Day 1 of “summer vacation” is in the bag.
Working on limited funds makes you get creative, which is not necessarily a bad thing.
This is the start of my week with D in between end of school and beginning of camp. His Dad had him last week for part of the week, and now I get him all week. I had hoped we would go to the beach, but the weather isn’t expected to cooperate. Wednesday will be beautiful, but I have to work that day, have to. He will go to daycare all day.
But there are other things. I got together ingredients we had at home and we made cookies. He helped me with every step, trying to help read the recipe, helping me measure and stir. He even ran the hand mixer by himself after I showed him how, his little hand on mine and then his alone on the mixer, me pretending not to watch. We had a taste of the little, tasty cookies after we made them, and I talked to him about what the police do to help us, even if we don’t see them doing what they’re doing. Keeping the bad guys away, keeping the city safe, helping people. I don’t want him to have an adversarial relationship with the police.
My Dad always told me, when you move to a new city, early on, you should visit the local police station and bring them something. Cookies or some kind of snack, and introduce yourself; leave your card or whatever, so they know who you are. “It never hurts to be friends with the police.” This advice has served me well. I won’t get into the details, but it has, again and again. And yet I’ve never done it in the city I’ve lived in for over a decade, though I have done it in other cities. Hell, I was engaged to a cop once. But that was a lifetime ago now. Watching a man cleaning his weapon weekly like clockwork, going to qualifying with him. Hoping he never uses it on you; hoping you never have children that will find it.
So we took the cookies up to the PD. This is the best thing to do with cookies that you bake, so you don’t eat them. There was a woman there at the window, talking about an episode with her boyfriend from the night before. The dispatcher at the window was advising her to get a TRO. “We’ll see how it goes tonight,” the woman said. “I want to see how it goes tonight before I take that next step.” In my heart, I knew she had already waited too long to take that step if she was at the PD telling them about the guy, about her fear. I worried what would happen to her. The woman left. I told the dispatcher my son went to the local elementary and school was over and camp hadn’t started yet so we decided to bake some cookies for the department. I included the recipe and my contact information on a note, and D had written a note saying “THANKS FOR ALL YOU DO” and I hope it was appreciated. The lady seemed pleasantly surprised and said someone would come out to get them shortly, and I felt bad that she had to work behind bulletproof glass and I couldn’t just hand them to her.
I moved him into a real big boy bed this weekend. He’s had trouble adjusting. It’s so much bed for such a tiny body. And yet I had to wake him up this morning, and from nap this afternoon, so I guess it’s ok. After 6 years, I still go to wake him and worry he’s died of SIDS or something in his sleep, or whatever that would be called in a 6 year old. Does this ever go away?
His reading has taken off like a firecracker zooming into the sky. He read a level 3 reader today that I picked at the library yesterday, with books like “detective,” “dinosaur” and “pineapple” and didn’t miss a beat. Ok kid, that’s cool. We’ll get some other, harder books. Let’s see how far we can go.
He wanted to “work out” as well. We worked on balance, taking turns trying to balance on my foam roller, and strength, and I showed him a dance video of a former Bolshoi ballet dancer doing a cool music video and he wanted to watch it second time so he could try to imitate the moves. He’s obviously untrained, but the kid has moves. Balance, beat, the right energy. I have to figure out how to harness it; channel it. He even gets the somber moments, and is so lacking in self-consciousness when he is home with me. I need to figure out how to get him to access that in larger groups.
I took him to the playground kind of late tonight, the one here in the complex, where he was the only white kid, as per usual. He’s never remarked at this being odd, which I think is cool, even though the other kids all speak another language to their parents. He competed informally with a 5-year-old wearing kneepads on the overhead bars. On the walk back home, three girls on their bikes, a few years older than D, stopped on the sidewalk across the street from us and the one girl said, “Is that D?” And another girl waved and said, “Hi, D!” He looked terribly embarrassed so I asked the girls if they went to his elementary and they said yes, they were in extended care with him, and I waved hi and said I hoped they had a nice summer. D rolled his eyes and pretended not to see them. When I questioned him about the girls, he looked mortified and it was so damned cute I could hardly contain myself. Kid’s got game, even if he doesn’t quite know it yet.
I’ve been touched by the grace and love of people who care for me this last few days. And am entering a period that I know will be alone. Me and D, on our own, and finding our way with stuff to do on a budget. And then he will be gone, too, and I will get back to running. Flying. Pounding that pavement in search of my sanity, which hovers ever on the edge of my grasp.