Wednesday, August 21, 2013

En faisant tout un fromage

This is a hard week, the week before school begins. E never faces change well; L is nervous about a new beginning but equally excited; G wants to be five and not left behind. Backpacks need labeling and forms need completing and reassurances need doling out generously, like ice cream. That thing about kids who most need love tend to show it in the most unloving ways? Our house is not in order this week. But that's just how it is, the end of August.

L told me today she doesn't have a friend. She has lots of friends, really, but I heard her. She hasn't had a heart-friend at preschool since her two best girls left two years ago, and she's walking into a new school where she doesn't yet have anyone. The friends will come soon, I tell her, but I understand her reluctance to believe me. She has to walk the first steps alone.

E's class assignment is pretty good, I think. She is with at least three girls she really likes; but she's my no-thinker. I'm like that, I told her. My heart always sees the absences first, the reasons to decline, the cloud before its lining; and I've spent a lifetime trying to reorient my compass. I want to be a yes-thinker but I understand how it doesn't come naturally. She doesn't acknowledge the reassurance of three good girlfriends. She laments the one girl she really wanted to be matched with who is in a different classroom, and the other girl she loves who's transferring to public school. This will be the worst year ever, she promises. [But you said that about first grade; you said that about kindergarten.] But it's really true this time. And maybe it is and maybe it isn't, but the only thing to do is to wake up on Monday and walk right into the year and see how it goes.

G, sweet abandoned G. He doesn't really know but he's angry about it. I bought him a purple dragon pillow. Somehow he never got a pillow for school naps, though both his sisters have had them. We took one sister away from him and Monday we'll take another but here's a distraction, a consolation prize, have a purple pillow. And on show-and-tell day, no less. Preschool must go on.

When the kids are unsettled, my anxious heart tangles all bristly, knotted. It's the end of August, I've been through this before, I'm not very good at change myself let alone navigating their needs, serving as touchstone, sounding board, ouija board, drumbeat, pummel horse, punching bag, ice cream server, steady thar she blows. It's just another passage of time we need to cross. And so we will. It's no big deal, you could say, it's just a held breath, it'll be over soon, and then we'll be in the thick of where we need to be.

Everyone faces a week-before every so often. This one's just being a bit intense.


This post was inspired by The Whole Fromage by Kathe Lison, who traveled to France in search of its artisanal cheeses; and from whence I learned that the French employ the idiom "en faisant tout un fromage," meaning to make a big cheese out of it, the way we use "to make a mountain out of a molehill." This is good, I think, because I like the approach of taking problems and turning them into food. And I always have a fridge filled with cheese. And a freezer with ice cream, of course.

Join From Left to Write on August 22 as we discuss The Whole Fromage. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.

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