Thursday, August 16, 2012

Going farther to get closer

This isn't my story to tell.

The kids have always been in year-round care. When E began kindergarten last year and had so much time off, she wasn't the only one who had a difficult transition to formal schooling. You know about all those bumps we faced, but through all the schedule-adjusting and calendaring and creative arrangement-making, our biggest priority was to keep the burden on us, and to keep E's days as regular as possible.

There were times when our calendars looked ridiculous, but I think we did well by our girl.

Then summer came, and our kindergartner was a kindergarten graduate, and tell, me, please, what the hell kind of math is it that summer camp spans six weeks of a ten-week summer? Harder than first-grade math, that's for sure.

So the lovely husband has been taking lots of time off. He has this thing called use-or-lose leave that I've only heard of, my leave having been depleted down to zero thrice in the past six years for babies and their births and subsequent million small illnesses. And he and our girl have been having little adventures.

One thing she's been asking to do forever since she used them to learn how to read was ride the Metro bus. Have you ever ridden the bus? I've lived in the DC area 11 years and although I've been on the Metro train a gazillion times, I've never been on the bus.

"Where do you want to go on the bus?" the lovely husband asked her.

I don't know. Just ride it, she answered.

So one day, they did.

They rode down to downtown Silver Spring, got ice cream, and rode back. She told me about people who looked different, smelled funny, spoke in languages she didn't understand. One woman who, according to E, was barely taller than her, insisted that my girl take her seat as the return ride filled with early rush-hour passengers. E didn't understand the offer at first through the strange woman's accent. But with gestures and motions and a smile of encouragement, E accepted.

She must have been a mama, Mama, E told me later. Because I was tired and she knew it. And she patted me on the head and smiled at me. And although she didn't admit it, according to the lovely husband, E fell asleep almost immediately.

If you asked the girl about the trip, she'd say it was fun because it was something she wanted to do. And if you asked the lovely husband, he'd say something pragmatic about me building up my leave balance at work.

But the great thing about that day and so many others this summer like it, I think, is that a girl and her daddy got to have an afternoon adventure together.

Speaking of getting back to school, I had a post up today at Simple Kids about getting your kid (or yourself, perhaps) ready for kindergarten. And maybe you are still shopping for school supplies, too? My new favorite backpack, here.

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