What’s In a Name? Changing Your Name Back (or Not) After a Divorce

When I filed for divorce in 2011, I had to answer a question about whether I’d want to change my name after the divorce. I hesitated but wrote, “Yes,” and then didn’t think about it again for months. Zachary and I reconciled, living together and going to counseling but the efforts couldn’t surmount the challenges and almost a year after I first told Zachary I wanted a divorce, I told him again that I didn’t want to be married.

The original divorce proceedings had never been canceled, merely put on hold. So I did not have to reply about my name change again, but this time I leaned toward keeping Zachary’s last name. I’d have the same last name as the kids, I wouldn’t have to go to the hassle of changing my name on every single document that exists with my identity. Bank accounts, social security card, driver’s license, emails, business forms, emergency contact information for the kids, credit cards. Admittedly, I like the way his last name sounds with my first better than the pairing with my maiden name. I’d envision going back to my maiden name and it made me feel childish, young in a not-so-positive way. Like I’d be erasing the last ten years of my life. I went back and forth. Some days I was sure I’d keep his name, others I was ready to change.

After the decision had been made to move forward with the divorce, the therapist Zachary and I had been going to for couples counseling recommended a book called The Good Divorce by Constance Ahrons, Ph.D. Her book is based on twenty years of research on divorced couples and is full of facts and data, interspersed between vignettes about the couples she profiles. I highly recommend it for any parent facing a divorce. One fact really struck me – she said that 50% of divorced men are remarried within one year of the legal divorce. Not just dating or engaged, but actually married again. Within one year.

And I knew that I did not want to be the old Mrs. Marceaux if and when Zachary remarries. That is what tipped the scale. His family has stopped speaking to me so I don’t feel a connection to “their” last name. I won’t feel like any less of a mother to my children if our names don’t match. I have friends who are married but kept their maiden names – they are fantastic mothers and the name issue has nothing to do with that.

I did worry about how the kids would take it, but I recalled a conversation we had last summer, before the divorce decision was renewed. My daughter asked me why Grandpa, my dad, haa a different last name than us. Because their other grandparents, Zachary’s parents, had the same last name. I explained how often women change their names when they get married.

So when it came time to tell the kids that I’d be changing my name back to Pearson, I stuck to that reasoning. There was no need to get into my emotions behind it or sound sad about it – I didn’t want the kids to think this was a bad thing. Just a fact.

One night as we sat down for dinner I said to the kids, “Do you remember when we were talking about last names, and how women will sometimes change their last names when they get married?” The kids’ heads bobbed yes as they ate.

“Well, since Daddy and I won’t be married anymore, my name is going to change again. It will be the same last name as when I was born, the same last name Grandpa has.”

“So you won’t have the same last name as us?” Miles asked. He wasn’t upset, just quizzical.

“That’s right. But of course I will always be your mommy.”

“Okay,” the kids said. They had all the answers they needed. I sighed with relief and started to eat.

Then Grant looked at me. “So… you and Daddy won’t be married again?”

“Yes, honey, that’s right. Daddy I will never be married to each other,” I explained. I looked closely at Grant to see if this troubled him but his face was clear.

“That means you’re going to be a señorita!” he said, a big grin on his face, proud he could use a little bit of the Spanish he’s been learning at school.

Kids – they really do know sometimes what’s important and what’s not. My name is just a name, and whatever the reasons for dropping my married name, my kids know my love for them will never change based on the letters that follow “Heather” in my signature. To them I’ll always be Mom.

Goodbye, 2012 – Hello, 2013

Blog image for use on the www.everyday-commotion.com blog.

I don’t know that I’ve earned an end-of-the-year/let’s-toast-the-new-year post with this blog, as I’ve fallen quite behind. But the new year is always a good time for reflections and plans and I’ve been re-reading my posts from 2012 to try to piece together my memories of the last 365 days.

My first post last January was called “The New Year,” and I briefly shared that Zachary and I had been separated for several months in 2011. A hard post to write, even if it didn’t delve into personal feelings or details, and yet I was cautiously hopeful. As the year wore on, however, my positivity for our future together waned and hard decisions had to be made. When you are young and life as an adult is beginning it’s so easy to share news. “I got a new job!” and “We’re engaged!” and “I’m pregnant!” are joyous and the good words flow and the congratulations are intoxicating. Then there are situations which are more difficult to announce, and you wonder how – and even if – to do it. My brother and his wife lost their baby girl. Zachary and I are divorcing. These were the tough spots.

