[ disclaimer - this is being written under the influence of two or... three or something Maker's Marks ]
What do you do when it's June in Seattle and the high for the next week is forecast to be 58 degrees? You head for the sunshine state!
I ought to have had my camera ready when we crossed the state line but wasn't quite fast enough. Here's a shot taken moments later:
Welcome to the Sunshine State
We're spending a week in the "Redneck Riviera," on the panhandle, which means we're sitting in the northern edge of tropical storm Debbie, waiting to see if it turns into a hurricane or not. Either way, it's riptides and red flags on the beaches, which means the girls and I went swimming in the rain in the pool. Which worked fine, except when you got out of the water, when it was a tad cold…. (I don't have any pictures of the swim because I didn't want to drown my camera.)
But I'm getting ahead of myself, because in order to drive INTO this tropical storm, we first had to fly to Birmingham. Which means getting onto a plane at 10am 11am in Seattle, and flying to Albuquerque, then Chicago, then running .5 miles from gate B12 to gate A4A, in order to catch our connecting flight to Birmingham that was supposed to take off 5 minutes before we arrived at the gate on our previous flight.
A picture from the trip:
"Please return your children to their upright and locked positions...."
Some choice quotes from the long day of travel (it did a good job of approximating the journey on the Oregon Trail, if those traveling the Oregon Trail had to fly Southwest Airlines from Seattle to Albuquerque to Chicago to Birmingham):
K: Daddy, I haven't gassed one time all day long!
me: It's like a miracle!
me (a few minutes later): Is that your gas?
K (smiling): Yeah.
M: K needs to go to the bathroom.
me: Ok. Come on K. (we walk to the back of the plane where someone is coming out of the bathroom). Let's wait here until it's free.
A little girl comes back, obviously wanting to use the bathroom.
me: There's someone in there.
little girl (confused look): silence
We wait for 5 or 8 minutes, while the flight attendants pour and serve drinks around us.
me: Let's move over there. We'll be out of the way.
K: I don't think there's anyone in there.
me: No, there is. (looking at the door) Uh, what color is that?
K: Green Daddy.
me (opening the bathroom door): Uh, ok. I'm colorblind, remember.
It's become a tradition to take the girls out to lunch on the last day of school, which was nearly 2 weeks ago now. Which let's you know how behind on things I've been/gotten. Which also means that this post contains news which is older than 24 hours, which in internet time is, like, forever.
In any case, last year we took K to lunch to celebrate her finishing preschool and moving on to kindergarten (in the same classroom, with the same teachers and friends - it's what I'd call a "soft" graduation). L stayed with a neighbor since she wasn't in school yet. This was the occasion of K's very first milk shake. It was a lot of fun, though she was disappointingly blasé about the shake.
This year we took both girls to lunch, K to celebrate her finishing kindergarten and moving on to first grade (something that feels a little more 'real' than the pre-school-to-kindergarten move), and L to celebrate finishing her first year of preschool (with another ahead).
We branched out and went to End-o-Line Joe's. Where sodas were drunk. And I took these pictures.
Is it just me, or do they look disturbingly sophisticated, like two women sharing a bit of gossip about boyfriends and work and life over drinks at the end of the day?
That's going to come all too soon. I only hope they're as good friends then as now. I'd love to imagine they will spend evenings together after work, laughing and sharing details of how crazy their days had been, and what about mom and dad?!?
There are two small details that help keep K from seeming too terribly grownup:
A couple of missing teeth that make a perfect fit for a straw
This morning it was my job to get the girls to Art Camp, which is something they've been doing these last 2 weeks, now that school is over, and which takes place at their school, with some of their regular teachers. Which is to say that there's not much difference between this 2-week summer camp and the normal school day. So you'd imagine that it would be a pretty smooth process, getting them up and fed and dressed and brushed and out the door. But you'd be wrong.
This summer is shaping up to be crazy-busy, with a family reunion in Seaside on the Florida panhandle in 90+ degree heat, a possible trip home to Maui, and several events M is coordinating. Not to mention my work, house stuff, yard stuff..... In other words, it's just one more regular summer season in a line of regular seasons that extend back to last year and beyond, all of which feel crazy-busy. But I'm getting off track.
Summer seems to have (temporarily?) arrived here in Seattle, which means it's been sunny for 2 days now, with temperatures pushing up into the 70s. Soon locals will be fighting for the shady side of the bus and fanning themselves with "Bring Back the Sonics" fliers and mutter about how "we could use a little rain to clear the air." It also means that there's a chance the girls will have "sprinkler play" this afternoon. And it means that, in spite of earlier, well-laid plans, L decided on going to school in a long-sleeved turtle-neck sweater/shirt and heavy "cowgirl" boots. (K wore a sundress.)
I was up against a hard deadline of needing to make it back to the 9.15am water taxi, or being stuck until 11, so I felt relieved, proud even, that I'd managed to get them to the car with few tears and only one bribe per child. I wasn't going to draw any foolish lines at turtle-necks or hot-seeming boots. She'll be fine, or not. M is picking them up this afternoon.
