Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Graduate

This past week, Asher went through what we hope is the first of many graduation ceremonies, this one at Hunter Woods Cooperative Preschool. There was the appropriate pomp and circumstance, as each of the kids got their little certificates and told their wonderful teacher what they wanted to be when they grow up. For the record, Asher wants to be a doctor. (Oy! We'll be working till we're 90.)

It was a short ceremony, and to paraphrase a line in one of President's Obama's campaign speeches, you're SUPPOSED to graduate from preschool, but I couldn't help but feel a tinge of emotion. I think it was the sudden realization that this was the end of something. Yes, the kids have plenty to look forward to as they go on to kindergarten and beyond. But they would never be all together in this classroom again.

Same goes for the parents. The funny thing about a co-op preschool, you can't help but get to know the kids and the parents. If it had been a school where you just drop off and pick up the kids, I never would have seen the mix of eclectic personalities. I never would have had interesting conversations (in multiple languages) with the moms and dads. And I probably wouldn't be arranging play dates.

So it wasn't till that moment, when everyone had their certificates in hand and the teacher said her final remarks, that I fully understood what the school's matriarch meant when she told me once that the end of preschool is probably harder on the parents.

And that's a great credit to her and her staff. It was a fascinating two years, a time filled with countless memories that will last a lifetime. We are forever grateful.

On a side note, I also was part of the ceremony. Mercifully, I didn't completely mortify Asher. (Sorry for the odd angle; that's how it downloaded.)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Week In Review

Monday: Asher and I attended kindergarten orientation. I expected to see a classroom or two, meet a teacher and then leave, but instead I walked into a huge auditorium full of staff, parents and kids. Asher had a split second of panic when the kids were dismissed to various classrooms, but quickly recovered when he saw friends from his preschool. I couldn't get over how different Asher's school experience will be from my own. In my little elementary school, there was a principal, school counselor and the teachers. At his orientation, I was introduced to a principal, vice principal, a school counselor and school psychologist, physical therapist, occupational therapist, speech therapist, social worker, and parent liaison. Apparently, you aren't allowed to talk to the administration, but have to go through a middle man. Asher will have "specials" including the ones I had as a student....p.e., music, art, library.....but also movement, computer lab, and science lab. There are computers all over his classroom. There is a huge garden in the back of the school that all the kids are responsible for. In the third grade, he will take violin and then pick an instrument for subsequent grades. I think our classroom finally got a computer in the sixth grade and we rocked the recorders in music class. Science lab? I didn't see one of those until high school.

Tuesday: It is officially crunch time at my office. Only a month until we launch this year's summer program. Work was much more fun and stress-free in say....February. I also got word that I get to stay on through the fall and launch our after-school robotics program to area schools. I really do have a cool job.

Wednesday: I officially found out Noe's teacher won't be returning next year. It was tough. There were tears. I felt like she was breaking up with me. After I nominated you for that special education award and organized that great Christmas gift you are LEAVING me for another school district? How could you? I am kidding, sort-of. She is still a wonderful person and I hope we can still be friends.

Thursday: I visited with a woman who fled Iraq with her family two years ago and has been struggling to make a life in the U.S. A friend and I are going to try and help her locate some resources and find a part-time job. I feel a little overwhelmed about adding anything else to my overflowing plate, but I am very drawn to this woman. She misses her own country but is trying very hard to make a good life here. I can relate to her in a small way. I kind-of felt like I was living in Queens again for those couple of hours rather than snotty NoVA. That part felt good.

Friday: Ed's first official Friday night off. In the ten years that I've been with him, he's never had Friday nights off from work with any sort of regularity. After dinner, we took the kids to Lake Anne to listen to live jazz and watch the boats on the lake. I decided that we're in the market for a canoe....but probably not until next year. How much fun would that be? We also hiked around the lake and got minimal complaints from the Anti-Hiker (Asher). Then we went out for ice cream.

Saturday: Asher asked me THE QUESTION. He has had lots of friends, and a cousin, become big brothers and sisters lately, so it's been on his mind. I thought I had handled it him honest, but not graphic answers. Until just before bed when he asked if "you and Papi" could go into the kitchen tomorrow and make a baby brother. Apparently, to Asher, making babies is a lot like making cookies.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Reston Art Festival

Our little Asher Lev, Reston Arts Festival May 2010

Friday, May 14, 2010

Happy Mother's Day to Me!

I'm just not into jewelry or flowers or most of the traditional Mother's Day gifts. A diamond may
last forever but it won't help you get your laptop to work while riding a bicycle. (And with some style, too).

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Thanks, Mom

Thanks, Mom....for the hundreds of hours you spent driving me and sitting through my activities and sporting events. All of the things I truly love to do now.....playing sports, biking, reading.....are passions you helped develop in me as a young child.

Thanks, Mom...for making dinner every night and insisting we have a family prayer and eat together. I do believe that it is one reason we are still a close family. It is something I am trying hard to do with my own family, and it is tiring and stressful, but ultimately worth it, I know.

Thanks, Mom....for keeping me safe. You had such a good "bad guy sniffer" and knew exactly which situations had the potential to expose us to abuse. Yet, I never felt sheltered and always had the run of the neighborhood.

Thanks, Mom....for going back to school when we were little and getting your college degree. It taught me the importance of a college education in very concrete ways. I still remember how I loved to thumb through your textbooks and try to imagine what college was like, and how Dad would drive us all downtown every Thursday evening to pick you up from class.

Thanks, Mom...for not giving up on me as a teenager. I know I was awful.

Thanks, Mom.....for giving me permission to take some time off from college after a particularly traumatic semester (even though you probably knew I wouldn't do it). You always knew to be soft with me, because I was plenty hard on myself.

Thanks, Mom....for showing true strength after Dad passed away. You taught me that every tragedy holds a tremendous potential for growth and learning, and that you can find happiness in an unexpected path.

Thanks, Mom....for braving New York City to be there for the birth of my boys. It was extra special sharing it with you. (And thanks for passing along the short labor & delivery gene to me, too!)

Thanks, Mom....for all of your support with Noe's autism. I feel like you know what I'm going through better than just about anyone.

Thanks, Mom.....for everything you are, and everything you have done for me. I love you!

Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 7, 2010

What's On Our Minds.....

"I will not kick a hole in the wall of the newsroom if the Lakers lose tomorrow. I will not...." -Ed

"When do your parents leave again?" -Jen

"Do you think my caterpillars will turn into butterflies tomorrow?" -Asher
(sidenote: they've been dead in their jam jar home sitting on his dresser for over a week)

"These people are such fools.....all I have to do is use my signs and they will give me ANYTHING!" -Noe