"So Mom, here's the plan: Now that I'm graduated out of kindergarten I'll have first grade then second grade then third grade then fourth grade then fifth grade then sixth grade and seventh grade and eighth grade and ninth grade then tenth grade and eleventh grade then twelfth grade and then college. Then when I turn 26 I'll start my band and then blah-blah-blah famous!"
He's been licking his paws and panting for seemingly no reason for the past few months. The veterinarian suspected separation anxiety. The timing matched up and we realized that Teddy is mourning Daisy. The vet recommended a special collar that releases a type of pheromone that helps to calm the anxiety. He's been wearing it for a week now. It's helping. He's a sensitive little soul, that Teddy. How's he doing? He's doing just fine.
"There are these bumps on the tree and if you get your feet just right on them and then hug the tree really hard like this, you can get up. And then you can jump off into the sand. Watch me do it! Watch me do it, Mom!"
"I'm watching, Sweetheart. That's such a big boy thing to do."
It was the last day of kindergarten. I stood in the back of Bob's classroom with the other room moms and the two grandma volunteers. I held back tears as we listened to the kids sing Baby Beluga the Whale one final time.
Ms. Vaden stood in front of the board and explained that today, the kids would be taking home their report cards, some paperwork, and their "milk sticks."
On the first day of school, the kindergartners were given tongue depressor sized sticks with their names on them. The children filled in a small self portrait with crayon on both sides. Every morning when they arrived in room ten, the kids each found their stick in a small can and moved it either to the can for white milk, the can for chocolate milk, or the can that represented that they would not be spending fifty cents on milk that day. This was the way attendance was taken and the milk orders were recorded for Mr. Terry so he would know how many milk cartons to deliver to the classroom before snack time.
"Oh, their milk sticks," one of the grandmas repeated with a crack in her voice.
These tiny pieces of wood represented the 180 days of kindergarten. The year our boy started reading and grew three inches in nine months. The year he found Desmond and Felix and Ferruccio and Alessandro and the rest of his pack of guys. The year he found his confidence, his voice, and his love of school.
Next year would mean first grade; hot lunches and homework. They would be with the big kids. There were no milk sticks in first grade.
"Their milk sticks," I repeated. And the tears came.
"Tomorrow is the last day of kindergarten. I learned a bunch of stuff in kindergarten like not to draw stick figures but make the real people. I also learned how to draw things for real instead of scribble scrabble. The most fun thing I did was the field trip to the farm because we got to ride the bus and it was really hot and we did sweating but nobody barfed and it was fun. Also in kindergarten I got to meet my friends Desmond and Felix and Fiorruccio and Alessandro. The best part everyday was the recess part because of the friends part. Next year I'll be in first grade. I've heard it's really hard."
Remember when our dogs ate our couch? (To be fair, I'm sure those leather cushions were delicious.) That was back in January. I went to see Salvador the upholsterer and ordered a new cushion.
Salvador said it was an easy job and the cushion would be ready the following week. That week came and went, no cushion. He promised the next week. Another week passed and nothing. The next week when I called he explained it might be a couple of weeks because it was taking him longer than he expected to finish another job.
In mid-February, we moved our cushion-less couch out to the garage. Seeing it every day was just a reminder of our cushion failure.
Then it was March. I called for a status update and Salvador told me that the old cushions that I brought in to him to measure had been accidentally thrown away and that he would need to come out to take measurements of our couch. He did. He said we should have our new cushion the following week.
Another week passed. Mr. Rosenberg had become impatient with not having a couch. We bought a new one. I called Salvador again and left a message. He didn't call back. Now checking in with Salvador was just part of my routine, something I did a few times a week, like laundry. I wasn't going to stop now, I had too much time invested in the process.
And then it was April. He had been letting my calls go to voice-mail for the past few weeks. I tried calling Salvador from my house phone. Since he didn't have that number in his cell and wouldn't recognize who it was on the caller ID I thought he might pick up. It worked. He answered and let me know that he was unable to get the fabric I had picked out and that I needed to come back in and make a new selection. I did. He expected to have it done in about five days.
Three weeks later, he reported that he had the fabric, he just needed to pick up the foam. It should take about a week to make that happen.
Last week on my Thursday call in, Salvador said that he was ready to go and that it would be ready on Monday. I waited until Wednesday to call in.
"It's ready," he said.
"No way. Really? You're serious?" I thought he might have me confused with someone else.
I thought I became a soccer mom the day I bought my first Coleman folding chair. I thought I solidified my place when I became the team mom for Bob's soccer team last season. I thought wrong.
I just had a meeting with three other women to prepare us for the upcoming summer pre-season and fall season as Lead Hospitality Coordinators for Soccer Region 214. I'm not exactly sure what that means either. What I do know is that there will be calendars, phone calls, procedures, countless emails, and apparently many dozens of doughnuts. This is serious business.