The decision to end our marriage will affect me, Zachary, the kids and our families for the rest of our lives. The decision, made in 2012, colors the direction of all my years from here until the end, but my 2013 may have the most upheaval in a short amount of time. This year I will need to figure out how to earn a living that will support me 100% of the time and the children 50% of the time. I will look for a home to house me and the kids. I might go back to using my maiden name (I change my mind almost daily on that issue).

Despite the heart-wrenching moments scattered throughout, 2012 brought joy, as well. My babies turned 9, 8, 6 and 3 and showed me every day what amazing little people they are growing to become. Jonah potty trained and now I’m free of diapers forever. Grant transformed from a wild-child kindergartener to a boisterous (but calmer) first grader who is proud of how far his reading skills have come along. Isla grew more confident in her gymnastics. Miles finally learned how to ride a bike. I made Lego Star Wars cake pops for Grant’s birthday party and they took forever and make me want to pull my hair out but resulted in one of my most popular blog posts ever.

I traveled to California for a friend’s wedding and got to experience gorgeous weather mid-winter. I visited family and friends in Texas. I made new friends and spent more time with old ones. My business doubled in sales. My sister had her first baby with her new husband, and my brother and his wife found out they are expecting a baby girl a year after they lost their daughter to stillbirth. I reached my lowest weight since getting married 10 years ago (let’s not talk about how the scale has inched up again, though, okay?). The kids and I spent time together having fun (and visiting urgent cares) at Disney World. I tried Zumba for the first time and loved it. My friends convinced me to go salsa dancing and I had fun even though I couldn’t keep up. I made bread for the first time and it was edible, even if it didn’t turn out as expected.

Did you make resolutions for 2013? I haven’t. I’m not a resolution girl. In November I joined a new gym and have been going when I am not with the kids. I’ll meal plan more now that the holidays and get-togethers are over for a while. I’m going to volunteer more not because it’s a new year but because I love it and I’ve found friends who love it just as much and, like exercise, it’s easier to get yourself out with others who are happy doing the same thing.

2013 will bring challenges and changes, less fun and more numerous than those I experienced in the 12-month period that saw me follow Zachary to two different states, get engaged and hold four different jobs.

I have absolutely no idea what my “Happy 2014!” post will include. My life is a notebook with a lot of blank lines ahead. There will be tears, there will be smiles, there will be mistakes and successes. I’ll probably lose and gain the same ten pounds a few times and I imagine I’ll say, on at least one occasion, that I need a desperately need vacation but I’ll be unable to take one and the next day I’ll be better, anyway. I’ll breathe in, I’ll breathe out.

Happy 2013 to you all – whatever it brings you!

In Limbo

I am not a fan of ambiguity. I like decisions and plans and paths and so to have things in some undefined, neither here nor there space makes me unsettled. “I don’t know,” may be my least favorite phrase in the world.

My life is currently undefined. I’m neither divorced nor married, just waiting in a place between the two. I have no static home because I go back and forth between the house where the kids are and the room I rent 30 miles away, closer to my work. I have a job working for myself but the income is not consistent so instead of feeling fully employed I feel half employed. Under employed. Applications and resumes submitted go unanswered.

Beginning next summer, when the school year ends, the kids will have to go between two houses and I’m starting to understand how trying this will be for them. When I leave the house to go to my townhouse for my days away, I have to carry all the things I need for work and all the clothes I think I’ll wear and all the documents I might need to access and chargers and laptops and makeup and shoes and two coats and I feel more like I live in my car than anywhere else. How will this be for the kids, then, when they have to go from Zachary’s home to my home and they forget something at one place but need it at the other? How will we keep track of homework and permission slips? What if they want to play with a friend from one neighborhood when they’re spending the night at the other? Will they wake up wanting to wear a certain shirt and realize it’s at Dad’s house?

Soon my life will take more definition. The divorce will be final and I will have a new, loaded label. I will find a job. I will have my own space where the kids and I can shape a new home. But right now I feel like I’m floating in space and flailing my arms and there’s nothing to ground me so I just bounce around with no ability to control my direction. I need some direction. Direct me.
Written to participate in Just Write.

