Thursday, September 08, 2005

The Fresh Air of Another Beginning

This is a good time to give you a peek into the personal side of this blog (as promised) because this week has been a landmark for my family. It's the kind of week that reminds you that you're mortal. No matter what, the only constant is change.

Ava, my daughter, that cute little two year old you may have seen at the end of some of the workout videos on the beach in Kauai saying "Beachbody... dot commmm," is now five. And this is her first week of kindergarten. [Begin singing "and the circles, they go round and round and the painted ponies go up and down..."]

First let me say that, taking a kid to elementary school in Malibu is surreal. Dodging the line of Hummers, BMW's and Escalades as they all jockey for the best parking spots in order to drop off their precious forty pound cargos, all serenaded by a chorus of seagulls celebrating the faint crash of the morning tide, well, it's not the same way I experienced kindergarten:

I distinctly remember my fears as I approached Montgomery Elementary for day one. Something scary was in that giant building; People I did not know. That fear was only validated when the game of the day became "kill the new kid with the bad hair" (me). I quickly decided that being an ambitious loner was my path for least pain.

But not so for Ava. Not this week. Not this kid. She took to the social challenge of meeting new kids in this new school like a Hilton sister walking into a South Beach night club. (She gets the social skills from mom, Tricia.) Then it was bring on the math. Bring on the spelling. Bring on the puppet show (picture above). Ava was a natural.

Within the first ten minutes of her orientation Ava was over in the dress up area. First it was princess. Then executive chef. Finally hero firefighter. This wasn't school - it was a new stage!

Tricia noted that most of the kids we saw made this transition into kindergarten pretty easily. It was the emotional parents outside that reminded you that this was a milestone. And yes, in the back of our minds we were all thinking something along the same theme; that in fact, some day all these cherubs would turn 16. Can't we keep them this size? Can't we trim them back like Bonzai trees and enjoy their innocence forever? Guess not.

It was a beginning for me too, as I spent twenty minutes learning what a PTA is, and trying to avoid getting roped into M/W/F morning traffic duty (although the orange vest did have strong appeal). I managed to stay on plan, volunteering to help raise money so the school has what it needs for a well-rounded program and to help beef up the PE program, possibly with the help of visits from some fitness experts (whom you know and whom I am lucky enough to consider friends).

Professionally and personally, I enjoy new challenges. This chapter looks to be a good one. And perhaps over the course of the next twelve years I will finally learn what calculus was really all about. (And that periodic table. What on earth was that thing for?) This is my chance to pay attention, and go through it with Ava.

That's what this week was for me, the fresh air of another beginning.


Mary Cecy said...

Carl, Ava and Tricia, Congrats and welcome to the world of the school years. Cherish them as much as you can. Yes, volunteer also. You will take the best years and before you know it, she is going to be on her way to college. I know first hand as my first born son is in College this year. Cecy started 5th and Benny 3rd.

I remember pre-school with Ray... a kiss, a hug and a "see you later after school mom. Don't worry I will be fine." Now I did the same but for college. Thank God for email. Otherwise my poor phone bill will be going thru the roof.

So tell Ava to have a great year and enjoy Kindergarten. Life will only get better. She is a natural, from the beginning.

Carl... it will get better. You will learn school all over and don't be surprise at how much faster things go now a days. Multiplications and cursive by 3rd grade. It will be so much fun!!!

Take lots of pics and video. I know you and Tricia are going to definitely enjoy your SUPERSTAR and Heroine!

XO Mary

TuxBaby said...

I remember that so well!! Probably because my youngest just started Kindergarten 3 weeks ago (yes, in TX we started in mid-August!!).

It's such a proud and bittersweet moment, when your baby goes off to school and doesn't even look back. You guys will do great as involved parents. I've found myself co-coaching my son's soccer team yet again- but it's all totally fun.

Not the first of many childhood milestones, and surely not in any way the last.


Anonymous said...

Breathe deeply, Daddy, it is just the beginning!

I am not far from you in this new "season" of life, but I have the distinct joy of teaching my Micah at home. It is a wonder to see her go from a curious 5 to an "I've done that before, Mama!" six. Her capacity for knowlege astounds me!

Watching the learning process is amazing, even from day one (and that includes our learning as parents to let that apron string stretch a little)! So, congrats to you and Tricia on surviving the first week of school (remember when you survived the first week of parenthood?!), and tell Ava to go for it every chance she gets! Kindergarten rocks!!!


Anonymous said...


Hi! I read your blog daily, and wasn't sure if I would ever post anything in reply to your posts, even though I do agree with alot of what you write. But today's post about Ava hits home, because my husband and I, too, sent our 5-yr-old son off to Kindergarten this week. It is very surreal, and strange at the same time.

I can completely relate to the thoughts and feelings that you are going through. While gently nudging your children to grow up, they cleverly cause us to grow ourselves.

Angela Willis (AngelaW)

Anonymous said...

I too can relate to your emotions at this time. I dropped off "my baby" at college this week. Take it from one who knows, they grow up too darned fast! Enjoy every precious moment with them

DivaM said...

Carl, Our fourth child (Avery) started Kindergarten in August. She is loving it! Having them enjoy this experience makes it so much more bearable for us as parents. Knowing that she has the confidence to tackle her day with a great attitude makes all the difference in the world!

It sounds like you three are going to have a fun year! Thanks for sharing those thoughts with us!

Child number five (Ethan) will start Kinder either next year or the year after. Yes, I do wish we could clip them back like bonzais! We are blessed to be in a position to participate in it with them as often as we like. These are fun years and they fly by fast! Enjoy it!!

Blessings, Diva

HannahRNSWAMIMOMMY said...

Thanks for sharing Carl. Sounds like life has been pretty exciting for you this past month. I have 3 kiddos of my own 11, 3, and 3. One of the 3 year olds is getting ready to turn 4 though. :)
Your little girl is a doll! Hope she has a wonderful year!