Diary, Sept. 5th: A not so perfect day

Today was not a perfect day

Which is sad, because it is Sam’s last day before he starts kindergarten. And he deserved a good day. Maybe not perfect. But good. And he didn’t get that.

We have this service through my work called LifeCare. When your normal daycare or school is closed or if your kid is sick, they will send a vetted and approved home health care aid to your house to watch your kid. It’s subsidized through work. It has saved my ass on so many occasions. It’s the best.

I called the service for today as there was no camp or daycare or anywhere for him to be. Usually, the women they send are wonderful and fun. Usually, I can work from home when they come so I can keep an eye on the situation. But we’re going on vacation next week and I have so much to do at the office. I had to work. Meanwhile, Nat’s work is currently trying to launch the app they’ve been developing for the past two years and he’s working nonstop.

We were in what they call “a bind.” So, Nat and I worked things out where I would go to work super early, he would meet with the random sitter, then go in later, and I would come home early-ish and work from home.

Not ideal, but doable.

But today the daycare worker they sent was perhaps the oldest women I’ve ever seen. I mean, maybe 85? Maybe close to death? I can’t even think about how old she was without giggling. It was almost comical.


Sam was fine. I asked him what happened and he said, “I watched a lot of TV. She didn’t move from the chair.”

When I asked the sitter how the day went, she said, in a very old-lady voice that she could barely get out, “Sam. He talks a lot. But I love him.”

(This is probably the most apt description of Sam I’ve ever heard. And also apt that she said she loved him. Everyone who meets him loves him.)

Luckily, my neighbor invited him over to play for a while (pic below) while I finished up work at home so at least he got out of the house. (We have relied so much this past week and a half with daycare closed and camp being over on the kindness of friends. I really don’t know what we would have done without them.)

Sam and his pre-k buddy (and neighbor) Mia who won’t be in his class (alas). 

There was also a play date of the kids who will be in his Kindergarten class today that he couldn’t go to because his babysitter could hardly walk.

And I’m sad. Because he’s a great kid but nervous about about kindergarten. He’s been nothing but terrific with his baby sister. So sweet, loving and kind. So nice with his friends. So easy-going with us brushing him off to helpful friends who will help us out while we try to juggle everything.

And I can’t help but think if my parents were ten years younger, they would have been here. They would have hung out with Sam and taken him to the playdate to meet some new friends so he wouldn’t be as anxious about tomorrow as he is. They would have been here to have breakfast with us, to walk him to school with us.

But they aren’t ten years younger. My dad is dead. My mom had a stroke in her eye and can’t see out of it and so she can’t really drive anymore (or at least drive on the NJ Turnpike).

It is what it is. We do the best we can.

Everyone does the best they can.

And I know it will be fine. But I can’t help but feel a little bit sad for my boy, who doesn’t really know what he’s missing. (I’m also miffed at the school system; why didn’t they start today, the day after Labor Day, after a fun three-day weekend with his family?)

But, there were bright spots to the day. My mom sent him a new pencil case in the mail with a sweet letter. His grandfather called. His cousin (who is in 7th grade) called and it was the sweetest thing. Their conversation went like this:

Sam: I’m nervous about Kindergarten.

Clemens: I was nervous too! I’m always nervous when I start a new grade. But remember: There are always opportunities to be found when you start somewhere new!

Sam later told me, “I need to report back to Clemens about the opportunities I’ve found at school.” (I don’t think he knows what “opportunities” means, which makes it all the cuter.)

We also had a “Sam-tastic” dinner, complete with cookies from CVS (his favorite).

We all do the best we can do.

Even if it’s just us and a very old random babysitter who was pretty close to death.

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