Just Write 99

August 26, 2013

We walked through the grass that’s getting too long again, across our yard and into our neighbor’s yard, cut through their driveway and stood on their shiny brown stoop. Elsie was in only a diaper because she was about to have a bath and get ready for bed when I realized we should visit her preschool (yes, at the next door neighbor’s home) before the morning since it had been a while since we’d been inside.

She stepped confidently in, but then when the whole family was squatting down to welcome her and tell her all the wonderful things she’ll be doing, her face crumpled with overwhelm and she put her arms up to me, to be held.

Home. She said. Bye.

I consoled her and showed her toys. Our neighbor told her she could have pancakes or waffles in the morning. She just stared, her big blue eyes all wet.


We walked back home the way we’d come and I said Yay pancakes and she said, NO. Waffles. (Wahsohs.)

This morning we made the same trip and in she went, not a tear or a fuss of any  kind. Bye Mommy, she said.  It’s like she thought it through and came to terms and let go. I learn from her.


Asher and Miles looked so small under the weight of their backpacks. While I was getting ready, I looked over to see Asher lying on the floor, his backpack on, ready. Are you tired, are you sick? I asked.

No, just taking a break from my backpack. 

There he was, on his side, his backpack resting behind him. Sweet relief. He makes me laugh so often.


Miles seemed ready this year. Strangely happy to be going to school when in past years he has not at all liked the start, or the middle, or the end. This is a small grace I need.

Ryan walked him to class and I walked Asher, whose lip started to tremble at the doorway to his room, his eyes down like he was afraid to be caught being sad. The other kids were hopping in, skipping, jumping, loud and excited. He held my hand tighter and pulled me down to the floor with him, to sit by him and the other kids, at the feet of their new teacher. I have to go, I told him, and his face crumpled and tears started to run.

I got up and I whispered that he is so much braver than he knows and that he needs to trust me that so much of this is going to be fun.

I asked the teacher’s helper to come and sit by him and she got down and rubbed his back and I waved and blew a kiss that I hardly got out before I turned around for crying air.

I cried walking down the hall, an ugly cry, with my head up. Yes, dammit. I have a boy in there who is sad. 


In the post office, not wrangling anyone (that is so weird), I stood in line and then at the counter while the nice guy went to get my package from the back room. I suddenly realized that I was rubbing my pointer finger back and forth across my top lip, my elbow on the counter. My Grandpa Glenn always did that, a nervous habit, I guess. I do that and I tighten one hand over and over like my Grandma Helen and sometimes I’ll notice that my hand sits in my lap just like my Dad and my Grandpa Dale. I could write a list of things that I do that come from my Grandma Colleen and my mom and dad, too. My sister, my aunts.

This nervous gesture, at the post office, it comforted me. We are all somehow always together, at least in small ways, even when we are not. I hope my boys feel that. I hope Elsie always feels that too.

Kindergarten is just one of those milestones that hurts in a more profound way. Today, when I pick him up, I’m going to hug him long and I’m going to look in those sad eyes and tell him that I’m always with him. If not now, one day he’ll understand.


This is Daddy saying YAY to convince them that school is YAY…


This is the 99th installment of Just Write, an exercise in free writing your ordinary and extraordinary moments. {Please see the details here.} I would love to read your freely written words so join me and link up below. You can add the url of your post at any time. Just be sure it’s a link to your Just Write post, not to your main page, and please don’t link to posts that are not freely written in the spirit of capturing moments–you know, don’t link to how-to posts, lists or sponsored posts. Also, please link back to this post in yours so people know where to go if they’d like to join in.

Please take a moment to visit someone else who has linked up! It’s a really good way to meet new writers and get inspired by the meaning behind their moments. Word? Thank you!


Share on FacebookShare on TwitterPin it on PinterestShare via emailSubmit to StumbleUpon