Admittedly yes, it's been a while since I've blogged, but inevitably life gets in the way, we wander off sidetracked, become caught in brambles, lose our way.
I've lost a lot in the past couple of weeks, but I've gained even more: time. Time for my son, time for myself, time for my writing. I have some amazing opportunities and chances and changes on the horizon, and I'm pretty excited about that.
But in the meantime, I'm volunteering at my son's school.
The Dude is in Kindergarten, and apparently it is common for mothers who either don't work or have the free time to volunteer in the classroom for several hours in the morning. My son was ready for me to join the Mommy ranks immediately after I left my job, but I needed some time to prepare. It's a good thing I did.
His teacher, whom I consider a princess because she's beautiful, patient, put-together and delightful, told me to wear "old clothes" because I'd be painting with the children. The thought of painting at all makes me bite my lip, much less throwing 27 excitable five year olds into the mix. At least most of my clothes can be considered "old" by most anyone's standards, so I didn't have to worry about what to wear.
Decked out in all black, The Dude and I arrived on time at school. I parked and looked at him as he clamored over the console and into my lap, the usual way he climbs out of the car to go to school.
"So look, Mom," he said, settling into my lap and tapping the steering wheel. "Just because she sits beside me and sometimes I have to talk to her doesn't mean that Sarah and I aren't still broken up. Because we are."
Now this was unexpected.
"Well, okay," I frowned, trying to gather his backpack and my purse as he struggled in the opposite direction to open the car door. "But, just because you're not boyfriend and girlfriend any more (might I add, they are five) doesn't mean you can't still be friends. I mean, I'm friends with almost all of my ex-boyfriends. It's natural if you had a healthy relationship you want to continue."
"That," The Dude said, hopping out of the car and straight into a mud puddle with both feet, "is not the situation here. And that's all I have to say about it."
Now, I have always liked Sarah. Always since, oh, August, when the kids started school together and I watched this little girl greet my son in the hallway with a bright smile and a kiss on the cheek. (Yeah, I was a bit taken aback by that, but all right.) She obviously was crazy about my son, and she's a quick, friendly little thing with strong opinons and a confidence that belies her age. She gets this from her mother, I think.
That said, I immediately greeted the sunny little blonde, who happens to still sit beside The Dude in class. He glared at me for this blatant act of traitorism, to which I shrugged, and smiled, and went about my volunteering business.
I passed out stickers for homework and worked in the students' reading folders, in which each child is sent home with a book about a letter, such as A - Andy the Ant, or something to that effect. This was how I learned that my son, and one other child in his class, does not use those letter books - he and his friend are sent to the library, where he chooses a book each day from those reserved for students in the second grade.
The second grade. I blinked at him when he told me this, non-chalantly, as if he'd just said he gets to pick out his own tater tots at lunch, or his preferred milk of choice is strawberry. As if I should know that he's in Kindergarten but reading books for second graders.
One interesting project I worked on was in the students' Memory Books. These are plastic binders in which each month is filled with writing projects, photos, art attempts. I was working in February, and I had to call each child over to me and ask what three things they love, and then what (or who) they love the most.
The answers were funny and unpredictable. It was interesting to see which students listed things instead of people, like their toys and pets and stuffed animals. My own son gave macaroni and cheese as an answer, which surprised me, since he's only lately started eating it - and that's just because he tried some of my Easy Mac with red chili sauce in it. Now that's the only way he'll eat it. He said he loves me "most of all."
"Of course you do," I sniffed, and kissed his nose.
Two other children listed either my son or something he had given them as things they loved, and one little boy said he loved The Dude most of all.
"Huh," I said, jotting down the answer. "Okaaaaaay."
It was near time for lunch when my son, distracted and watching me, clearly bereft at the fact that I'd be leaving soon, backed toward his tiny chair and tried to sit down - without looking. He tumbled backward into the floor, all flailing hands and kicking knees. I covered my mouth with my hand and called, "Are you okay?"
He scrambed to his feet, red-faced and already wet-eyed. He glared at me. "I NEVER should have asked you to come here!" he cried, sitting carefully and covering his face. I called out his name.
Sarah, an arm's length away from him, peered into his face, touched his fingers. She turned to me. "Miss Tomi? He's crying."
"I AM NOT!" He shrieked, and we all jumped. His teacher glanced over, but I waved a hand. "I just never should have asked you here!"
This is a typical reaction of my son: he can't just be upset that this isolated incident happened and embarrassed him for a moment - he is responsible for the entire rotten day and everything that happens to everyone. He flings himself to the extremes, while I tend to languish more close to ambivalence.
I never cease to be amazed at the traits and characteristics of my family that surface in my son, or the aspects of his personality that are completely his own.
It's fun, this Mommy gig.