Archive for June, 2010


Unexpected Emotional Response

June 21, 2010

In the past month or so, my train rides to work have been intermittently interrupted and made chaotic by one school group or another going on a field trip.  One group was so out of control, they were literally hanging from the bars and jumping across the aisles from seat-to-seat.  Another time it was a class from S~ and L~’s school, but for a minute when I saw a familiar parent, I thought it was actually L~’s class, and was very excited that I might see her.  It was the grade below her, though.  And they were – I might add – fantastically behaved.

Today it was another group from our school.  I recognized the teachers and several parents right off.  The kids were noisy, but not disruptive (i.e., their feet stayed on the floor).  It wss the third grade.

And I knew where they were going.  Late in the school year, lunches in hand, the smell of sunscreen in the air, parents in waterproof shorts.

They were going to an island off of Boston.

I know because the third grade goes there every year.  I was bummed that I didn’t make it work to be a chaperone when (during our first year here), S~ came home so excited about the fantastic day she had.  I resolved then and there to make it work to go with L~’s class.

And I did.  I took a day off from studying (ahhh, those were the days), and I went to that island.

Remembering that day – and L~ and her friends at age 8 or 9, and some of the innocence that was still in place, brought me to tears on the train today.  Thank god for sunglasses.  L~ and I were remembering the trip not too long ago, and she said, “oh, remember, I fell asleep on the ferry back?”  And she did.  She curled up with her BFF at the time, they were all squeezey in one chair, and passed out on each other’s shoulders.  The next year, they had a very hard time navigating their friendship, and L~ experienced a good bit of misery and ostracization.  But that trip was before that, and the pictures of them more than 2 years into their friendship (now a 5+ year friendship, since they seem to have weathered the 4th grade storm) are some of the sweetest photos we have.

Another memory from the trip, while tearing up on the train, was that I had my first conversation with a now-dear friend on that trip.  It wasn’t the start of the friendship – that came later.  But I remember still feeling “new” to the parent-community, and feeling intimidated by this woman.  Remembering those feelings from today’s vantage point – where she and I partner closely on major projects and are very close – is really disorienting.  (Actually, I am leaving work early today to go and meet with her and interview candidates for the next phase of our project.)

I have enjoyed nothing more than my girls getting older.  There is so much about the younger-years that I do not miss.  I love the way that we relate now that they’re older, I love the relationships that have evolved.  I would never go back in time.

But today, I was really sad.



June 2, 2010

Last Wednesday, work was on my nerves, and so when L~ asked me if I’d go to her track meet in the morning [mid-day], I said sure – why not?

She did great.  She ran in the 200, and came in first in her heat.  Overall times placed her 5th, town wide, which is a big accomplishment.  Especially since she says “I’m not a sprinter.”  She prefers and excels at distance running – took 1st place in our town wide cross-country meet in her 5th grade year, and was 7th in her 6th grade year, despite running with a head & chest full of snot and a low-grade fever (she hid a cough from me, afraid I wouldn’t let her run ….)

She was very proud of her 5th place ranking, and of her best pals’ 1st and 2nd place rankings.  Her attitude was amazing, and I was in awe of her lack of jealousy or disappointment.

But then later that night, she declared that she was going to start training TODAY for the cross-country meet in the fall so she could get 1st place again.  Outwardly happy with 5th – not a shred of discontent for the world to see, but yet setting goals to get that 1st place mantle back in her grubby little hands.

Writer Dude and I started to giggle a little bit at the idea of her “training” for the cross-country meet in October.  When was she going to run?  and with who?  She said WD had to help her.  He observed that his helping her train was fine and dandy, but it would have to be instead of hanging out with her friends in the afternoons.  She sulked.

For a millisecond.  Then she turned huge eyes on me:

Mom ….


I could go in the morning.  With you!

But but but [I did not say] that’s my alone time!  I love my alone time!  My “jog around the water and talk to myself” time.  How can I talk to myself with my daughter watching?  I can’t!!

[I did say] It’s so early, you’d have to get up at 5:30! [she nods, frantically]

WD steps in to say “but then you’d have to take a shower, because you’d be sweaty & gross.”

I can take a shower!

But that’s when I take a shower, I reminded her.

I’ll take a quick shower – I won’t even use all the hot water!

WD seemed to then think that she would be incapable of getting up at 5:30.  I had more faith in her, though (since she gets up with her alarm every day, and then wakes WD – and myself if I haven’t gone running), so was a bit more reluctant when he told her she could try it “just once.”  Frizzum.

Of course, she woke up at 5:30.  I heard her alarm go off, and I realized this would not be a day that I chose to push snooze and turn over.  I heard her get up and pee, I heard her get dressed.  Then I didn’t hear anything else.  I was in the living room with my running clothes & sneakers on when I heard her tiptoe down the hall.  She poked her head in and said, “phew!  I was so afraid you didn’t wake up!”

Really, she is just the cutest.

So out the door we went.

She was fun to be with.  Alone time is over-rated, it turns out.  She was cute & chatty, and so excited to be out and on the route with me.  She laughed at herself for having no idea where we were.  She charmed fellow runners who gave her thumbs-ups, and shouted, “I wish my kids would come with me!”

But then there was the not-so-fun part.  Her looking at me like I was the tortoise, and her the hare.  My realization that she won the cross-country meet last year with a 6:34 mile.  While I’m going along my routine of alternating pathetically slow jogging with less pathetically slow walking.

Although, the not-so-fun-part turned into a good part — I ran harder and longer that day than I had in the entire week previously.

We laughed that by “training” with me, she would slow down considerably.

The next day – she was sore from her track meet, soccer practice, and running on Thursday, and I was … tired (thank you, monthly visitor).  So, we walked instead of ran.

Her goal is to come with me on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays.  But of course, tomorrow she has a 7:30 orthodontist appointment, so she won’t come.  Let’s see if she can pull it off on Friday.