Halloween Hits and Misses

Halloween has come and gone, and the kids enjoyed every last minute. Zachary and I are separated but we agreed we would both continue to trick or treat with the kids each year. I saw the kids off to school in the morning, their backpacks stuffed with their costumes, then I headed to work and back to the house at night for pizza and begging the neighbors for candy.

Late October weather in MN can be unpredictable, to say the least. It may be below freezing and everyone has to cover up their costumes with heavy winter gear, or it can be sixty degrees and no one wears so much as a sweatshirt. Sometimes it can even be snowing. Friends and I trick or treated in the snow during that freakish Halloween blizzard in 1991. We got tons of candy, since, you know, most sane people stayed indoors.

But last night was relatively mild. Isla and I wore winter coats, but the boys were happy and comfortable just in their costumes. We went from door to door, the kids saying the appropriate things at the appropriate times. We had to keep Jonah from approaching homes where no lights were on because he was so excited to hit every home. Once home we sorted through the candy and pulled out all the pieces with nuts or peanut butter from Jonah’s stash, and the kids sorted and counted their candy just like me and my siblings used to do.

So trick or treating was a big success, and I’m glad I didn’t have to miss out on the festivities.

Also, I’m slightly proud of my contributions to their costumes. For most of Halloweens past, I’ve gone the easy route – I shopped online for costumes and had them delivered to the house. This year, Isla wanted to make her own costume. She crafted a mask for her cat costume completely on her own. I was so proud! She needed help making the tail, however, so I went to the local hardware store to buy some wire and black tape, and fashioned a tail out of large piping I had leftover from a sewing project I completed somewhere around 2004 and one of the boy’s belts. It worked, hooray!

Miles has Halloween anxiety in that all of the costumes he can come up with are so appealing, he has a hard time making up his mind. He thinks he’ll settle on one, then a better idea will come and he won’t be able to use it. Hmmm, sounds a little bit like his mom, in that regard. The day of my sister’s Halloween party he landed on Davy Crockett. With no time to head to a fabric store or a mall, I crossed my fingers that Target would have what I needed. One brown shirt and one tan fleece blanket later, I was all set to make the fringe for Davy Crockett’s get-up. Only thing I was short on was time.

I sat down on the kitchen floor and made Isla’s tail, helped guide Grant toward the Iron Man mask he thought was missing (he and Jonah wore purchased costumes, though the Iron Man one was from our dress-up drawers). Then quickly cut three strips from the fleece blanket and safety pinned them to the shirt (being thrifty, I wanted to make sure Miles could wear the shirt as a real shirt later on). We only had time for one strip of fringe on the front before we had to leave, and I told Miles next year it’s his duty to settle on a costume by Oct. 1.

I’d made a trip to the thrift store in search of a costume earlier in the week and settled on M ichelle D uggar. I put spaces in the name on purpose because now I’m feeling a little mean spirited about the whole thing. I don’t really have anything against the Duggars, but, well, it was something that just came to me so I went with it. I did have a woman at my sister’s party tell me I had the best costume of the night.

Now let’s move on to the misses, shall we?

I had leftover candy melts from the Mickey Mouse treats, as well as left over Oreos, so I had the brilliant idea to add yellow food coloring to the molten candy melts and make orange pumpkins. Well, I probably should have known this, but adding food coloring to melted candy melts results in this kind of clumpy mess. And it didn’t even turn orange.

Next I thought maybe I’d just ice them. Why I didn’t just give up, I’m not sure. So I pulled out an icing recipe and made it and tinted it… and it would not turn orange. It was sort of a peachy color. Which would have been perfect had I been icing cookie peaches. Also, it was a royal icing recipe. Which did not coat the Oreos well and frankly didn’t taste all that good on them, anyway.

In desperation, I thought perhaps I’d just use white almond bark to dip the remaining Oreos and make ghosts. This did not work, either, nor did my food coloring markers. So I gave up on my award-winning treat ideas, admitted defeat, and went to the grocery store where I purchased crackers and cheese to bring to the Halloween party.

My next miss was the pumpkin carving. Isla was sick for three days leading up to Halloween, so the carving kept getting pushed back. Tuesday night we hauled the gargantuan things in from the porch and began scraping out the innards. This took almost all of our time, because the kids were squeamish and not experienced enough in pumpkin-gut-scraping. They’re young, after all. Once I’d helped them clean the pumpkins we set about tracing designs onto the pumpkins. Grant’s was done first, and I set about carving with my little kit. And promptly snapped four of the blades in rapid succession trying to make it through the thick pumpkin skins. It’s a miracle I didn’t lose a finger.

