Julia finished two days. She has come home happy both days. I’ve gotten no frantic phone calls, emails or texts from anyone at school. She lost her binder on the first day (found yesterday) and her new to her jacket on the second (she will look for it today). There is a strict phone rule in her physics class—if the phone comes out in class, you lose it. First time, until the end of class, second time, it goes to the house office with unknown consequences. Good black line rule for Julia, nice that it is for everyone. I’ve driven her to school these two days and I will do so tomorrow as well. Buses are messed up (Did I bring that challenge with me?). Interestingly, the bus dilemma is not confined to sped buses and there was a general email from the principal about it yesterday. He admitted that the primary reason for the problem is not enough planning and he has an idea about what to do for next year. For the present, more parents are driving kids to school. Just like West, Newton North sits in the middle of a suburban neighborhood and as such does not have the roads to support school drop off traffic. Our 6 minute drive takes 20 and getting out of melee takes more. The buses will help. I think Julia appreciates our time in the car. High anxiety yesterday, a slightly lower level this morning.
My plan, both yesterday and today, was to drop Julia off and find a cafe for coffee. Yesterday, I couldn’t find the cafe I had picked out, today, traffic overwhelmed me. I wound up at home, eating cheese on toast, tapping away in my favorite leather chair, knowing I need time and patience to grow some real legs here.
Observation: When I clicked on pages to begin this posting, my to-do list and a writing page popped up. I hadn’t close either last night. I am finding it hard to put unfinished business away.
Observation: Facebook pops up with a memory of Julia’s first day of school pictures from two years ago—the beginning of high school. Julia looks happier, at least compared to yesterday’s picture. She is showing both the wear and tare of our move and also, she is less apt to ‘smile pretty’ for me to take pictures. Almost like a typical teen which makes me smile.
I started writing this morning with my first thought of the day: what is challenging right now is the lack of depth. And some depth, in casual, daily conversation, in friendships, even in knowing where to go for morning coffee, is what was always available when I moved anywhere with David. Moving with a partner is easier than moving alone. I get an infusion of depth when I am with Cheshire and when I communicate with Madison friends, but it is not day in and day out. It has not been day in and day out for nine years, but here in a new wilderness, I am ever more aware of it. And it takes time.
I don my patience hat.
The solution: putting myself out there. Where is there? That is still not decided or found.
One regret I have in raising Julia is that after David died, I retreated and did not, could not, reach out socially for Julia and I. I remember two parties that I went to in that first year after David’s death—one was for David’s favorite theater group and the other was a holiday party of a newish friend. I was not a good guest at either—feeling shy, unsocial, possibly anti-social, nothing to say, and talking about death and autism too much. I needed to talk about that stuff but a party with near strangers was the wrong choice. Then again, for parts of each night I did not talk at all and could not listen. Again, bad guest behavior. The behavior was understandable; however, it scared me and I retreated. I was reminded of what it was like to be a severely shy child and I allow that to sink in. And we had plenty to do. It was the time of intensive therapy—there was a minimum number of hours to hold on to the state waiver slot and therapists were in our house every day after school and on weekends. It was easy to excuse myself from any social invitation or bid. And so, I did not cultivate family friends, friends with peers for Julia, peers who played with her when she was young and who developed a history with her. The two exceptions to this is one Madison family and FUS, and with those friends and at FUS, Julia and I thrived. I was lucky with those but I see so very clearly now many missed opportunities.
I review this and call it to mind as I look for and find what I can do with my weekdays and the two of us can do on weekends. At times, I do wish to retreat, keeping us in our new-in-town bubble. Last night we did not go to a Newton UU pot luck and sing. My excuse was a long school day and then a library visit for anime club. And I had no dish to bring. I am pretty sure no one would have cared about the dish and Julia had no evening tasks. The decision not to eat and sing at FUUSN was not a good one.
I enjoyed my near complete silence yesterday and it is my resolve that such replenishment of the soul should fuel the stepping out that I need to do. Because I and we need to begin finding deep community. Tonight, there is a new parents night reception at Newton North.
This has been a morning pep talk brought to you by my second cup of coffee.