Thursday, June 14, 2012

6/14/12 Swim lessons

This is by far one of the best last-minute decisions I've ever made.

The day school ended, Tuesday, I was still trying to figure out what fun thing to do with them for the afternoon, when it struck me on the way to get them: swim! We've visited at this local pool before, as guests, but suddenly I decided to join. It's costly, but alas, choice often is. Now we don't have to depend on the kindness of friends or coordination to go.

And bonus -- they offer swim lessons. Most pools do, but never at times palatable for working parents ("how about, hmm, 10am on Tuesday?" -- uh, no!). So to my amazement, I was able to sign the kids up for swim lessons for several days in a row after work.

I never plan these things right, and when I do I mess it up -- so this couldn't have worked out better. The day after school ended, they started swim lessons, 5pm - 6:30pm, one half-hour private lesson each. Yay!

Gabriel isn't happy about this, but it turns out, not all was lost in the past. He actually kinda-sorta can swim.

I asked him to jump into the deep end and show me he can make it across, and sure enough, he could. He really needs to play there though, so he can broaden his skills.

Katrina of course is loving the swim lessons, and Julian too is going right along with it. My money is on him to be a strong swimmer when he gets the technique down, he strikes me as pretty natural in the water. But both boys mostly just want to annihilate each other with water guns.

I'm so happy that after swim lessons, this weekend we can actually go back to the pool and just play!

Nothing like a set of nice worn-out kids to make an evening better. Ahhhh...


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

6/12/12 The Moment

Tonight at dinner, somehow the subject of Grandpa Jim came up. The kids wanted to understand more about Alzheimer's and how it manifested itself, from not remembering that people have refrigerators to not being able to chew and swallow food. I explained that Grandpa Jim was in a wheelchair not because he couldn't walk, but because he'd lost his balance and would fall too much. I told them he was strong enough to walk through woods and leap over logs, but he'd get lost.....then I couldn't help it, I got choked up and started to cry quietly. To my amazement, the kids were all silent and just looked at me. Usually they seem to have no awareness at all of my emotional state.

Then I looked up at Gabriel, and was stunned to see tears in his eyes. "What's going on, Hugabug?" I asked him softly, using his babyhood nickname, and I reached my hand out to him. Gabriel choked out, "He'd have liked me...." and he started to cry. I hugged him right away and told him that absolutely, Grandpa Jim loved him.

I couldn't believe it -- my uber-tough cookie, my super-hard case ?! This kid surprises me all the time. He has all the same feelings we all do, they're just accessed differently and show up more unexpectedly.

I think more than anything, he was reacting to seeing me cry, and was rattled by it -- so I bucked up fast. I assured Gabriel again that Grandpa Jim loved him, and spent the next 10-15 minutes telling them stories about Grandpa Jim, his favorite things to do with kids, and how he reacted to his own grandchildren.

It was a remarkable, touching moment.

The truth is, my father was probably in mid-stage Alzheimer's by the time his oldest grandchildren were old enough to play with, but I talked it up as best I could -- and as only my dad could have done.
(June 2006)

I was expecting to blog about the last day of school and our afternoon at a neighborhood pool, but my son being sentimental totally took precedence.

The good news is, I'm writing while my sons are supposed to be cleaning up the kitchen -- I doubt they've gotten far, but I hear sounds of garbage being taken out. Between chores, being advanced to the next grade today, a fun afternoon playing in water, and seeing a rare soft side of my oldest son, I think I did OK today!

A few Last Day Of School photos.

They weren't cooperative this morning for me, until Dave got this one -- arguably the best one, except Katrina insisted on wearing her sweater and covering up her "varsity" T-shirt -- but this is the best of the poses, I think!

1st, 3rd and 5th grade -- it is going fast!


Sunday, June 10, 2012

6/10/12 The Ten Year Old Trip album

Did this in a Facebook album again. If you're not logged into a FB account, I don't think you can see it. But who doesn't have FB these days?! :)

The Ten-Year-Old Trip: Vancouver, B.C. May 2012