AddThis script

Friday, August 23, 2013

Big kids

We left sunny San Carlos and headed to Half Moon Bay where I’d hoped it would also be sunny (I was wrong). The kids had asked to go to Bean Hollow State Beach, but since I was the only adult overseeing four kids, I opted for the more-contained option outside Sam’s Chowder House. The water ripples like cake icing there and does not roll or tumble.

I spread blankets on the sand and tucked the corners in around me to minimize the fog’s penetrating cold—never mind that the kids were in swimsuits and belly-buttoned in ocean water. I rested my head against a large piece of driftwood. I opened my book and read. It was peaceful.

No one threw sand. No one bit anyone. No one whacked anyone with a shovel—they don’t do that stuff anymore. When they were hungry, they rinsed their hands in ocean water and asked for food using phrases like: “May I please have my sandwich now?” After I handed out caprese sandwiches, “Thank you” fell from their tongues. We would have been fine at Bean Hollow. They would have been fine at Bean Hollow without me.

It’s lovely to have self-sufficient children. It’s also a little bit sad to know that my kids don’t need me that much anymore. No one wanted my hands to build a sand castle or my eyes to scour for crabs. I was simply the conduit for their beach day. I was the planner, the sandwich-maker, the driver. Soon enough, they won’t even need me for that...I should ask my mother about this. I suspect she’ll know just what I’m talking about.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Living with us

When my eyelids open in the morning, I first notice the light. It’s not harsh, and instead of wanting to hide from it, I roll toward it and immediately notice the green. Leaves from the London Plane diffuse the brightness. I imagine I’m inside of a tree house instead of my bedroom. When C climbed into my bed one morning last week, we wondered how many leaves we could see. We also wondered why the barking, howling dog next door was barking and howling…

So much has happened in the last five years. I went to graduate school. I got divorced. I found dance. I endured 40 mediocre dates and one spectacular one that ended my merry-go-round. From there, life has settled down—my boyfriend and I got engaged in December, we moved in together in February, got married in May, bought a house in June and moved into a place with a big tree that could accommodate two adults and four kids (the house, not the tree).

As my world achieves the stability I’ve been reaching for, I am reminded that there will always be hiccups and challenges. The universe and its inhabitants are unpredictable. We just found out that my step-kids’ mom is moving 90 miles away. Instead of spending half of their time with their mom and half of the time with us, the kids will see her a few weekends a month and during some school breaks. In essence, they will live us.

The first emotion I feel is disbelief. I cannot imagine moving away from my boys. When my ex and his girlfriend moved in together, R was concerned that I would move away, as if I was perhaps obsolete now that one of his two houses had a nuclear family. I gently explained that it doesn’t work that way. The next emotion is sadness. The kids and their mom are losing their day-to-day time with each other—the daily routines around school and homework, rituals synonymous with childhood, rituals I’m gearing up for as we approach the first day of school.

Sure kids are resilient, but the only two people to really know the ramifications of this change are the kids themselves. And probably not until they’re adults. In the meantime, perhaps they’ll join C as we count leaves, right before their dad and I hustle them off to get ready for school.