the moment when isaac raised his hand during the first 20 minutes of class and said, "3.14159265." (also known as pi) ordinarily, this could have been thrilling, but the question had been, "what don't we do with scissors?"
a very sweet, new instructional aide for jacob. i might be in love with her. just a little.
a failed attempt at the parent (support group? mixer? networking seminar?) coffee talk. we gave it a solid 5 minutes before realizing that we could talk (and grimace) more freely elsewhere.
over 100 degree temperatures.
a celebratory trip to cral's jr. (or carl's jr., if you don't speak jacob-ese) for a "good milkshake" after a successful first day.
a second when jacob's aide turned to me and said, "we're going to have a great school year." and my whole heart believed her.
jacob and isaac, only hours away from being second graders...
in spite of my denial. and the most earnest desire of my heart, for summer to never end. school starts tomorrow.
tears. tightening of stomach. balled fists.
it is almost too much.
to battle (at least half-heartedly) the inevitable sorrow and stress that tomorrow will bring, i have a few wishes to make.
please let me not communicate above stated sorrow and stress to my very sensitive boys.
please let me remember to brush my hair before i leave the house.
please help me to remember every minimum day, parent-teacher conference, fundraiser night, birthday invitation, dress-up day, school spirit day, etc., etc.
please help my boys to make some good friends, or even, one good friend this year.
please give me the courage to speak to the other parents even when i: look terrible, don't feel like it, am beginning to look into homeschooling, or am afraid that they'll say something so thoughtless that i will have to turn their velour tracksuit into a juicy couture body bag.
please help me to tolerate velour tracksuits. apparently they are here to stay.
please no bullies. or parents enabling their bully children and emailing me. seriously. no, thanks.
please let everyone who interacts with my boys see, even if only for a moment, how wonderful they are. and give them the compassion to treat them that way.
please let my boys feel the strength and assurance that they are loved. beyond measure. all day. every day. forever. by me.
the end of summer makes me feel sad. and kind of forlorn.
(when i write the word "forlorn", i think of an incredibly regrettable poem that attempts to make it rhyme with the word "unicorn". write me such a poem, and i will frame it. and love it. every single day. do it.)
a quick review of this summer's bounty:
i came back into the world of shorts. good for me. lame for onlookers.
i found and made (3 times!) the best cake for strawberry shortcake.
the boys all gained some freckles, and i wanted to name each of them. frederick, pip, vince, zeus, etc.
we tried out the drive-in movies and LOVED it. nobody even noticed that i held the bag of kettle corn the entire time...
we gained a big-boy bed and lost a couch.
the boys swam like fish. ate like horses. grew like weeds. and swore like sailors. (one of those was false)
i stayed up late, chatting with friends and doing my nails.
i didn't blow dry my hair unless i had to.
lucas and i were best friends.
isaac kissed me every day and made me laugh even when i shouldn't.
jacob built some amazing lego stuff, and made me tear up when he sang along to the radio in the car. (come on, usher really tugs on the heartstrings.)
we watched enough old reruns of SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE to convince us to watch the summer 2010 season.
we've had joint family outings with friends which multiplied the fun by the hundreds.
i've considered revisiting my childhood friendship bracelet making frenzy. what do you think? would it be rad?
there are probably all kinds of guilt. religious guilt. done-someone-wrong guilt. ate-all-your-child's-halloween-candy guilt. and those are all pretty rocky, and maybe even, vomit-inducing... but one form of guilt that i cannot seem to fall asleep through is the your-kid-missed-out guilt.
isaac told his teachers before school let out that we were going to legoland this summer. despite isaac's power of positive thinking strategy, we had no such plans. i laughed it off, but inside i worried. is a summer break really a summer break without a momentous excursion? probably. but just in case, i wasn't going to let guilt get the last laugh.
i was beginning to weigh various day trips when i was talking to k one afternoon. she suggested santa cruz beach boardwalk. her kids love it. top three selling points: beach, crazy rides, and garlic fries.
