average 14 year old girl might be.

So I was feeling a bit sorry for myself but we went to my parent's house and had a cookout and a good time and ultimately it was a very nice Father's Day, I just think I was moody and more fragile than I typically like to think myself.  We left that night and I got a great photo of the kids and I on my phone (Emma is a bit out of focus and looking slightly off 'camera' but it's probably one of the best pictures of the three of us ever)...but forgot to get one with MY dad.  Or my father-in-law.  I can be just as scattered as Emma, apparently.  Or perhaps we just know where she got it.

the best picture ever taken of the three of us.
ESY started for Lily on Monday.  ESY is "Extended School Year".  It's a school thing to help Lily keep some of the skills she picked up from last school year so that she doesn't regress over the long vacation.  Anyway, she has to ride a bus all the way to her new school, and I was a little edgy about the whole thing.  I got up a little extra early on Monday and had all her clothes laid out and supplements ready, and just tried to be extra organized so that the stress of this "first" wouldn't create problems.

Part of the stress of ESY is getting Lily on board, but she was fine getting on the bus (which arrived 20 minutes late.  I tried...so hard...not to call the bus company.  But I did.) and had what appeared to be a great first day.  Lily's teacher called me on my cell and just sort of gave me the verbal version of what she'd written in Lily's communication log.  Sounds like it went just about as well as I could have hoped.

Today before the bus arrived Lily said, "I can go to camp today?" and happy tears collected in the corners of my eyes as I furiously scribbled this into the communication log to send back to ESY this morning.

This kind of thing is exactly what Leslie would have stressed out about so much.  And I would compartmentalize it because, let's face it, Leslie had it covered, and I probably was not so understanding about how much stress she was under.  And now that stress falls to me and I can sort of get into my wife's head, absorbing that worry until it swells and I can physically feel the stress fill my chest like a helium balloon.  And then I remember to write lists...and it helps:

'call bus company
pack sun screen
pack lunch
arrange pickup'

So immediately after hearing about Lily's first day, I wanted to call Leslie and tell her.  Reassure her.  Lily's going to be okay.  Lily did great.  And so that was yet another happy/sad.  

Meanwhile Emma's summer is sort of just...going on.  In the background my teenager is experiencing her first "real" summer; the kind of summer I had when I was a kid.  She can stay at home by herself, go to the pool with friends, walk to her friend's house to hang out, go to movies...this is her first real taste of "freedom".  And although it feels like she's sort of the 'forgotten' kid in terms of making arrangements or whatever, it only feels that way to me.  To her I think the world is her oyster.  She is eager to be left alone.  Given space.  Allowed options. 

She started her volunteer work at Glade Run yesterday.  It's hard work and her feet were tired from pulling horses by lead ropes through the thick new sand of the coral.  She's not working full time this year the way she did last year.  I think it's more manageable this way, and more fun.
the best picture ever taken of a family member (glade run from last year)
This morning the bus was on time, and Lily was eager to go to "camp" and I noticed that instead of a seat by herself, or with a monitor...they put her next to "Lilly with two Els", who introduced herself to me as I was getting Lily up the steps of her bus yesterday.  She's a pretty, older girl, probably in her teens, and I don't think I knew how important it was for me to see Lily with other kids, because I almost started to cry.  I've never had an issue with Lily not really expressing any desire for social contact.  She's content solo, or seems to be, and I can honestly say that has given me no qualms.  But today when she was sitting down next to Lilly with two Els I got that heart swelling (non-medical) feeling and just felt really happy for her.  

And...honestly...If Lily is pissed she'll probably swat the girl next to her and they'll move her or whatever, but I'm going to preserve that image in my head and heart until I hear otherwise.  It was just very sweet.  

Nice way to start my day.