I told the kids next year we are getting smaller pumpkins or else investing in some heavy duty knives and safety gear.

How was your Halloween?

Superheroes Make Everything Better

Last Saturday morning I awoke with a fog in my head. Jonah had been up the night before with a croupy cough, alternating between desperately needing me and then desperately needing Zachary. Eventually he fell into a snotty, coughing sleep in our bed and kicked me until early morning. I knew he slept better with me nearby, though, and snuggling a sick kid may not be as nice as snuggling a healthy kid, but it’s still comforting.

Zachary went off to work before everyone was dressed and I scrambled around the kitchen making shopping lists and looking for my checkbook so I could scribble out the one check I need to write each month.

“Grant, where are your shoes?” I asked as I spied his bare feet. We had two minutes to leave the house to bring the boys to their sports practice.

“I have no idea!” he answered. We have 429 pairs of shoes in this house but no one can ever find the pair they need when it’s time to leave.

“Jonah, did you go to the bathroom?” I yelled into the play room.

“Yes! I goed potty!” he called back. He popped into the kitchen and I saw he was still wearing his beloved new Spiderman costume.

“Jonah, buddy, we need to go. I need you to take off the costume and get your shoes on.” I scanned the counters for my keys. Where were the keys? One minute to leave.

“No! I want to be Spiderman!” Jonah said. He crossed his arms and stuck out his lower lip. Typical strategy.

“Fine, fine. You can wear it IF you get your shoes on right now,” I said. “Isla! Miles! Get in the car!”

“Mom, they are already in the car,” Grant said. Ah, perfect. Time to go.

We dropped the older two boys off at their destination and Isla and Jonah and I took off to squeeze as many errands as possible into our hour before swinging back to get Grant and Miles. First stop – the gas station. The minivan’s “you are almost out of gas, you slacker,” light had come on, and I was in desperate need of a caffeinated beverage.

Jonah was determined to open the door of the store for me, and he used all of his super hero might to push it. A twenty-something man paying for a donut at the checkout got a huge grin on his face and said, “Way to go, Spiderman!” Jonah was mostly oblivious to the attention there, but everyone who saw him smiled.

From there we ventured to the post office. The lone employee at the window gushed all over Jonah and his costume. He was starting to catch on to the effect he was having on strangers and gamely smiled and put his hands on his hips in a display of strength and power before saying “Bye bye!” in his pseudo-booming voice.

Up next was the local farmer’s market. As we passed through a long line of people waiting for somewhat famous pastries, the whispers began.

“Oh my goodness, look at that little boy!”

“He is so cute, what a cute mask.”

Isla helped me pick out a butternut squash while the folks at the farm stand complimented her pretty dress and asked Jonah questions about his costume. The he turned around and faced everyone in line and gestured like Spiderman about to shoot a web from his wrists and someone in the crowd said, “Look! He’s posing!” I felt like we were in our own little parade, with Jonah as grandmaster. His get-up left little rays of sunshine every where we went.

With Isla carrying our squash, leeks and garlic and me carrying Jonah (who can resist a 30-pound hero who asks, “Mama, will you carry you?”), we walked to our final destination – the bank. Normally this is where Jonah melts down. Jumping on the chairs as I fill out the deposit slip, trying ot make a break for the doors, begging for suckers – you name it.

This time, in his disguise, he beguiled the staff and sat and talked for a good ten minutes with a banker. Even took his shoes off to get more comfortable. I think he was trying to get a loan to help support his good-deed lifestyle, but was ultimately denied due to lack of verifiable income. Spiderman doesn’t get regular paychecks, you see.

We had such a stress-free, smile-filled morning while we ran errands, I’m tempted to purposely put him in costumes every time we walk out the door now.

I’m Calm. Yeah, Really.

I have an interview tomorrow. My first interview in 11 years.

A part time job – one that I can, theoretically, fit into the spaces not occupied by my kids and current job. Apparently I don’t think I’m busy enough.

No, it’s not that. I’m not looking to fill hours. My hours are plenty filled. I’m looking to sneak back into the working world. The kind of working world with set schedules, regular paychecks and no weekends or late nights.

My sister sent me the job description and on paper it sounds great. Small company, flexible hours and the work is similar to what I do every day on my own. While the pay isn’t stellar, it’s a start. I’m happy just to have been offered an interview. I’m 35, with four children, and I haven’t worked for anyone but myself since Miles was born.

