Thursday, August 27, 2009

The new year

The start of the school year always feels to me like the real New Year's Day and this year more than ever because this also the start of a new phase in my family's lives. Chris is installed in his faculty housing apartment in ND, and Cora and I are figuring out our new routine as it unfolds. So far she is coping pretty well - considering how much time she spends with her dad, how involved he has always been with her, how much she must feel his absence. She gets sad once in a while, and cries, and tells me she is worried about him. Oddly enough, there are not a lot of books out there for kids about dads who have to go teach in another state, so that she might see her experience reflected. Or maybe there are, and I haven't found them yet.

We are about to the middle of our first two week stretch without him. We made a paper chain to count down the days until we see him again. I plan to make a big calendar, too, for September, but things have been busy and I haven't gotten to it yet.

Part of the busyness is the night time...our bedtime routine doesn't seem to be working anymore. She's been stretching it out into three hours or more and she is obsessed with the idea of going to bed at the same time as me, and wants to sleep in my bed. Which on the one hand, I wouldn't mind, except that I don't want to go to bed at 7:30, for one thing.

In watching her dealing with this, I see myself. In the way she doesn't want to be asked about it, wants to bring it up on her own, in the way she waits to know how she feels and tries to put it into words, but often feels it in her body first. And in the way she can be fine, just fine, all day long, and then struggle at night.

I think we will be fine, in the long run, but I think we still have a way to go to get there.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Home Again: Countdown in session

We just, just, got hmoe from 10 days in California - first in Santa Barbara for a reunion with Chris's immediate family. Cora finally met her cousins on that side (and loved them) and we enjoyed revisiting the UCSB campus, the bookstore where we met, and other nostalgic places (Freebirds burritos - the original shop - still awesome). Then a few short days with my parents and grandma really relaxing, with no agenda other than to hit the pool, open a bottle of wine, and otherwise just hang out together.

Now, here we are home again, with a million things to do before Chris heads off to North Dakota. And it is hard. And I am trying to remain the cheerful and capable person everyone likes me to be, but I am also really sad. And nervous.

A brief snippet from our day yesterday. We were watching some episodes of Jamie Oliver's cooking show that my mom and DVRed and Cora wanted to know why we were laughing at the show.

Me: Because he's kind of a silly person.
Cora: Why is he silly?
Me: I think he was just born that way.
Cora: Well, *I* was born happy!

Indeed. She was, again, an excellent traveller. (Except for an episode of carsickness on the drive from SB to Irvine. Um, YUCK!)