I also managed to get only one of them sunscreened, but it was the one with the exposed arms. The same one who was developing a reaction to sunscreen yesterday. My work here is complete!*
*Full disclosure: M helped with lunches, and breakfast and some clothes selection (though neither the turtle-neck nor the boots), not to mention picking up after at least one melt-down triggered by my anticipating the end of L's question and answering it before she had finished asking. As it turns out, I'd anticipated correctly, so 30 minutes later, while showering, when she came in and asked me again and I finally understood what she was asking over the noise of the water, I was able to say (again) that I'd been born in a hospital and not at home, when I was born on Maui. My point being that as much as it might appear that I managed the entire morning on my own, I didn't.
There's not much that's as good for deflating an ego as being a parent. And I'm not quite sure what to make of this, but there's plenty about which I'm not sure what to make.
Last weekend we spent some time in the sun out in the yard, playing catch. K&L&a school friend all threw and caught the ball with me and it was good. The sunshine felt warm on my chest and shoulders and the yard looked beautiful (due to M's hard work). At some point L and their friend headed off to do other things and K and I were left to play one-on-one. And it was good.
K is at a point where she actually is able to catch (as opposed to back a year ago, when I'd toss a beach ball and it would bounce off her face, after which she would close her arms around... air - this is the stage that L is currently in) and throw, and we laughed and giggled and generally enjoyed each other's company in the glorious morning. I know K enjoyed herself, because she was fully of enthusiasm and little-girl joy. And because she shared this with me:
K (catching the ball): Daddy?
me (waiting for a throw, then leaning down to grab the ball): Yeah? K (arms out now for me return throw): I like the way you look.... for a Daddy.
me (pausing while my head, which had swelled, was shrinking back to its regular size again): Uh, oh. I like the way you look too.
It's double-definition tuesday, and today i've only got one. Which might be better than none and is possibly not quite as good as two. But you get what you get and you don't throw a fit. Or you do. I don't care.
a sister moment
hood canal, 6/2
flysquatter - noun, a handled implement for batting at flies.
(beautiful Sunday morning, sunshine streaming in through the windows, kitchen door open to the fresh air, and bugs) L (on the window seat): What IS that?!?
me&K: What? L (looking up wildly): It's a bug! It's a huge bug!! It's a bee!!! A bumblebee!!!! K: Where?!?
me (clued in now, and seeing it): It's a fly. L (slightly calmer): A fly?! K: Are you sure, Daddy?
me: Yeah. L (waving her hands): Get it aWAY from here!
me (laughing): It's just a fly. L: We need a... a.... one of those flysquatters, like Grandmama has.
me (not laughing): Nah, I'll just catch it and put it outside.
Yesterday morning we had a lovely morning when one of K's classmates came over, along with her mother.
This was originally going to be one more in the continuing series of "Purple Class" Sunday brunches, but for a variety of reasons all the other folks flaked out, leaving us with a playdate rather than a group brunch.
And for K this was, initially, a tragedy. Her interpretation was that no one was coming because no one liked her. She didn't understand how grownup schedules sometimes get in the way (probably unnecessarily) of child business. As a result, we had a bit of concern that she might not be a good host, but she rose to the occasion and she, L and their friend all had a great time.
It helped that the weather was beautiful, and that the friend and her mother were good company. And that there was juice, scones, proseco (for grownups) and flowers.
Over the course of the morning, as the girls played outside ("We're playing Neverland!" "Uh, ok." "We're princesses and there's a dragon!" "Cool!") they periodically brought in flowers from the yard for all of us grownups. And this morning as I ate my oatmeal, the flowers on the table made me think just how wonderful it is that we've got a yard from which little girls can gather and bring in flowers. Life with flowers and little girls is good.
And when I say that, I mean that I'm losing ground on all the posts I've intended to write but somehow haven't yet managed to get to.
Which means that tonight I'm writing about last week's "Purple Room Class Tea," at which M and I were feted with sparkling punch, a fruit-kabob a piece, and a gummy worm. All served up by K, who also helped her class decorate (garden theme, with lots of bird drawings and paintings, and did I mention the gummy worms?).
Service, with a smile
What's so wonderful about this experience, besides seeing how excited and nervous the children are about the fanciness of it all, is getting to see the arc of K's growth over the last 3 years. The tea is an annual affair, coming every spring, with a new theme each time. K's first year, when she was just 4yo, was Charlotte's Web. Her teacher read them the story, and the kids all drew pictures of farm life, and everywhere in the classroom were pigs (which, apparently, her teacher collects). Last year was... I don't rightly recall. And this year.... gummy worms, remember?
But what I most remember about the first year was how, carrying the first cup of punch to our table, K managed to drop it, immediately after which she collapsed in a heap, completely undone. Her assistant teacher helped her recover, and we made it through the next 20 minutes, but it was tremendously stressful for her (and thus, a bit for us as well). This year, well, K knows the ropes now, and it went as smoothly as you can imagine. She was proud and full of things to show/tell us, and where 2 years ago she wouldn't have put up with something like this, last week we were able to eat our gummy worms like a family ought to eat gummy worms:
Beauty and the... worm
I may have started it....
Proof positive that K has learned to take some of what we do in stride!
We're proud of her as she finishes up this year of kindergarten and looks ahead to First Grade!
Note:L had a tea as well (the "Blue Room Tea") at which I did not have my camera. And I have it in my list of posts-to-get-to. Which I may actually do. Or not. But it was as fun (and nervous-making) as K's first tea, and though we had no spilled sparkling lemonade, the cup I was served held about 1/4 inch of liquid, about which L looked extremely concerned and asked "It that ok Dada?" and I of course said that it was. And I was not lying.