Pomp and Circumstance…oh how I love her so.
Pomp and Circumstance…oh how I love her so.
Tomorrow you graduate preschool. Some folks scoff about the significance of this. Graduation from preschool? Really?! I, however, am so grateful for the pomp and circumstance. I need a ritual to help mark this transition — the one from baby to young girl. Even though I find myself marveling at where the time has gone, it hasn’t really gone that quickly. It’s more feeling the impact that it’s just gone.
Look at you with Mommy on your first day:
Full of smiles, carrying your brand new lunch box for the first time. Look at your cute pink leggings bulging from the pull-up you were still wearing underneath. I marvel now at the baby fat sweetly padding your face. Three years later and you’re all legs and arms – much taller than most 5-year-olds. You’re potty-trained and sleep all night in a big girl bed. You run around your preschool as if you own it – because you do. Although you occasionally cling when we say goodbye, there are no more tears. Baby – you’re all grown up.
This morning I dropped you off for the last time. It felt like any other morning but of course it wasn’t. I hope you’ll take a nap, holding your “stuffy” tightly - embracing that ritual for the last time. I hope you’ll take in every bit of the specialness of the day knowing that it is your last. I know you won’t, of course, because you’re 5 and you’re sooo excited for what’s coming. This makes me happy.
But, as your sentimental Mom, I hope you’ll let me take it all in for you. You are my first and my last and my love for you is bigger than you can ever imagine.
And tomorrow, at graduation, know that I will be crying and cheering and feeling so proud of all you’ve accomplished these last three years – and for how you’ve grown into this amazing little girl. And, when it’s all over, we’ll walk out hand and hand just as we’ve done so many times before – only this time will be our last. Forgive me if I don’t walk as fast as you’d like me to as I may need to turn around one last time and take it all in.
At some point in everyone’s life is uttered the all too common phrase, “I really need a vacation.” I need to say that phrase more. Do it more. I realize that I just push myself and push myself and push myself until I’m beyond burnt out – until I’m completely fried. This has never been truer than the past few years. Oh, I have plenty of good reasons for not taking vacation, but, really, those reasons are excuses. And, they’re legit, but, they don’t really matter.
A few months back I finally put my foot down and declared that we were going on vacation and going to Disneyland. This, of course, was met with an overwhelmingly positive response by the rest of the family. I’ve been wanting to take Ellie to Disneyland but wanted to wait until I thought she was old enough and wouldn’t be overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of people, rides and I also wanted to avoid any potential freak outs from seeing live Disney characters. And, you know this can happen.
Since my husband is the master at vacation planning, I let him run with most of the vacation plans. Once we decided that we were going to drive down and do the coast thing on the way back, we needed to find a couple of good accommodations that would comfortably fit three of us. And, as usual, he totally scored the best accommodations – a darling cottage one block from the ocean in Hermosa Beach and a place called the Fog Catcher Inn in Cambria–also beachfront–which would be our stopover on the way home.
The ride down was pretty easy. The 5 may not be sexy but it is direct. We made really good time and were so happy to have our feet in the sand by dusk. This is one family that just absolutely loves the beach. Fortunately, I have some family that love the beach too and we spent a wonderful first day with my beloved Uncle and Aunt picnicking on the beach all day. Ellie just loves them and they love her too. There was football playing…
And I managed to get this wonderful picture of Ellie with her Great Uncle and Aunt. God bless my nifty fifty. I took this with the Aperture setting and the lighting was perfect.
As it worked out, Mother’s Day also fell during our vacation. To celebrate, we had brunch with my oldest and dearest friend, Gloria, her daughter, Fiona, who is exactly Ellie’s age and her Mom, whom I’ve known my entire life. It was pure bliss.
After brunch it was off to Disneyland! It was a short drive from the beach and before we knew it we were checked in to our hotels and at the park. I have not been to Disneyland in many years and it was every bit as wonderful as I remember. The weather could also not have been more perfect. But, most of all, watching Ellie experience it for the first time made me so deeply happy. She and Fiona walked along together holding hands and chatting – and thanks to Fiona’s Mom, they had matching dresses too!
