What needs to happen: is I need to not freak out. I started sort of freaking out – about this going back to school business. I was freaking about big things like: how will I manage to do this? Can I really learn and master college math when Math is my sworn enemy, my arch-nemesis, the ultimate evil?! Why would I leave Kayli to do my student teaching during HER last few years at home before she’s in school full-day? (This one was REALLY upsetting me). But I also started freaking about some smaller things (but still realistic issues): If we’re both working full-day, how do I stay on top of the laundry (which even now as a ‘stay at home’ mom consumes many hours of my days)? How will we get healthy dinners made? (Again, now as a mostly at home parent, I’m able to spend some of my time – typically earlier in the day – doing at least some dinner prep to make our afterschool/homework/dinner/evening time less chaotic and stressful.) How will I survive without my weekly Tuesday morning Spin class at the gym?! A class that I’ve attended for six years now! Needless-to-say, I was starting to freak out.
In the end, I don’t have answers (yet) to these questions, though I did realize that it’s okay for me to just SLOW DOWN. I will have MANY years when Kayli is in school. That day is coming, it’s just not here yet. And I don’t want to be there yet. I want to enjoy these last couple of years with her at home. (Next year, she’ll do two half-days of preschool; the following year she’ll do 3-4 half days, the school year after THAT, 2016-17, is when she’ll start Kindergarten). So, for today anyway, I am NOT freaking out; and we had a wonderful day. Kayliana helped me make muffins and pumpkin smoothies. We played with my felt board stuff from music class. We had a mini-dance party. I did about 35 minutes of arms/abs P90x while she watched a PBS cartoon. (Yes, I’m trying to defend her watching of TV mid-day). Then, I decided to do that thing that I actually have been looking forward to for YEARS.
When we bought our first house (in 2002), we were told that the empty lot at the bottom of the hill (about two blocks away) would eventually be the location of our city library. I couldn’t wait! I dreamt about walking the kids down for storytime (and the inevidable schlep back up the hill with the wagon full of books). Well, my dream didn’t EXACTLY work out as I’d imagined. They didn’t build the library for a while…like a long while. The doors didn’t open until December 2012 (slightly off from their goal of 2008). We moved away in May 2012. We only moved two miles east, but still! So, while we’ve still benefitted immensely from the new library, my dreams of walking down and back never came to fruition…until today.
Let me paint the picture: we now live two miles (exactly) from our old house/the library/our little downtown area. But these aren’t just two miles – these are two miles with an elevation change of 400 feet. Our house is perched at 800 feet. Downtown is at 400 feet. These numbers don’t really mean anything to me…until I walk out the front door for a run…or load Kayli in the stroller, throw on my empty backpack and fill it with books at the library and a few essentials from the grocery store and head back home. Then the numbers mean something to me. Needless-to-say: it.is.a.walk. Downhill the whole way there and then up hill the whole way back.
To further illustrate the scene for this hike: it’s been really, really super foggy in the Seattle area lately. For some reason last year, when we had a foggy spell, it kind of weirded me out. I felt a little claustrophobic driving down the street or walking to the school bus stop and not being able to see very far ahead of me. This year, I LOVE it. Huh! Go figure.
Let me wax poetic for you (on you?) a moment. (I’ve never liked this expression: wax poetic. I know it has to do with the kind of wax like a ‘waxing’ and not ‘waning’ moon, but it just makes me think: Am I putting poetic wax ON you? Anyway, here goes). As Kayli and I descended through the fog – huge maple leaves crunching under the strollers’ tires – we noticed the shimmering spiderwebs bedazzled in dew like millions of tiny chandeliers adorning the trees. (See, I told you I was gonna get my poetic on!) The leaves were fifty shades of not gray. Every bright color conceivable hung on the trees. We went down the steepest part of our neighborhood hill. I looked to my left and saw a very life-like statue of a young buck – antlers and everything. There are tons of deer in our neighborhood (we back to an enormous state park. I’ve also experienced one bear sighting if you’ll recall), so I honestly thought that this statue was to scare actual, real deer away from the plants and garden of these homeowners. Kayli and I slowly continued by the house and then I saw another deer statue – but then this one moved. OK, I sound like a moron, because we do see deer frequently, but honestly, I watched the buck for quite a while and it didn’t twitch at all; I couldn’t even see it breathing and we were pretty darn close to it! So, as soon as this other deer moves, I look back at the buck and watch in awe as it majestically stands up…and then starts to slowly saunter towards us. I quickened my pace a tad and we continued down the hill. Where, at the side of the next house, I spy two more bucks, a doe and a still youngish looking fawn.
Beautiful! The fog. The intense fall colors. The crisp air. It really was breath-taking. (And, seriously, climbing that 400 feet back up to home, literally took my breath away). As I was finally nearing the end of our ascent, another (or one of the previous) bucks and a doe go leaping around the yard about ten feet to the left of where I was. I could hear the sound of their hooves as they crunched through the leaves bounding so effortlessly into the misty fog.
All I could think was: seriously, are we in Narnia?! This is amazing. And for now, anyway, I am not freaking out.