Toots is an “old timer” now when it comes to school. After all, he did this all last year. In kindergarten, he ditched me for the playground every day. He still ditches me for the playground. He’s been through a graduation ceremony, for goodness sakes. So, why now, when I drop him off for first grade, do I get all teary, every single day?
I think it’s more to do with me. Quite frankly, I’ve lost myself. I’ve lost my routine.
I no longer go to the law firm I ran for 12 years. Last year at this time, I was involved in a trial that lasted three months, every day in Court. Before that, I practiced law for different firms for 11 years, working 12 hour days. Now, I have a case or two.
I’m trying to set up the “home office”. That’s code for wading through years of paperwork, finding old photos, like this,
stuffed in drawers with old tax deductions from 10 years ago. I dumped a garbage bag worth of old paper and a bunch of 3.5 inch computer disks. (yes, I’m that old).
Once I drop the little guy off for school, I have to face someone I haven’t had to talk to much, someone I’ve avoided for 6 years – myself. Ironic, considering the name of this blog.
I’ve had distractions. Two meetings out of four school days so far. The other two, I’ve been settling myself into my new remote lifestyle. I’m definitely isolated and alone. I’ve joked with others that I’m in solitary confinement, but there’s a bit of truth to that, right? And more irony. As my son heads into his classroom of 28 and has six hours a day of potential social interaction, I am simultaneously removed from my social interactions for an equal duration.
So, as I kiss him goodbye, I am given a gift of time to myself – one I dread. I’m lucky to have that kind of peace, now, for the first time in so long. It’s a problem many people would love to have. We all dream of the things we would do. But, the reality?
The first day I did not have a meeting, I came home and exercised for an hour straight. I thought I would die on the very low level I rode my stationary bike. So, I’m a little outta shape. The bike was near enough to a mirror that I could see my slouchy posture as I rode, together with the areas to which gravity has been unkind. I noticed for the first time, in a long time, that age has taken a toll on me.
Then I made my own, usually delightful, Vanilla Chai tea. Ptooey! This is why I always bought my tea. I have tried for 12 years to make a decent chai tea latte. I have all the ingredients and most of the tools but I am seriously deficient in this area. I choke it down anyway. Must-have-tea.
I worry. I worry over a call that he’s fallen from the playground equipment the one second the tutor took her eye off him. I worry that he’s poked himself in the eye with a pencil, that someone has bullied him, that he’s lonely, or he’s pooped his pants or had a bad day.
I think about eating out everything in my refrigerator.
I try to make the blog rounds.
I review work related communication and research.
I do laundry.
With Toots, unless I follow him around, he will drop a toy in the oddest spot and have no idea where it went. Of course, I don’t follow him around and he losses stuff. Then he pesters me to infinity unless I find it for him and if I don’t, that builds to a meltdown.
Sometimes, he takes the DS on long car rides and I have this fear that when he gets out of the car, it will drop out of the car and onto the parking lot ground, I won’t hear it, and it’s lost forever. So, of course, when, in my perusal for it, I couldn’t find it, my “wonder” turns to semi-panic and I start turning over cushions, checking the sides of the mattress of the bed, looking in cabinets, under couches and beds and pretty soon, an hour has passed. It has to be here somewhere.
I give up.
I eat a Weight Watcher lunch and wonder whether I can sneak in a couple extra points without consequence. Well, there’s a slippery slope – especially in my new found, routine-less surroundings with nobody to chastise me for such behavior. I sneak something extra anyway – I did ride the bike for an hour, you know.
I fold laundry.
I obsess over the location of the DS again and start looking. When I ask Toots where something is, he will look at me, say nothing and walk away. I will ask again. This will cause him enough anxiety to say, “I don’t know, Mommy.” Shortly, thereafter, when he sees me looking, he will head into panic mode as well, yelling, “Finder!! Finder!!!” and then say, “Here it is!” without any sight of it, in some kind of hope that saying it will make it so. I am lulled into the belief that he has found it every time even though, I know this is most probably not the case.
I think of his reaction to my searching for the DS. Then, I panic some more thinking I have to find it because, sure as day – I do not want to search for it when he is home.
At last, I find it attached to a DS racing wheel (black) upside down, under the bed! Hooray!
Then, I hear my phone beep.
It’s time to go pick him up.
Yep – that’s how it’s been for me. How about you?