Summer is winding down, and I have to start thinking of all the prep for colder months. You read right: I’m organizing the garage again.
Life is just an accumulation of stuff, isn’t it? For some reason, I can send along clothes and shoes we no longer wear. I can hand-down dishes, pots and pans, small appliances. I have even, in my mission to downsize and pare down, passed along holiday decor that doesn’t make sense for us anymore. In the middle of that is left of all that sits a plastic crate I can never really address fully…
I opened it today. I admit to you that I was looking for old letters my dad wrote to me when he was still talking to me, and before e-mail became his medium. I found, among other things, letters and cards from people that, for the life of me, I have no idea who they are. I found greeting cards, postcards, notes and post-its. And I found dad’s letters.
I read everything else, but those I simply put aside and tied with a rubber band. I will deal with them later. I can’t do it right now.
Instead I focused on the kids’ old papers from school. Drawings, scribblings, certificates of recognition, doodles. I found all of J’s comm books from his first year of school. I found notes the teacher sent attached to hand-over-hand work he’d done. We were all so excited!
I found school pictures that document J’s development from a cute waif-like creature to the strapping young man he is now. I found the first one with a hint of mustache. I found the first one where he was absolutely terrified of the camera and is cowering. I found the one where he agreed to wear a long-sleeve polo shirt, and the one where his hair did the Alfalfa thing.
I framed three of the photos and showed it to J. He smiled at himself. It took him a moment to recognize the skinny kid with the bright mile and the spiked up hair, but he knows it him. And he knows these are school pictures, and he knows he’s not going back. Yesterday, in preparation for our short vacation trip in a few weeks, I went looking for a backpack I can use, and J didn’t want me to get one…because it’s the sort of thing that reminds him of school.
We have started introducing the subject of this trip we’re taking. The place will be familiar, and we’ve chosen the same hotel we used the last time. Our itinerary will be simple. We will see what we really, really, REALLY want to see first, and then -when J decides he’s done- we’ll follow his lead. We’ve been researching places where he might enjoy eating, and we’re packing our comfortable walking shoes. We will be ready for whatever adventure J is inclined to pursue, and for whatever he’s not.
Yesterday he wanted to go to the movies. This was a slightly tricky proposition because J is not the kind of individual who can go to watch the same movie several times AT THE THEATER. At home he can watch the same thing over and over and over and over, but the theater is usually a one-shot deal. Since we’d been to Kubo last week (have you seen it yet?) we were at a loss. Our calendar reminded us that The King and I would be showing at the local theater so off we went to watch it.
If you’ve read this blog before you know that J is a fan of musicals. Most of them, of course, he was experienced at home, and we all know that’s just not the same thing. Yesterday he got to watch Yul Brynner and Deborah Kerr on the big screen. It was a treat for him. He was so happy! Not only are the songs familiar, but he could see all the details much more clearly. I have to confess that we had a wonderful time, too. I am, after all, the girl who understood romance from seeing Yul Brynner reach for Deborah Kerr’s waist before twirling her around the floor with careless abandon. (Yes…I sighed out loud and, says Dada, I squeaked…)
Today we are in “I have a cold” mode, and I think it’s more a matter of “I want to sit on the couch and be cuddly with you, mother” than anything else. The weather, though, HAS started changing and J now wants his flannel sheets when he makes his bed, and he has plugged in his electric throw. He hasn’t turned it on yet, but it’s ready just in case. Regardless of the temperature outside, he feels a change in the air, and our resident chipmunk running around gathering food is a clear indication that summer is winding down.
So it’s back to the garage and the bins for me. And looking for a backpack or such is necessary, too. Post-school life goes on and we are happily realizing that we’re all moving forward…some us limping…some of us bouncing…but forward is that way, and that’s the way we’re going…