** i hadn't been to the boardwalk since i was about 15. and my family went one summer during a weeklong camping trip. yep. i said weeklong camping. on that trip i ended up with 19 mosquito bites ON MY FACE. 19. it was like vacation leprosy. it cannot be overstated that i do not like camping.**
k was planning to take her boys this past friday, and we decided to make it a two-car caravan.
the ride down, including 3 pit stops, went very smoothly. the boys like car travel. ragain likes listening to the radio. and i like eating chips and buttery pretzels. (crunch, crunch, crunch)
when we finally arrived at the boardwalk parking lot, jacob didn't want to get out. he said he wanted to stay in the car and take a nap. the trip took an abrupt nosedive. we convinced him to get out after a few minutes, but i was a little concerned. i hoped he would get into it once we started riding the rides...
first, family photo to prove we made it to our destination and were all still claiming to be related. in reviewing the photos, i realized i looked like a man. image omitted.
ride #1: ghost blasters. lucas and i ride together. he screams for the entire ride. i tell myself that the 19 mosquito bites were still infinitely worse.
next, the twins ride their first roller coaster. isaac buries his head in one of k's son's shoulders during the scary bits. but still, when he and jacob get off the ride, they look completely exhilarated. lucas looks jealous.
rides, rides, rides.
lucas and i foray into the world of dippin' dots. we're converted and have blue-stained mouths.
rides, rides, rides.
i almost have heart-failure as isaac and jacob soar over my head in the "superman" ride.
log ride. we get SOAKED!!! lucas looks like he wants his money back.
i scream like a maniac during the tilt-a-whirl ride. worse, i try to regain my composure over and over again by pointing out the ocean to the kids. then, the screams bubble out of my mouth again and the kids spend the rest of the ride imitating me saying, "look, the ocean. mmmmmm- aaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh!!!!!"
while putting lucas on a helicopter ride, the band, flock of seagulls, begins a beachside performance. no, seriously.
we dash out to the beach for a quick slosh in the waves, but by this time it's after 8 and freezing out in the sand. we run back to the boardwalk for several helpings of fries, and ok, maybe one corndog.
mmm fries...don't mind if i do...
we trudge reluctantly back to the parking lot with a warm bag of cinnamon glazed almonds jacob wants to be carried. he cries as he looks back at all the winking lights. then, kisses ragain's face, strokes his arm, and says, "thanks for bringing me."
well, my little man lucas has graduated. sort of. graduated out of his crib, anyway. he was still cool with it, but at 4 1/2, it seemed like we were holding onto babyhood a little too tightly...
he's been in his big boy bed for about a week. he seems to like it pretty well. hasn't been upset about being put to bed in it... until last night. i tucked him in and he snuggled under the covers, but before i could blink he had bounced back out and was in the bathroom. i tucked him in again. and he was back out cavorting with animal toys. bed, again. then, demanding raisin bread in the living room. over and over. i lost track.
how was he gaining the upper hand? i'll tell you. it's so simple, it's laughable.
he kept calling to me.
and then running out to me. before you pity my weakness, can i just tell you one more thing? i've waited for this.
not even a week after lucas was diagnosed on the autism spectrum, we had family visiting for christmas. my brother-in-law and his wife came out from texas with their little boy who none of us had met yet. he was 14 months old, and adorable. he was toddling around and showing toys to his parents. he was marveling at everything. he was imitating words. but, most heartbreaking to me... he was calling for his mom. often. looking for her when she left the room.
in what felt like sharp contrast, lucas was relatively silent, although almost a full year older. he didn't call to me and rarely seemed to notice where i was. it was particularly obvious, earlier in the week, during his assessment. i remembered the task from the twins' assessments, but it didn't make it any easier. i was asked to call to lucas while out of his line of vision and while he was engaged in another activity. first, i have to say his name in a regular voice. then, slightly louder. then, with excitement, as though i have a treat for him.
he doesn't turn. he doesn't look.
it was. it is excruciating.
we have hit some major milestones since christmas 2006. lucas is talking quite a bit. he imitates words. he sings along to the radio. he greets his tutors. he kisses me when i lean my face toward him.
but, last night was the first night he called for me. like he only wanted me. like i was the only one who knew how to tuck him in. like he wanted to know where i was.
and i know what the parenting books say. and i know it's going to cost me hours of sleep in the future. and i don't care. after midnight last night, i was curled up, like a giant on a barbie-sized bed next to a very sleepy lucas. i thought about sneaking out, but every now and then, he would raise his head and look for me. then reach out his hand to touch my face. and i cried. because it's even better than i thought it would be.
steph blackard is the mom of three sweet boys. she loves to eat, bake, and read. she rarely uses the shift key and is tragically incapable of winking. this blog is about her life, and all the nouns that fill it.