Saturday, August 31, 2013

At summer's end

at summer's end

At its end, this summer feels like it slipped away as quickly as any other. Yet its beginning--bustling with birthdays, family visiting, our little beach trip and even the end of chemo--feels like a really long time ago. The second half of summer had a very different feel with my surgery and recovery. I guess the pace was a lot slower, for me at least. Like any summer, we spent almost every hour of every day together. We just happened to spend our days close to home instead of putting in long hours on the road, visiting friends and family. There was a sweetness to the simplicity of it all, even if I wish cancer hadn't sidelined me for the season. (Next up for me is six weeks of radiation treatments; I should finish in mid-October.)

the sweet picture

Fall is always a time of transition with Matt returning to work. And this year, both Tobin and Evan are off to school. So we go from days spent together to going four separate ways suddenly. Lauren and I are still holding down the fort at home. She's as delightful as ever. One of my favorite phrases of late is when she runs up to her brothers and asks, "Hey guys! Whatcha doin'?" She holds her own very well with her "guys." They have the occasional scratch and bruise to prove it. In sweeter moments, she'll seek out Tobin to comfort her when she gets hurt or upset. She and Evan have a funny bedtime routine where she'll blow him kisses and he'll "block" them. They get quite a kick out of themselves. After Matt went back to work a couple weeks ago, it took Lauren a few days to get used to me picking her up out of her crib when she woke in the morning or after a nap. She'd always ask for Daddy. Lately, she's come around and greets me each morning with "Hi Mommy, oh Daddy goes to work?" It's been especially nice for me to feel strong and well enough to hold her more after my surgery because, all too soon, she'll be out of my arms and following her brothers off to school.

ev's first day of pre-K

One of Tobin's big adventures this summer was taking his first swim lessons. The upside of him being at a relatively older age taking his first lessons was that he took to it all very quickly. At the end of his six sessions, he was independent in the pool and enjoyed retrieving diving toys from the bottom of the pool. He also has done a great job encouraging Evan through his own first swim lessons, day of school and soccer practice. Evan wasn't too thrilled about any of these at first, but Tobin helped him tremendously. Tobin had a great first week of the second grade. His Montessori school has multi-age classes, so he's in the same first through third grade class with the same teacher as last year. And having Evan at the same school as Tobin has helped me feel better about sending Ev to school. Tobin has enjoyed walking Evan to his classroom before heading upstairs to his.

"are you ready, ev?"

This past week was particularly big for Evan. We've talked over the summer about him starting school. Almost any time we brought it up, he'd say, "I don't want to go to school." When I tried to tell him that going to school is one of the fun things you do when you get bigger, he responded with something heartbreaking and adorable like "I don't want to grow up, Mom. I want to grow down." As we hoped, a real turning point in his attitude towards school came at the open house the week before when he got to visit his classroom and meet his teachers. He happily explored his classroom, completing a little scavenger hunt with Tobin's help, and when we got home he told me an imaginary story about collecting seashells at the beach with his teacher. Tobin started school this past Monday but Evan's pre-K/Kindergarten class didn't start until Wednesday and even then he had just a couple half-days. He insisted on packing his lunch and backpack on Monday. On Wednesday morning, he only looked a little nervous when I said goodbye to him. I was so relieved for him (and me) that there were no tears. His first full day was on Friday. When he climbed in the van after school, Matt said something about how tomorrow was Saturday, which meant no school! Evan frowned and said, "But I want to go to school everyday!" While I fully expect he could change his mind about school from time to time, I couldn't be happier with how things have started for him.

Evan also had his first soccer practice on Thursday and--rather unpredictably given his enthusiasm watching Tobin play and kicking the ball around with Matt--he insisted that he didn't want to go. Matt carried a crying Evan out the door to practice, promising him he would only have to watch if that's what he wanted to do. Matt coaxed him to go sit and listen to his coach and then he ran a few drills half-heartedly. But when the coaches started a scrimmage, something clicked and Evan loved it. I came to the soccer field to see if he wanted to go home with me instead of staying an extra hour for Tobin's practice. He furrowed his brow and said, "No, Mom, I'm a soccer player and soccer players don't go home; they stay and practice!" And I totally played it cool and casually told him to have fun, even though what I really wanted to do was scoop him up, give him a big hug and tell him how brave he is.

the boys, walking to THEIR school.