Half-finished posts litter my Draft Folder.
I’d love to finish them – or even any one of them – but my estranged friends, Time and Focus haven’t met up in a while around these parts.
We’re too busy swimming upstream in this here river of complete and utter dysregulation.
And well, we’ve been a little busy.
There was Earl. And then there wasn’t really much of Earl at all.
There was the decision to leave Nantucket, followed by the decision to stay. Then to leave. No, definitely to stay.
There was a child with a fever. Then another.
There was packing up early, then unpacking. Then packing again.
There was a little girl whose world was upside down. And a mom who was trying desperately to make her feel OK.
There was a boat ride home that conjured up Dante’s third ring of Hell.
There was one child vomiting as the boat rolled through the chop. Then another.
There was an early morning trip to the ER. (All was fine.)
There was the anticipation of today, the first day of the new school year.
There was a shopping list. A long one. A very, very specific long one.
There was a new dress for school. Then another. Then Mama figuring out how to fix (yes, SEW!) the too long straps on the one that Katie HAD to wear this morning.
There was dysregulation. Lots of it. I love that word. Know why? Cause it doesn’t even feel right when you write it. Or read it. The ‘y’ feels like it should be an ‘i’, doesn’t it? Which is just so right. You know, cause it feels wrong. Right?
My girl is all over the place. She hasn’t stopped moving. Or talking. Except when she was sick. Then she was heartbreakingly still. But now – now she moves. And talks. She is a running narrator, recalling every script from every book, movie and show she’s ever seen. Plus those of her own invention. Yes, those are just as big.
We play our parts. We try to help her find the comfort, the sameness, the predictability she so obviously craves this time of year.
We read our social story. We look at the pictures of the classroom, the teacher, the aides. She wants to see the picture of the cubbies again. She reads the names on the cubbies again and again. “Those are the second graders, like me.” “Yes, baby, they are.”
“The firefighters won’t come,” she says over and over and over again. I curse that damned fire alarm last year. I’ve called the Inclusion Specialist to remind her that she needs notice of fire drills so that the aide can get my baby out before they start.
One of the cubbies in the photo belongs to a little girl named Chloe*. Brooke looks at the cubby again and again.
“She’s just like the Chloe that died,” she says. “The Chloe that died is in my class,” she says.
Long before my children got to our school, a little girl named Chloe passed away. The community planted a garden in her memory. My girls love Chloe’s garden. Katie says that Chloe is in Heaven with all of the pets that we know that have passed on. And she plays with them in her garden in Heaven.
“Oh, honey, this a different Chloe.” I try to explain. I tell her that we don’t talk about that with this Chloe, OK? I picture her walking in today and saying, “You’re just like the Chloe that died. But you’re a different Chloe.” My heart aches on too many levels to process.
I could write for days – about the grey haze of anxiety and the hope that so valiantly persists through it. About the breakthroughs in speech and the emergence of questions – glorious questions – that we’ve seen this week. About the fear. The fear of the future, the unknown, the widening gaps.
But I’m out of time for now.
It’s time to get ready for school.