I've seen your photos.
I've seen your signs of which grade your child is going in and the favorite color of your little one.
I've read the moving sentiments about wiping the tears from your child's eyes as they climb on the big bus.
I've seen Target on steroids with pencils and lunch boxes (serving as place holder for luming Christmas items).
I've seen the buses making their dutiful rounds to learn their new routes.
I am well aware of the changing of seasons and the closing of the summer chapter. And I plead... Against my sanity, exhausted patience, unpleasant boy-battles, relentless messes and consistent bickering...
'Summer, Please don't go!'
Last week, our preschool had Parent Night Clean Up. I didn't mind, knowing it was a chance to immerse myself in our boys' playrooms. I can see first hand the space they will learn and grow. I will know the toys, the books, the manipulatives, the cubby for their ski gear... I also welcome the opportunity to get to know the other families and teachers that will morph my children's school year.
But it was a rude awakening... After having the summer OFF.
Team Richter not only took the summer off from writing; we also took the summer off from:
- Breathing treatments
- Sickness and
This summer, We could just be.
While Fall has ALWAYS been my favorite season, this summer surpassed any anticipation for cool, crisp mornings and Halloween (yes, my close friends, I dare say this summer surpassed my excitement for Halloween).
This summer, we spent six weeks basking in sunshine, salt walter and family on the east coast. Homesick for the Carolinas, the boys and I returned to Colorado only to learn that Colorado summers are rich with sunshine, new friends, outdoor activities and limitless adventures amidst the great city of Denver and calling mountains.
Now, there was a fleeting moment last week when my children, adorned in soiled clothing, tears streaming, my face flushed with intolerance when my husband looked at me and said, "Candace, maybe it's time you go back to work." while our kids divided the room with their time out chairs, surrounded by play doh-covered-Legos smeared from the carpet to ceiling and everywhere in between.
You know the scene.
I quickly turned defensive assuming he was applying 'I couldn't handle it' (which of course I couldn't in that moment). But retaliated with the mature response (fists gripped and there may have been a mild stomp), "Sounds good to me!".
(I blush now, as I type in honesty).
Stubbornness aside, Michael and I both know how fortunate we are to have one parent at home - no matter how hard it is and how often I may unravel at the seams.
So on this 'Preschool Clean Up Night' I dutifully fulfilled my obligation to our lovely preschool to help get their classrooms ready for the start of school. I enthusiastically embraced the chalkboard walls, sensory tables and magical sensation that overwhelms me as I walk through the doors of our 100 year old brick schoolhouse. I climbed the stairs to the 'big boy classrooms' to scrub legos and manipulatives for my son entering PreK.
This is the way it should be, right? Filled with pride for how big your child has become and excitement for all the adventures and growth on the school year horizon.
Next, I made my way to the 3's class and met the tender eyes of the super special teacher that will have Shaw this year. (I know first hand she is extrodinary, because Nash had the privilege of being in her class last year and her heart... it is pure).
Immediately, my eyes swelled with tears. I know I have to tell her.
I know I have to have 'The Talk'.
The 'Medical Talk' prior to the first day of school
And it wrenches me back to reality....
God, how I have loved our summer bubble!
Our lacksidasical summers erase the worries of cold and flu season. We are loving our children and not wondering if they are keeping up (developmentally) with their peers. We are just Team Richter - without a history, writing a new chapter. We worry less. We laugh more. We swim and scoot and dig and get dirty and bike and live this world without medical concerns.
Summer has become a limitless utopia to us.
I just am not ready yet...
I couldn't hide my tears from Shaw's new teacher and to avoid the embarrassment (not wanting to fall apart all together), I told Shaw's teacher that I need to think about what I want to say about his medical history - and then cowardly, I said I would 'email her' because I didn't think I could speak it without crying.
I called Michael when I got to the car. Through the sobs, I discovered the root of my concern, only through hearing myself say it.
I can't protect him.
I have to let him go.
While no one wants anyone to fall and break their arm or hurt themselves. (Of course, I don't want that for Nash either!!!)
The difference is, I can harbor anxiety for letting go of two little, rough and tumble boys. I can accept they will climb and swing and race beyond my comfort limits. I can curb my urge to 'spot' them as they navigate unchartered territories. I secretly pinch myself to remind myself 'They are boys!! They are learning. They will be fine.'
But I am having a really hard time turning off the visions of when Shaw falls, it could mean a brain surgery.
Or when Shaw's neighbor at the sensory table sneezes on his face, this may trigger a week of praying our son's lungs are strong enough to avoid intubation.
Some of this I'm sure is attributed to PTSD. It is real and when you live it with your child, you can't be ashamed. Sitting on their hospital bed and praying fervently for them to heal is very real - and also living in this preemie community where we are all too aware that some children do not come home.... Sometimes It is challenging to stay in the 'They will be fine' state when there is so much at risk.
I'm also learning another personal weakness...
Holy cow - I am controlling (no snickers from those of you that knew this long before I was willing to say it aloud). I find comfort in protecting my child(ren). I will gradually let them explore and gain independence, but I'm okay with doing that at our own pace. (So - judge and sue me).
I've said this before - but once you come so close to losing your child - it is especially hard to let them go.
But - against my will - that is exactly what I'm planning to do tomorrow.
I wish there was a book to tell me how or someone that could bullet how to empower your children through your own fears. Interestingly enough, I'm meeting with a new ABM Practioneer in a few weeks who has a talent in Storytelling through Eastern Medicine. She is going to work with me on an age-appropriate fable to share with our family - about the heroes our children are to have overcome so much and be loved by so many. Reintegrating that our boys can do anything and the lives they have inspired along the way.
So tonight, I am indebted for our blissful, healthy, worry-free summer and swallow the protruding bulge in my throat and hastily wipe away those fearful tears of tomorrow and I do what God taught me those first few months of Shaw's life:
To Believe and to Let Go!
|Lowe Brothers welcoming us to the Carolinas|
|Original playgroup (+285 more children)|
|Visiting Nana & MPUMC (home)|
|Visiting our beloved Drs & Nurses in NC|
|Bebo + water slides. Is there anything better?|
|Sunrises at the beach = my favorite|
|My favorite people (- one)|
|Richter and Kane Brothers reunite in the Carolinas|
|Bebo & the boys|
|Shaw has major dance moves|
|Visiting the Yorktown (you won't believe me, but I was really into it - the kids' heads almost exploded).|
|I am certain there are photos of me with these same cannons at their age|
|Old (and I mean OLD friends) :)|
|The leader of this ship and a mentor in life - Janie Reynolds & clan|
|Nonnie & Papa welcome us to HHI|
|Look at these two... H. O. T.|
|Date night from the Boathouse. Ahhhhhhhhhh.|
|4th of July bike parade. Oh - and don't you doubt it. |
We went home winning 1st Place blue ribbon (in the 'Other' category).
|Introducing my husband and brother-in-law to paddle board yoga may go down in history as one of the times I've laughed the loudest and longest in my life.|
|Michael and our nephew, Graylin at sunset. This date of 3 did not disappoint!|
|Boys, meet the Broncos.|
|Swan Mt. Road. Biking Lake Dillon|
|Jazz in City Park|
|ugh. Back to CO. Sleep Study. Just a mere blip in the summer.|
|Smores & mud & dung... what could be a better camping experience?|
|Ghost stories by the camp fire... Riveting.|
|Hiking in Boulder - WELCOME BACK TO CO!|
|Avett Brothers @ Red Rocks.|
|Wrapping up summer in Vail with our Paddington friends, Betsy & Bart :)|