Our two days at Disneyland were pretty much perfection. Being with old friends, watching my 5-year-old take on a kiddie and adult rollercoaster, meeting Minnie Mouse, seeing the Fireworks, going on It’s a Small World, meeting princesses…could life be any better?!
It was so hard to say goodbye to our friends and Disneyland but the teary goodbyes were worth all of the memories made in just two short days. And, it also gives us a great reason to return.
Been thinking a lot today about Diane Keaton’s memoir, “Then Again”, which I just finished last night. I loved it. Upon finishing, I decided to hop onto Goodreads to see what other readers were saying about it. I don’t know why I did that exactly as it’s not something I ordinarily do but I enjoyed it so much that I wanted to read what I was sure would be similar ravings. I was surprised and taken aback to see how many mediocre reviews existed. As I began to dive in to read them, I noticed a familar theme throughout several of them – betrayal.
These feelings of betrayal shocked me. All of these women were expressing their disappointment in Ms. Keaton for being insecure, self-deprecating and seemingly nothing like the image she has portrayed all these years–independent, irreverent, one of a kind (when does the name Diane Keaton not conjure up an image of a man suit and black hat?). Nope, Diane was just like one of us – uncertain, insecure – even bulimic at one point. She felt inferior around many of her boyfriends (shall we keep in mind that they were the likes of Warren Beatty, ladies) and never felt pretty enough.
Now, I’m no Diane Keaton. I’m not even a writer. But, I do aspire to commit to my blog again. The thing that has kept me away – even more than lack of time – is fear. I can’t write because I’m afraid to tell my truth. I’m afraid of the words that will come out, who might read them and what they might think. Reading those reviews last night tapped into all of my fears about telling my own truth – about putting my real feelings out into the world. The ugly stuff. Stuff that may make those who know me step back and say, “Whoa – this isn’t the woman I know at all!” Worse, is they’ll hold this against me. Judge me. Just the way Diane is being judged.
When I started this blog, I aimed to be funny. I think that was mostly because when I started this blog, I was able to see humor in a LOT. These days, not so much. I find that I’m rarely laughing – at least not nearly as much as I used to. In fact, I’ve noticed that I feel like crying a lot more than I feel like laughing. Or, maybe more that one day I feel like laughing and the next like crying. This kind of up and down scares the crap out of me. I have NEVER felt like this before. I mean, sure, I’ve been down and I’ve definitely been up. But, this up and down rollercoaster of emotions is not something I’m accustomed to.
It seems like everything is wrong – all the time. And, yet, nothing at all. My doctor tells me it’s my hormones. She’s been telling me that for three years. I recently broke up with my doctor. I was tired of hearing over and over that every physical symptom I’ve had is related to hormones.
But, if not that, then what? Am I depressed? Burnt out? Have I just been in limbo too long? Do I need to re-examine my childhood? My marriage? Have another kid? Start a gratitude journal?
I’ve examined my feelings from many vantage points. I’ve reviewed and re-reviewed every plausible scenario and I’m still not sure how to fix it. To fix me.
Then again, maybe I don’t need fixing.
If I’m not mistaken, I started this blog in 2009. Or, was it 2008? I do know that I have not posted in almost exactly one year. A year that has had a bit more than its share of hardships. A dozen times I stopped to write a post – be it about something funny, sad, revealing - but then I couldn’t muster the energy for it. Or, fear stopped me in my tracks. Fear of who might read what was really there- behind the facade of the spunky girl at the office or about town.
After this past year’s events, I’ve learned that darkness can come without an invitation and it can stay longer than you’d like it to – many seasons, not just winter. I’ve learned that you really can walk out the door one day and get hit by a bus, except in my case it was a bicycle. I’ve learned that people you think you know, can take their life without warning. I’ve learned that the people you most rely on, can let you down. I’ve learned that in the end, you have to be your own best champion.
I’m a year older. I’ve taken stock. I’m working toward acceptance and renewal.
And, perhaps for the first time, I feel measurably wiser. This life thing is hard. And, yet, I find myself once again feeling hopeful, despite myself.
I am sorry that I’ve been so neglectful. It’s now been more than three months since I’ve posted. I haven’t forgotten about you. I promise. I think about you often and about how much I miss our time together.
I’m still trying to work some things out but hope to return to you soon.
Thanks for your continued patience…