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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Vacation, all I ever wanted…

In late August, after a summer spent looking (jealously, longingly) at other people’s glamorous vacation photos on Facebook, the Grekin-McKee family finally got to venture up north for our own annual vacation, up at Camp Michigania, near Pestoskey. (Yes, Joe and I had to take an entire day off of work while the kids were in daycare to prepare and pack – good Lord, does packing for a trip with young kids take forever – but we finally got on the road the following morning.)

For those unfamiliar, Michigania is a family camp (affiliated with the University of Michigan Alumni Association) that’s set up to provide fun, scheduled activities (or, in the case of babies and toddlers, cheerful supervision) for kids a few hours each day, thereby giving the parents a chance to do things they don’t often get to do. Like sleep.

This was our third year at Michigania, and in most ways, it was the best so far. We’d gone the first available week, in mid-June, in the past two years, when the weather was a bit rainy and chilly. This year, we grabbed at one of the last remaining available spots during the camp’s last week of operation, at the end of August. And other than a little rain on the afternoon of first full day, we had gorgeous weather throughout.

Things from the start were promising, since we were blissfully vomit-free (poor Lily had gotten carsick near the end of the trip each of the previous two years). Admittedly, I was watching her like a hawk – at one point, when she covered her mouth with her hand, I insisted we pull over, get her out of the car, and walk her around a bit – but we did it. Lily even said, when we got out of the car to check in, “I didn’t have any throw ups, Mommy! Just burps.” Indeed. Continue reading