You’re officially in kindergarten! This should feel like a bigger milestone but I feel a bit robbed since you went to developmental kindergarten or also referred to as DKA or TK or my personal favorite, freedom. Last year felt like the big milestone because you transitioned from preschool a couple days a week to every day at a public school. This year just feels like a tease because for the second year in a row, you’re only in school for a mere 4 hours and to add insult to injury, you are released from school thirty minutes earlier this year compared to last year. True, you’re starting earlier and I no longer have to make a second trip to the school in the morning but still, I can’t even consume a half bottle of wine let alone eat a decent meal before I have to turn around and pick you up. Next year will be the milestone. Next year when you’re in school for a full day, I will be doing heel-clicks all the way up the hill to school. Until then, I will seek solace in the fact that at least I have my mornings to consume my Bloody Mary in peace.
You still don’t quite grasp the difference between developmental kindergarten and traditional kindergarten. Who am I kidding, I don’t either. You were far less anxious to start school this year but you still had some reservations as to how you would handle a new teacher and a class full of new peers. You’re so outgoing and personable that I never worry too much about you making friends. Sometimes I feel your song and dance of being nervous is more for my benefit than your own. You’re certainly not shy and have the magical ability to draw people in. One second you’re playing tag with a friend and the next you’re playing tag with a dozen or so kids I’ve never seen in my life but yet they’re all screaming, ‘MILES!’ I have a strong feeling that as an adult, you will either become an ambassador or a cult leader. I wouldn’t be surprised either way.
Summer of Awesome was in full effect this summer but I failed you and Olivia and you like to remind me almost daily that my Summer of Awesome planning was both aggressive and impossible. Perhaps I was bit too ambitious at the beginning of summer or perhaps you and your sister worn me down and left me with little energy to make our way through the list. I’m keeping the list open through Labor Day weekend because summer was cut short this year due to the school year moving up but I can pessimistically say that we’re not going to complete the Summer of Awesome list this year. You cannot fault me for not trying. Ok, some of the things yes: foot golf? What was I thinking??
Last weekend, I genuinely wanted to close out the summer on a high note so your dad and I decided to take a day trip to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk since it’s all that you and Olivia can talk about. It’s surprising how much you two are infatuated with the Boardwalk given that you can only ride a handful of the rides. Obviously, there is an underlying element that I’m not hip to. Your dad was running a half marathon so we decided to wait until he returned mid-morning to embark on our trip to Santa Cruz. We hit normal traffic for a Saturday late-morning excursion but then we entered the city of Santa Cruz and everything came to a screeching halt. We inched our way every few minutes towards the direction of the Boardwalk when we eventually realized that we all were headed to the same destination.
After sitting in the car for just over an hour, we made our way to the parking lot where we saw signs that stated the lot was full. Fortunately, someone was looking out for me because as I neared the parking lot entrance, a car pulled out and exited, leaving me with a beautiful front row parking space. I honked at the parking lot attendant to move the cones out of the way so I could claim my prize but he merely shook his head at me and motioned for me to continue on my path of traffic doom and road rage. Perhaps he didn’t understand what I was asking so I honked again but this time I pointed to my ethereal plot of concrete, informing him that there was a spot open just for me. Again, he shook his head and motioned to me to keep moving. From the time I left the house to this point in time, I had been sitting in the car for 3 hours and my bladder was no longer reminding me politely about the grande coffee I consumed on the way down. I could feel my blood pressure rise with rage. THERE’S AN OPEN PARKING SPOT, MAN AND I HAVE TO PISS LIKE NOBODY’S BUSINESS!! LET ME IN!!!!!
A couple thoughts ran through my mind at this moment: 1. Do I pull a Thelma and Louise and grab Ryan’s hand and barrel over the traffic cones and claim what is rightfully mine or 2. Do I try to coerce this guy to give me and my family a break and to do the humanly thing and allow the person who has been sitting in traffic for far too long to get the open spot? I should have gone with number one because that asshole proceeded to give me a rundown on his “parking protocol” and basically shrugged his shoulders and told me to be on my way. I was livid! I was outraged! If it were socially acceptable to get out of the car and pee on his shoe, I would have done that to show my disappointment into his heartless ways. As we sat again in traffic on the one-way road outside of the Boardwalk, I screamed to you and Olivia that the Boardwalk wasn’t happening today. Olivia, traumatized no doubt by watching me scream at a stranger, understood the implications of poking the bear (me) and took a hint and quietly accepted the fate at hand. You on the other hand had buried your face in your hands and began crying quietly to yourself. I was frustrated at the parking situation but I was more frustrated that my plans for a big summer send-off went wrong in the most horrible way possible.
I began to get choked up and I’ll admit that perhaps my bloated bladder prevented me from thinking of alternative ways to salvage the afternoon. Thankfully, your dad was there to keep me from going off the deep end and suggested we keep driving along the coast until we found a beach. I didn’t want a beach. I wanted the Boardwalk. Your dad told me to just keep driving and to get far away as possible from the traffic behind us. I kept driving and passed a beach that admittedly looked perfect. Again, I began to feel hysterical because there was zero parking to be had. Your dad again told me to keep going. I found a spot in a residential neighborhood and being the emotional wreck I was, became adamant that this wouldn’t work. We’ll be walking forever trying to find a beach. Au contraire, mon frère. Just two blocks away was not only an entrance to a pristine beach but bathrooms. Glorious bathrooms! I relieved myself and finally came to my senses and saw the light that your dad had seen. Perhaps we could salvage this afternoon yet.
The beach was perfect: quiet, clean and nowhere near as crowded as the Boardwalk beach that could be observed from the shore. We sat back and watched you and Olivia frolic in the waves, giggling and splashing. We walked along the shore to a lighthouse at the end of the pier and watched the boats come and go from the wharf. We ate lunch at a restaurant at the wharf’s edge and found an amazing ice cream shop downtown. I couldn’t help but treat the entire experience as an afterschool special, talking to you and Liv about the importance of keeping an open mind and remaining flexible because you never know when a parking attendant is going to appear and ruin your plans. Or in this case, improve our plans because the whole afternoon turned out to be pretty amazing.
We recently returned from a trip to New Hampshire and Massachusetts to spend a week with your aunt, uncle and cousins. We only get to see them once a year but I love that no matter the time and distance between us, we can still jump right back into things and act like we just saw them yesterday. Our week was filled with swimming, running, exploring and ice cream. Oh, the ice cream. So much fun was had that we couldn’t tell at the end of the trip if we wanted to stay longer or if we needed to leave asap so we could force ourselves to sleep soundly for a few nights. The lifestyle out there is comfortable and relaxing and nowhere near the hustle and bustle of the Bay Area. Your dad and I can’t help but ask ourselves if we’re raising you and your sister right? Is the Bay Area the best place to raise a family? That’s a conversation for another time and perhaps will be a topic of discussion for you and your therapist one day but for now, we sit in our lot-less home and fantasize of a greener grass just beyond.
With summer falling quickly from our grasps and you now fully enveloped in kindergarten excitement, I’m equally excited and nervous at what lies on the horizon. I predict that academically, this year will mirror last year but socially, I’m intrigued how you will handle being basically the the experienced kindergarten professional in the class. Will you be bored and act out or will you spearhead a new classroom initiative and propose long and deep discussions on world peace amongst your peers or will you creepily ask your classmates to drink a special Kool-Aid you prepared just for them. Ambassador or cult leader? It’s anyone’s guess.