Amazing Grace and Ladybugs


I keep telling myself if I can get through this week, I can do anything!  It’s Wednesday, Hump-day, actually EVENING now, so I’m staring to feel pretty empowered.  I haven’t lost it yet. Well, truthfully, based on your definition of “it”, I may have once or twice.

Without the car transitions and borrowing a car and paying for repairs at the shop ( I won’t pick up “Helmut” until Saturday) its been the strangest, busiest week.  Its as if I can feel the pressure of time moving closer, sometimes I wonder if I’m coping well at all. I keep forgetting things and missing calls, etc. But its almost Thursday, so something is working!

Personally I blame the fact that the local schools are starting before LABOR DAY…this week, at least a week earlier from last year. I can feel it in my bones, its not the season yet.  I’m emotionally not ready for this. We need at least another week of play before taking on the schedules of the system and the personal subsidies of lessons, sports, youth group, etc.  Still, we all have to go with the flow. At least we are all in it together. I’m stand in solidarity with all the other families that are freaking out right now. We are not alone.

I’ve seen a lot of jittery parents this week. Something about the eyes.  It probably doesn’t help anything  that I walked through the CHRISTMAS aisle at Michaels yesterday.  I almost started hyperventilating. Actually, I’m feeling a little sick just remembering. Ugh. Its like Retail-Warming, catching up with the consumer culture at last. I’m not alone in this weird off-seasonal stress, I’m sure of that.


I was at Justine’s Kindergarten yesterday morning for her assessment.  She and five other kids went in for a little chat with a teacher (praying she gets someone especially artistic/creative as her K-Guide. I hung out in the playground with the other parents. I’m so happy because a dear friend of mine is a first grade teacher there and her son (whom Justine met when she was just 2 months…he was 3 months) is going to be in Kindergarten too.  I think there is another boy from her class last year who will be around too. In Kindergarten, it hardly matters if you feel alone and nervous, every other child is a brand new kid too.  I’m so glad we are at this school now. All the moving we have done since coming to San Clemente made me wonder where she would end up.  But this is in our neighborhood, and though its not walking distance (not for Californians, anyway) we will benefit from getting to know the nearby community. I’m thinking Play Dates, you moms and dads! It feels good to be grounding into our area.


Here is Justine (summer-hair and all, in her “Spirit Tee Shirt” that she can wear every Friday. Totally worth the ten dollars not to have to go through outfit-picking drama one day a week. Now to sort out those other four. I’m sort of dreading this…BIG BREATH! 

On a cute side note though, for the rest of the day, she wore the shirt and her very heavy backpack (I think she put all her money and favorite books and trinkets in that thing. Does she have a toy kettle-bell too?) and pretended to be a student. Yep, she’s ready. Who cares whether I am. I’m an adult, I can flow.


No, it feels right to let this one go to Kindergarten. She’s been ready for school since she could stand, I think. The main concern of the other parents that I met matched mine.  How to get a parking space each morning to walk our kids in and however are we going to transition them to close-toed school-shoes. What are school shoes anyway anymore?


While Justine was inside and I was scoping out the parent-peers (Some are older parents too! Yay!) I got a call from Mike, saying Vernon had been sent to Dialysis, even though it was a Tuesday. I had called the front dest to ask them if they’d have him ready for the mat and they had mentioned it, but since I hadn’t heard anything from the Dialysis center, I assumed it was another mix up and had sent up Mike anyway (on his BIRTHDAY, I felt so bad.)

Nope, he had his hours changed completely, though I never got the voicemail telling me about it. It’s challenging to process this because I had wanted mornings at Davita Dialysis for so long and when I finally was given them, I was unprepared.  So as far as I know, he got through a session without a sitter…although I don’t think I can use that excuse again next time, they’ll want to be assured of a sitter. I do need more help with him in mornings coming up though…if you have the interest and time, he’s better company than before! Clink this link to sign up: Fun Times with Vernon Adams.

But that was yesterday. Today, was Maki’s Freshman Orientation/Parent Boot Camp.  We are working out a neighborhood carpool, which may or may not involve one of Maki’s classmates, Eva, who lives across the street. Actually, its Mary, another neighbor that we have come to know because she walks her dogs so many times a day, who has so generously offered to drive the kids over in the morning. Her own granddaughter is a sophomore this year. MAJOR SCORE on the morning carpool! I can do afternoons maybe…but not mornings with Justine and Maki going in opposite directions.

Anyway, at it turned out, Eva needed a ride to orientation today too. It was actually really nice to have a teenage girl in the car, the same age of Maki. I felt like I got a better story of what they all did today than I did from Maki, who just mumbled a few things but seemed really happy to be hanging out with all his old pals again. Gosh, teenage girls and boys are so different, its amazing they find each other at all. When I asked Eva how she felt about High School starting, she admitted to being terrified “on the inside.” Though all the boys were joking in the back seat, I think she was giving all of them a voice for the same feeling. They certainly didn’t deny it…if anything, they seemed slightly relieved at their classmate’s admission.


Here are some boys. And some hair.  I particularly like the red-head on the left’s fashion approach. Orange and Black is the new Black. Especially Orange.

My friend Sarah, mother of the Twins, Maki’s best friends, was such great company…she spent the time marveling at how much the kids had all shot up over the summer, or even from the pre-middle school days when last she’d seen them. She has more High School Spirit than I do.  But after today, I want some too. Ok, just a little at a time. Only took me 26 years.


It felt good. It felt like community. I even signed up to help with the “Tattoo Parlor” at this year’s Grad Night. Talk about planning ahead! What? Since when do I have high school spirit!

Since I have a step/son that’s a Freshman, I guess.

We are all doing a big chapter flip at the moment. Well the kids are, anyway…and I’m following their story so closely, I guess its a chapter for me too! Can’t put it down yet!

It’s a fluid life, parenthood, isn’t it? I thought it would be really important for me to be extra involved in Justine’s life this year, but after these couple of days, I think its Maki whom I’ll be watching most closely for growth and change and challenges. I spent the summer with Justine as my only, perhaps  that’s why I feel good focusing on Maki’s transition.  I think this is going to be a really important year for him.  Watch this space. I have a good feeling about this 9th grade year.

We are such a different family than we were this time last year. It will be interesting to find out who we are in another.

Here’s to learning much and loving much, even inside the system!


Some designs transcend generations, apparently.


All the cool parents got the best spots. Some things never change. 🙂









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Amazing Grace and Ladybugs