A couple of guys joined us at the back of the bus last week. Not entirely sober at 10am but friendly. "Look at the little man," the one on the aisle gestured to Ukiah. And they looked at Ukiah, apparently charmed by his "training to be a little man" posture. "Hey, you gonna be a lawyer?" Ukiah shook is head, politely. "No, really. What you gonna be? Cause if you a lawyer you ain't never gonna lose a case. I feel sorry for that district attorney, cause if you just smile, it's all over. You got a good smile, little man. How many cavities you got?"
Aslin pretended to sleep as Ukiah graciously nodded, smiled, met a high-five and turned to me for reassurance. "No cavities."
"See that?" the aisle man asked his window friend. "See, you got somebody who loves you. You know that? I want you to know..." Window man was unsuccessful in getting his friend to shut up or leave the nice kid alone. Aisle man continued, "Your mamma take a baseball bat to the back of the head for you." He smiled at me, approval of my parenting. "I'm not trying to be graphic, but she'd move right in at get hit for you... I'm just trying to tell you how much love you got...You guys all right..."
The unlikely family-support workers left the bus a few blocks before us.
More highlights from our recent weeks in the real world-
- A cross city walk from Belltown to Seattle Center, to Pike Place, to the International District, to a different bus to Ranier, where we walked to collect the truck from the shop.
- Meeting Rasta the rooster
- Cat sitting Suri
- Evaluating diversity in gaming and the Army's presence at PAX
- Pickin berries, apples, flowers and feeding goats
- Suffering through the "worst game of capture the flag ever"
- Turning down a dream job
- Helping Grandma move furniture, boxes and files
- Reserving a dozen manga titles at the library
- Cooking pizza, stuffed peppers and plum sauce
- A bike ride to the dog park
- Mowing the neighbor's yard
- Hosting a veteran of the 1st Gulf War, learning of his recently discovered uranium bone-poisoning
- Inventorying the My Little Pony and Magic card collections
- And a bad encounter with the doctor
This whole resumption of normal has proven challenging, especially as we opted not to return to our routines. Brad's making bloody ducks and severed limbs. My new job comes with Sounders tickets but with out a classroom. We're experiencing a prolonged/delayed broken heart in Clearwater's move out of town. I miss preschool and we all miss the staff discount on groceries. In two weeks Dawn and Kalin will move next door. And we've already eaten more than half our winter supply of blueberries.
Adding to the challenge and self-doubt of putting our lives back together, "well child" check-ups that included the question, "how long are you going to protect them from the real world?" Height, weight, blood pressure, spine check and "That's not a judgment, I respect home and alternative schooling, but why don't you just put them out there?"
I've been wondering what shape our lil' blog might take as we resume a settled life, not especially anxious to join the masses of family stories already floating around. In part because writing with our names attached, means censoring to protect the subjects and/or audience. And partly because with out the built-in drama of the trip of lifetime, what could there possibly be to say? Then I remembered that scenes from the real, day-to-day lives of ordinary people make some of my favorite stories.
So, I confirmed with the doctor that I did feel judged, not at all supported. I listed a half dozen of the kids' real world engagements and kindly told him, "don't fucking push me on this." My eloquent response would have sounded a little something like "I can talk educational philosophy and developmental psychology for hours, probably weeks and surely the rest of my life. You've only got about 5 minutes, so listen to the kids' lungs, answer their questions and offer me some resources, if you'd like." I think he heard my message even in its abbreviated form.
For the record, Ukiah's 5'3, Aslin 5'1.75. Both appear healthy despite my unwillingness to allow them to participate in the real world. Maybe because I'd take a bat to the head for either of them. I'm not trying to be graphic.