Collapsing beneath the weight of kindergarten details

Lily making a "family tree" banner at a school picnic, where - wait for it - I got MORE forms that I didn't read until the night before her first day of kindergarten. Mommy FAIL.

Lily making a “family tree” banner at a school picnic, where I got even MORE forms that I didn’t read until the night before her first day of kindergarten. Mommy FAIL.

I stand on the cusp of a big day in my life as a parent – Lily’s first day of kindergarten – and I’ve been tossing and turning in bed for a few hours now.

This stems, at least in part, from my usual half-assedness. After Lily fell asleep, I skimmed through the bulk of what has been a growing stack of school-related packets and forms, including a calendar of daily activities to do with your child over the summer to prepare her academically for kindergarten (oops!).

And while this last oversight could be forgiven – Lily will shoulder the worldly burden of homework soon enough, so why not let her enjoy a carefree summer? – what’s less forgivable is the realization that, because we’re all so susceptible to the trap of our own experiences and memories, neither her transportation nor her sustenance has been arranged.

Yes, because I so vividly remembered just walking up my street to get picked up by a bus (no registration with the transportation department required), and bringing either my usual peanut butter sandwich/apple bag lunch or cash for hot lunch, I assumed, in the back of my little head, that things would be that simple for Lily, too.

They’re not, of course. Continue reading

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“Putting the tree in the garage”

The enormous tree limb that's now taken residency in our garage.

The enormous tree limb that’s now taken residency in our garage.

On Monday, while I was at work, I got an email from a neighbor who was concerned about some gigantic tree limbs and branches that had fallen from our old cottonwood on Saturday, shortly after we’d hosted a big backyard birthday party for (now five year old) Lily.

The unwieldy limbs had fallen onto a section of my neighbor’s garden, near the big bounce house we’d rented for the weekend. And right when it happened, my neighbor came to let me know (I’d been inside the house, doing post-party clean-up), and then she helped me lug the biggest limbs onto the grass, a few feet from her garden.

Since then, though, I’d just left them there, assuming Joe and I would get around to breaking them down when we got the time. Ha, ha.

But Monday’s evening forecast called for rain, so my neighbor was afraid – probably justifiably – that a truckload of little cottonwood saplings would spring forth in both our yards if I didn’t take action right away.

“OK,” I thought, still seated at my work desk. “Change of plans.”

I called Joe and asked if he could come home a bit early, before I got the girls from preschool. The answer was “no.” But he insisted that I wouldn’t be able to do the job myself, and that it would take me at least an hour.

But never underestimate the determination of a mommy willing to cut corners.

Yes, I proved my husband wrong on both counts. I arrived home from my commute at about 4:30, and because I usually get to the girls’ preschool at about 5 p.m., I went to work immediately.

Whirring with activity while still in my work clothes, and breaking off branches while holding limbs to the ground with my foot, I packed three yard waste bags as a cloud of cottony fluff funneled around me. When I’d broken down all I could – in a half-assed manner, naturally, with big branches sticking out over the tops of the bags – I dragged the paper sacks into the garage, leaving an enormous, 15 foot, stripped hunk of tree on the ground.

Though it had taken the strength of both me and my neighbor to move it two days before, I thought it worth trying to move by myself, now that it was a leaner version of itself.

So I squatted down, grabbed hold of the thickest part of its circumference, and stood with it in my arms, pulling it into the garage.

And at about that moment, the clock in downtown Farmington chimed five o’clock.

Ka-BAM.

I tell this story not to underline what a fierce bad-ass I am – though that would be an awesome bonus – but rather to explain how this experience is emblematic of my day-to-day life since becoming a parent. Continue reading