Every year, on Julia’s first day of school, I have one glorious, luxurious fantasy. I take a long hot, deep bubble and salts bath with a glass of prosecco and a few choice pieces of very dark chocolate waiting for me. Afterwards, I indulge in a massage and facial. I expect nothing more of myself that day other than to enjoy and revel in the indulgence. (FYI: I never indulged in such fantasy raising a typical child and working full time. I usually regretted homework free time together, but that was the extend of first day of school musings.) In reality, I am prone to waste the day, dithering in the house, hanging out much too long on the internet, trying to find reasons not to get off the couch and at the same time, pushing myself to mop up after the summer, take care of money matters, correspondence and everything I’ve put aside in favor of whatever was happening with Julia. That is much closer to what I am doing today.
Cutting myself a bit of slack, yesterday, was my first day off since school ended in June. I love my girl and I enjoy our time together but there is little quiet, reflective time when she is around. During the summer, we are constant companions and unless I arrange time with respite providers, there is no one else. Julia is texting with a few girls, although it is only to say ‘hi’ and send some pony images, not to arrange to getting together. Because of our summer schedule this year—Penguin Project show, then travel— there was no good time to plan some away-from-me time for her. I don’t have the number of respite providers I used to and most of those I do have were away in August. It worked but . . . next summer, Julia needs to spend some time at a camp or have employment.
When the thoughts that I am Julia’s only companion in life and the knowledge that I initiate anything that happens for her invade, it scares me. I practice patience. I will wait. I take comfort in the idea that Julia initiated cheer although I am responsible for getting her where and when, finding out schedules and the uniform accessories of the day. Maybe one day, she will take hold of the reigns.
Yesterday morning, the first day of school went splendidly. The bus was late with the excuse that there was traffic on Park St — well, yes, every morning that I’ve lived here! — and she was probably late for school. I will give Badger Bus until next week, to get their schedule worked out. Today, the IT guy for Badger Bus was driving. Hard to get drivers, he explained. A bit earlier but she was probably still late. I will start badgering next week.
According to her case manager, her day went well. According to Julia, she impulsively hugged the boy she had a massive crush on last year. We talked about personal space, respectful behavior towards others, etc. and then I said the rule is, “No hugging boys.” She said she loved ceramics and that she would get very dirty in that class. I thought that was wonderful. She left the shirt she wore over her dress yesterday at school somewhere. That would have been cause for a major stop to her day last year. She told me confidently that she would find it. I don’t know how she did at the time.
No homework was assigned last night, or at least, no homework was written down by Julia. So, she wrote in her journal (mostly about the hugging) and played her cello. She did need to sleep in my bed last night, saying she felt better than in her bed.
This morning was not as smooth as yesterday. Her high top sneaker do take more time get on; she wanted to wear her family day necklace and I’d like to reserve it for dress up times when she is not as likely to play with the pendant all day; she didn’t clean up the bathroom after her shower, etc. I’m hoping this evens out in the week ahead. One thing: I can’t let her snooze for an extra 10 minutes unless I set the alarm 10 minutes earlier.
One more thing: And this doesn’t fit with the flow but. . . . a noticeable growth spot. Sometime around one the morning the first day of school, long after I had congratulated myself for getting Julia to bed and Julia had really fallen asleep, we were awakened by the sound of something falling down. At first I thought it was Julia’s book case. No good reason for that other than it was loud and sounded close and she has the only book case on the second floor. It was not upstairs. Julia was awake so I asked her to come downstairs with me. I admit to being a bit scared, not sure of what. Whatever fell, it didn’t sound like an intruder. The two book shelves in the living room book case had collapsed and the shelves and the books were resting on top of our tv monitor which was leaning away from the wall at a precarious angle. I had to cradle the monitor so it didn’t move and take the books down one at a time. I handed the books to Julia who made piles on the floor. She was helpful as I asked and without any reluctance to pitch in. When we finished we went back upstairs to bed and Julia offered me a high 5 and exclaimed, We did it! I was very proud of her cooperation and effort.
The why of the collapse: After a summer of road work shaking and jostling the house, especially the corner that these shelves are closest to, something like this was bound to happen. One of the L-shaped clips that holds up the top shelf was bent and completely straight. Hopefully, it will never happen again!