Life around here is too chaotic for me to spend time fretting over how the interview might play out. The luxury of wasted time simply doesn’t exist. I’ve got more client work in the next three days than I can fit into the hours available and instead of Freaking Out (or, worse, FREAKING OUT!!!) I’m telling myself, “It will get done. It will work out. Chill out. You’ll be fine.”

Wait.

Do I need to bring anything to my interview? Copies of my resume? References? Fingerprints for a background check? Wine? I haven’t interviewed in 11 years, people, I have no idea anymore.

Is the sweater I plan to wear even clean?

Do I have time to get a sorely-needed manicure so the women interviewing me don’t think I’m a complete mess when they look at my rough cuticles? I’ve been so stressed and preoccupied I’ve bitten my thumbnails down to oblivion.

Are they going to judge me by my cuticles?? 

What if they ask me how I handle conflicts in the workplace?

“Well, when my fourth grader yells at me that I don’t let him do anything fun, I tell him to go sit on his bed and think about all the kids in the world who don’t even know what a Wii is, much less own one. Oh, you meant a different kind of workplace?”

Oh yeah, I’m totally calm. No worries.

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Written for Just Write, a weekly exercise in free writing.

 

 

 

 

No Time for Sentimentality

When Miles went to kindergarten four years ago, I cried. My oldest baby, my first to leave me and go off to be educated by someone other than a parent, was leaving the nest. I thought about how I wouldn’t be there if he got scared or if another child was unkind, and it kept me up late at night. I worried about whether he’d miss me or not, but hoped it wouldn’t be too much if he did. When Isla went off to school, I overbought adorable fall clothing and wondered if her tender heart would be overwhelmed with all the other kids in her class. Even Grant, my third, was the focus of my maternal concern before he stepped on the bus for the first time, my only kindergartener to not be driven to and from school. I carried him into bed with us after he fell asleep one night before school started, almost like the mom in I Love You Forever, because I wanted him to be my baby for just a little longer.

This year the only first is that Grant will be in school all day long, instead of half day like last year. All three older kids are still at the same school, riding the same bus. Grant has Isla’s old teacher, and Isla has Miles’ old teacher. Besides new shoes, we didn’t need to buy much – Isla and Miles still fit into almost all of their clothes from last year, and Grant gets hand-me-downs. Only Isla needed school supplies, because the boys’ teachers requested checks for communal supplies, instead.

So this year, the first day of school arrived almost out of nowhere. I wasn’t worried, the kids weren’t worried, we were prepared. We located the backpacks and the lunch boxes, cut the tags off the new gym shoes. Woke the kids up at 7 this morning and had unhurried breakfasts. Miles and Grant had selected matching first day of school shirts, and Isla wore a boldly-colored dress that will probably never enter the school building again because she’s not, most days, a fan of dresses.

“This is going so well,” I thought. I had no tinges of sadness, because I knew the kids looked forward to school, though I did wish summer vacation could have lasted a month or two longer.

The kids and their backpacks were ready 10 minutes before the bus arrival time printed on the cards they’d been instructed to carry with them the first two weeks of school. I grabbed my camera and we headed out the door to take a photo on the porch, and give good-bye and good luck hugs.

But the bus had already arrived. Early by a good eight minutes, it waited at the end of the street. Isla panicked; the boys began to run. “Wait for me!” I called, but the boy either didn’t hear me or didn’t want to wait. They stepped confidently onto the bus without a look back to me or Zachary or Jonah as we trailed behind. Isla gave a little wave and then, she, too, was gone.

My smooth, tear-free morning wavered in front of me as the bus pulled away. No kisses to their cheeks, no whispered words of encouragement, no bright-eyed first day of school photo. They were gone. I blinked back tears and walked to the house.

Now they are off, discovered the newness of their classes and breathing in the scent of freshly sharpened pencils. Jonah is going to daycare this afternoon.

The kids are fine, I’m fine, we had our little non-event this morning and just like that, summer is gone.

A post for Just Write, a weekly free-writing exercise, which is about all I have time for these days.

Do Not Follow

I took my daughter along for my jog the other night. The air was light and cool and reminded me that soon autumn will replace summer and the leaves will start to fall off the trees, so I’d better take the time to enjoy their greenery and the sunshine now.

