And you have to understand that dreams are worth their weight in gold these days. Most nights, I have piss-poor sleep, for lack of a better term. I guess in the best case scenario when asked how I’ve slept, I’ve said, “Well.. not terrible.” If it isn’t restless legs or heartburn, it’s baby kicks and unsettled racing thoughts. It’s almost like that crash feeling you get in the places between asleep and awake. You’re just about to sleep, and then you crash. Your limbs betray you with a startle – or maybe it’s your brain. In “real life,” as I like to say, I dream the dreams of the lucky. I’m a superhero or a wizard, or maybe a flying superhero wizard and it’s easy to understand what my subconscious may be trying to say. It’s a perfect call and answer. Nothing makes sense now.
It was back to school time, and we let her start middle school. She was easily the smallest kid in that school – which is probably the real life scenario, as well – and when the bus came, it banged and wobbled and was hanging off the street. For some reason I could look up to see the bus – it was like a slower version of Harry Potter’s “Knight Bus.” It came to a startling stop in front of our house, and we let her get on the bus. It was mayhem there – with people grabbing one another and teasing one another and throwing things back and forth. No one was wearing a mask, but she was. The wild bus drove off, and took with it, our firstborn. Our little love. Our little dove.
I always saw this back to school season as difficult, but different difficult, maybe more like the near panic attacks I had about Scarlet starting kindergarten. And for months. Nearly a year. Nine months, to be exact. It takes a lot of time to fully cook and nourish a baby, or a panic disorder. Week by week, fruit size by fruit size – this was trauma growing in the same rapid fashion. Maybe I didn’t expect that about middle school, because I have done some work for that. And it doesn’t mean I’ll never have to do the work again, or suffer greatly, but gosh – it means that when you slay the beast, you know you can do it again. Bigger beasts, sure. And a bigger you.
I always saw this back to school season as different, but not necessarily difficult different. Then I got pregnant, and it shifted again. I thought the baby was another girl – a tie-breaking girl – and it’s not like a replacement for Scarlet. Nothing is, but there’s nothing like a cozy baby girl at home, when your former cozy baby girl is in the big leagues. Middle school. Then we found out that this baby is a boy, and I guess that changed it a little. This tie-breaking boy. It’s not like a replacement for Des. Nothing is, but there’s nothing like a cozy baby boy at home, when your former cozy baby boy is in the big leagues. The upper grades of elementary school. 3rd grade.
Then the pandemic hit, and I saw it all differently. I became over-numb, and over-emotional, in all different ways. We have things we’re grateful for, like health, a gorgeous home, a puppy, and a fairly easy and healthy pregnancy. You’re allowed to appreciate what you have and also be horrified at what you have lost; at what everyone has lost. And what we all have lost/will lose.
Last night, the school board voted, and it’s not like I didn’t know the answer that was coming. It’s not like I didn’t know my own answer to any answer that was coming. Cassidy said it best. It was something like “I don’t want to put our kids on the front lines of a war that we’re losing.”
And we are losing it. Many of us get that. We are losing badly, and you need to take hold of your own victories and battles, by filling your kids or yourself with all of the things the world isn’t filling them or us with. Like hope and light and love and kindness and security and comfort.
This back to school season could be the best in the worst. A new baby. And a no longer new virus. It’s always been my intention to protect the baby from what cold and flu season will bring, since I have only known June and July babies before. I have only known passing them around restaurants and letting grandparents kiss their cheeks and not caring so much about what they were wearing or if they were warm enough. Of course they were warm enough. They still are.
An October baby brings a new set of challenges, and an October baby in a pandemic, brings them even more. He has a new light, a new life, a new hope, though. And this back to school season will certainly be the most memorable one for my kids. I hope they remember his first smile that they were home for, and learning to help care for him, and his first bath at home. I hope they remember the life skills we have gathered and grown at home. Like gardening and listening to birdsong, and knowing what’s truly important; and truly our gifts to nourish as such.
This new light and this new hope. He’s not the only one out there. He’s just my very own new light and new hope. And we will all have our own, and they will be beautiful in their ways. So then, together, maybe, we can look back with fondness on pieces of this back to school season.
I’m linking up with Finish The Sentence Friday (FTSF) for a new prompt. This week’s awesome topic is “Back to School..” (anything August) You can link up with your post on the topic HERE.