Well, Birdie turned a corner Monday. Between not having to take a general math assessment and getting invited to go with a friend’s family to the football rally tonight she was more than happy.
And they certainly did.
They are doing well and yet both of them want to drop out. Eden prefers to stay at home and Ren has been disappointed to discover that school’s not as fun as she imagined.
I don’t think there is a word big enough to describe how I feel about these girls, but adore is a good place to start.
A couple days ago there was a curriculum night at her school where her teachers explained what the class would be studying and opened it up for questions. We had met her teacher at open house and Paul and I both liked her immediately. Lydia loves her. It was good to check in with her and to learn that she was telling Lydia the same thing we were: the point of school is to learn and that no one cares about her grades if she is working hard. The math curriculum is different than one we used or even what she studying at her old public school. It was tough walking through the loneliness and the academic angst with her. I was having plenty of my own, “What were we thinking sending her back to school in the SIXTH GRADE?/I think I was a cruddy math teacher/mother/human being” angst.
And yet, at the bottom there was peace. I forget, at times (like always) that following the path you feel compelled to travel does not guarantee ease.
Tonight Lydia’s going to her friend’s house, Paul’s going to hang out with Christopher and Eden and I are going to have a date with Torey, Ren and Willa. Ren has been breaking down lately longing for “those days where we saw each other every day”. I told/warned Eden that Ren was feeling fragile and why. She looked at me, “So am I!” When I suggested that she give her cousin a hug she readily agreed, “And it’s OK if we hurt each other because we love each other so much!”
“Do you mean hugging each other so hard it hurts?”
“Well, you can hug a little gentler than that.” I told her.
We’ll see if she takes my recommendation.
This year I decided to cut the big kids loose. Christopher will be 13 and Lydia will be 11 in September. Lydia, I could have allowed to go it alone about five years ago, and I’m almost serious: she has incredible boundaries, good intuition and a willingness to ask for assistance. Christopher, on the other hand, has been willing to go off with any stranger since he could walk, but I decided if he doesn’t have the smarts to make it at this small fair populated almost entirely by young suburban mothers and their progeny, then he’s not going to make it any where.
I am pleased to tell you that he and Lydia had a wonderful time buzzing around the different tents each at his or her pace, following their separate whims.
The Legumes, with me as their escort and wrangler, had to rely on negotiations. With my help, these went fairly well. There was that dark moment when only Ren won a cupcake in the Cake Walk, though she quickly offered to share. And then there was that even darker moment when Ren was given a balloon after having her hair painted, but Eden wasn’t. That Ren almost immediately let go it, was no comfort. When we tracked down a girl with a huge bunch of balloons, there was only one pink one! Of course both wanted it and I encouraged Eden to let her cousin have it, which she did and then, miracles of miracles, we spied another girl with a bunch of balloons and Eden was given a pink one from her. Minutes later, Ren let go of her second balloon, but Eden held onto hers until we made it home.
It was a hot day and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. We were all sweating profusely and I made it my mission to find a square of shade to stand in at each tent we visited and occasionally I was even able to score a chair and gratefully sat. At the especially interminable coloring tent, there were no chairs and I had to lean forward awkwardly to keep my head in the shade. I mentioned to the volunteers the idea that had occurred to me early and, as the day wore on, was fast becoming an obsession.
“What this thing really needs is a wine bar.”
It was not quite noon, but each volunteer nodded excitedly. Since the fair was sponsored by the area business owners, I suggested a fancy, local grocery, which has an extensive wine selection. Every other person I mentioned it to agreed that a wine bar would be a brilliant and NECESSARY addition to the day.
Later, at the grocery in question, I informed the staff that I had been conducting an informal survey on their behalf and reported the entirely enthusiastic response. The owner and several of her employees who heard all laughed.
“That is a great idea,” she said.
“Listen,” I said, “On average, I have less than two ounces of wine a week. Now and then, a glass sounds really good. Today I was positively salivating at the thought of a chilled Chardonnay. If I was panting for a glass…” I just let them think about that. They were all laughing as I drifted off to shop.
When I returned to the register to pay I approached the owner, “Look, don’t play with me. I have to know if this is a possibility.” She went on about a lot of boring things like licensing laws and the very real difference between selling a bottle of wine and serving one.
“We could always sell an individual a bottle of wine,” she looked at me meaningfully.
“I don’t think I’m ready to be the mother standing at the edge of a children’s fair with a thermos of wine,” I thought for a moment, “but I might be.”
We all agreed it would certainly be a service and maybe even a ministry.
I wonder if I could get 501(c)(3) status?