I ran up a hill; my daughter pedaled with all her strength to make it. At the top we caught our breath and then prepared for the easier glide back to the bottom.

A boy on a bike, a boy about her age, came from nothing and whizzed past her and down a grassy hill.

“Hi!” he called. She yelled hello back, then looked after him as his head disappeared down the slope and her own bike veered off the pavement.  For a moment she teetered and almost lost her balance as her wheels rolled unexpectedly into the sod, but she righted herself and rode on.

“Phew,” she said. “That was a close one. I accidentally almost followed him and fell!”

“Good save,” I said.

But what I wanted to say was, “Do not follow anyone. Travel together if you’re on the same path, but don’t change your course for anyone else. You may not be able to find your way back again.”
Written to participate in Just Write, a weekly free-writing exercise.

I’m Busy, How About You?

In a world where being busy is practically a competitive sport, I feel like I’m stating the glaringly obvious when I declare, “I’ve got a lot going on, people!” What with the four children, the job that is creeping into full-time territory, life in general, and some stressful situations. Typical life.  You can relate? I’m sure you can – I don’t think I can name a single person who is not busy. Or maybe I just shouldn’t name those people for fear of them thinking I’m calling them lazy. Don’t worry – I don’t mean you.

Anyway, I’m posting to say I’ve been too busy to post. Too occupied to even write future posts, which I’d liked to do, or photograph new recipes or read more than three sentences in a book in one sitting. When school starts in a few weeks, my daytime hours will be filled with more dedicated work time, but school comes with its own set of time-suckers, like homework and having to be places on time and all that. Luckily the kids are really excited to go, though I have to admit I fear I’m going to miss them a little more this year while they’re off learning.

I leave you with this comic from today’s Star Tribune. Baby Blues is a favorite – always spot on. This one was so me, I laughed out loud. Honest.

Have a great weekend, and I’ll see you when I see you!

The Advance

Big changes in the last two weeks here. My babies astound me with their capacity to learn and just go and get more grown up.

Most monumental – Jonah is potty trained. This, people, is a shocker. Both Miles and Grant were nearly four by the time they ditched the diapers, and it was with great struggle that they weren’t older than four.

Jonah is totally into super heroes. On a whim I bought him some underwear with Iron Man and Wolverine and The Hulk. He wrinkled his nose into his cutest, most endearing quizzical face. “‘I’m going to wear UNDERWEARS?” he asked, laughing.

He immediately put them on. Peed in them about fifteen minutes later.

“It’s okay. I have more,” he announced. He marched up to his room to choose a new pair. Peed in those about two hours later.

Within a week he was staying totally dry, day and night. Jonah turns three this fall. This is astounding.

Of course, last night he had an accident at the baseball field, and then two overnight, but, still, for the first time in over nine years, I don’t have to buy diapers. I’ll mop up a little pee here and there for that milestone.

And then – Miles and Isla learned to ride their bikes without training wheels. Yes, Miles is 9 and many children his age have been wheeling around their driveways without support for years by this point. But Miles is a cautious and somewhat shy child. He did not want the older neighbor boys to see him practicing (and falling) on our street. Zachary took all the kids to the park last weekend determined to get Miles up on just two wheels. After a fall and short-lived refusal to get back up in the saddle, Miles was tooling on the bike path all on his own. When Zachary texted me the news, I nearly cried.

Today I’ve been working. Jonah and Grant are at daycare but Miles and Isla wanted to ride bikes. Miles assured me he could take Isla’s training wheels off, and they disappeared into the front yard, all giggles and plans.

“Mom!” Isla squealed as she ran into the house later. “I fell down and scraped my knee, but it’s okay! I can ride my bike! I rode all the way down the street and back without falling!” My girl, following right behind her big brother, up on two wheels now, as well. They can be partners in crime now, as they’ve always been, cruising down the street in their helmets.

And then – Grant learned how to tie his shoes. I can take no credit for this. Zachary has some masterful skill to teach kids to do this in one day, and we decided it was time for Grant to do this before he entered first grade in the fall. The same day Miles rode his bike solo for the first time, Grant ditched the Velcro sneakers.

My babies haven’t been babies for a while, but this week they are proving this with a fast and sharp ferocity. I want to catch them and hold them and marvel at their learning and also whisper, “Slow down, slow down, come back.”

Written to participate in Just Write, a weekly exercise in free writing.

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