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Saturday, September 7, 2013

might as well enjoy it.

 What started out as a very painful week turned, as things often do, into a successful week of accomplishment and pride. 
Day two of school I planned a ride on MDI with my friend Chris while the kids were in school.  It was kind of like my way to mark this new phase of my life. I was all packed, bike in the car and ready for drop-off when I went to help Maya with her shoes and hit a road block.
"Are you coming into help at lunch today?" 
"Not today.  I can't go in everyday.  They wouldn't want me to do that."
"If you're not coming in, I don't want to go to school."
"I can't come in today but I will another day very soon."
"I don't want to go to school!!!"
Uh-oh.  I really wasn't sure, in my fragile emotional state, if I could handle forcing my child to go to school.  Even if I needed to.  Even if it would be best for her. 
As I was pondering my very immediate future full of tears from both of us, she said, "I will go, but if you don't come I won't eat."
"Okay.  You don't have to eat."
"I won't eat anything.  Not one thing."
"Okay. Deal."  She put her shoes on and got in the car.  She agreed to let Ally walk her to her class.  No tears, no fuss and I actually got a smile.
At home I met Chris and we hit the road for Bar Harbor.  We hit the September weather jackpot and got pretty much the most exquisite day one could ever hope for on a bike.  Chis is a very ambitious cyclist and I love to ride with her.  She mapped out a loop that took us up Cadillac Mountain and then all over the Acadia National Park Loop Road and through Northeast Harbor.
Thank goodness we started with Cadillac because it is a major leg crusher.  We did it  back in May when the road was closed to cars.  Let me tell you  there is no comparison between climbing a mountain road without cars and with a steady stream of cars and buses and motorcycles.  When we got to the top it was so jammed with people we didn't even go to the vista lookouts and instead headed back down.  I did snap this pic on the way down the road. 
The day was unparalled beauty.  We rode 41 miles and my legs were shredded at the end. I think when my heart hurts I really crave physical challenge so this was perfect for me.

The girls had a great first week.  Maya did in fact eat on the second day of school.  Ella is adjusting nicely to her new school, although the jury is out on whether she likes it as much as her old school. 
Maya has this very cool device called an FM system at school.  It allows the teacher to speak through a microphone that transmits directly into Maya's hearing aids. Unfortunately we only have one of the two transmitters working but that will be rectified shortly.  When I heard about this accommodation for her I wondered if she would really need it since her hearing loss is mild.  Then we got to hear on a computer simulation what it sounds like for her with and without the FM system.  Without the system, and just her hearing aids, everything is amplified in the room so the teacher's voice is, but also all the kids and all the background noise.  In other words, it is very hard to hear the teacher.  With the FM system, her teacher's voice comes right into her ear (we tried it and it is amazing!) and it also helps to cancel out some of the background noise.  This will be essential for such a busy child to hear directions in a space as distracting as a kindergarten classroom.  The FM system gets passed to whatever teacher is giving instructions (art, music, PE and the principal at school assemblies) and can be used via microphone by other kids in the class.
She says to me after the first day: "At school this ear (the left) is a magic ear.  I can hear Mrs. Welch right in my ear!  I wish you had one of these so that I could always hear what you are saying."
(There may be a way to get one and I am working on it.  It would be perfect for public settings.)
The system is working so well and Maya is responding so well to the structure of kindergarten that she even got her name moved to the owl (a really good thing we presume) and earned not only her first, but also her second, McGraw Paw!  (These are given out in special recognition of good behavior.)  After watching Ella earn these purple gems for 3 years, she was mighty happy to have a couple of her own.
I confess it was hard to send Ella to kindergarten.  Not just on the first day when she clung to me like a barnacle and had to peeled off, but for months it was hard.  She was tired by all day school until sometime after Christmas.  She didn't want to leave home. 
Maya is ready with a capital R. Other than the one protest about me coming for lunch, the other mornings she has been anxious to don her backpack and get in the car.  After school she wants to play school.  She is Mrs. Welch and I am the student.  She talks nonstop before and after school and we are attempting to tire her since school is barely making a dent in her energy level.
On her first run.  She and Sandi went together and she talked the entire way on every possible subject like a ping pong in play.  They ran just over a mile without stopping.
Maya's mind is such an active and fertile place and I have to admit, she needs school.  And after spending all summer trying to keep her stimulated, it is nice for it to be Mrs. Welch's turn for some of the day.

Ella has been more quiet this week but she is doing her homework with no complaining, she has been much kinder to her sister and, overall, I see a shift in her general being.  She is more thoughtful, more mature, and more bold.

This is what I have to say about having both kids in school.  (Ironically, this is similar to one of the things my friend Emilie has said about having shared custody.)  I have enough time now to do things like mow the lawn, grocery shop, get the car fixed, clean the house, fold the laundry, ride my bike, balance the checkbook, write, make phone calls and go to the dump that my time with my kids is more relaxed and present.  If you want to ride your bike up the street for an hour, sure let's do it.  If you want to catch butterflies, let's go for it. 

I miss my kids during the day and it is so nice to miss them, get them back and then spend a few hours relishing them. 

Yesterday was Friday, the last day of their first week.  Sandi was home (she is on a four day a week plus a night of call clinical rotation) and we went for a 33 bike ride.  It was sunny and breezy and perfect (except for way too much traffic and a few mechanical failures) and I was overjoyed that we were able to have some time alone to do this with no favors called in, no sitter to pay.

Then we went together to pick the kids up and it was so cute to hear Ella explain to Maya in the backseat about how Friday afternoon is the official start of the weekend and hear Maya tell us about the silly thing her music teacher did that made her laugh. 

This is why I'm not in charge of the world, or even fully of what happens in my life.  Left to my own proclivities I cling on to things and try to cajole them into stagnancy and sameness.  But every part of me, and probably of every human being, seeks change, transformation, newness.  Thank goodness life provides it for me around every corner and I have little say because, in the end, change is what keeps us alive, growing and evolving. 

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