Even the News Is In French

Spiral perm, fanny pack, white Keds. Paris 1990

Spiral perm, fanny pack, white Keds.

The first time I went to Paris was in May 1990. The week after graduating from Wesleyan, about 20 sisters and I, led by a intrepid professors, took a trip to London. The adventure was the brainchild of Dr. Darlene Mettler, professor of English literature and 100% Anglophile. She taught us to wear a raincoat over our grubby clothes when attending the theater, and to pack grubby clothes for travel so they could just be tossed out to make more room in the bag for souvenirs. After 10 days in England under Dr. Mettler’s wing, four of us decided to hop over to Paris instead of going back home with the rest of the bunch.

Wanda and Mary were full-fledged adults, with jobs and mortgages and such. Constance and I were newly minted graduates. Constance is on the shy side. I am not. But I cried in silent panic in the back of our black cab as we left Dr. Mettler and our friends on the sidewalk in London and our driver took us towards the station for the boat-train.

WHAT WAS I THINKING????  Of the four of us, I was the only one who spoke any French and it seemed to have all dissolved on my tongue. Not a one of us had ever been to France. We didn’t even have a hotel lined up. Who was letting us do this????

Oh. Wait. We were the adults. We were in charge. I took a deep breath and remembered Dr. Mettler’s #1 rule for travel: Be Deliberate. Don’t worry about everything–focus on the next thing then the next then the next.

We made it onto the ferry. We watched the white cliffs of Dover slip away into the West. We landed in Caen and boarded the train. I started to relax because we were Doing It. Out the window, the French countryside whipped by in a parade of church steeples, late spring fields, tiny cars, and country lanes lined with poplar trees. In my heart, I thought, “This looks JUST LIKE FRANCE!” Because, you know…France! I had been looking at pictures of France my whole life–in World Book encyclopedias, art history classes, and World War II movies. I was delighted to discover that France looked just like France.

My nerves came back when the train pulled into the Gare du Nord in Paris. We gathered our bags and shuffled in a tight pack through the throngs of people. For 10 days, we had been world travelers in a country that still sounded like home. But now? We were plunged into the gabble of a busy train station with ears still filled with English.

We found a tourist information booth where the multi-lingual attendant scratched an address on a white square of paper. Hotel du Delta seemed to have the last affordable room in the 1st arrondissment. Using her crude map, we found our way there.

In 1990, it was kind of a given that everyone in Europe hated Americans. Maybe not hated, but they were pretty tired of us stomping around in our white shoes and fanny packs. I had read that we should tell people we were Canadian instead. Slick, huh? As we walked into the rather time-worn lobby of the Hotel du Delta, my three traveling companions shoved me to the front of the pack as the interpreter.

“Parlez vous anglais?” I asked the man behind the desk. He shook his head and flapped his hand at me and turned away. This was not going as smoothly as my French 101 textbook had led me to expect. All four of us exchanged worried looks. This was the last hotel room in Paris.

Right before I fainted with panic on the threadbare carpet, a teenage boy in a red Adidas track suit came out from the office. “Hi! You need English?” What a relief! He started our reservation and the other man lit a cigarette and watched over his shoulder.

“Where you from?”

“We’re Canadian.”

“Oh…what part of Canada?”

I froze. I looked at Mary, whose eyebrows shot up so fast they disappeared into her hairline. I looked at Wanda, who looked right back at me.

I couldn’t remember which part of Canada spoke French. I looked back at the teenage boy and said, “Ummm….Edmonton?”

He laughed. “You Americannes, yeah?” We confessed. His family was from Egypt. He spoke Arabic, French, English, and a little German. I was so nervous at that point that my English was starting to fade.

We made it up four flights of curling stairs to our rooms. We marveled at the bidet. We flung open the windows to see a scene straight out of a Hollywood lot: a narrow street, a shop selling oranges, and a painter sitting in a window to catch the light. I started to hum Edith Piaf.

La Vie en Rose, Paris street scene

La Vie en Rose

That night, on my broken French and a lot of good will, we managed to buy ourselves a picnic, make it to the top of the Eiffel Tower, and make it back to the Hotel du Delta where we finished off the last of the wine (which was about $2 a bottle with the exchange rate). We were IN PARIS, doing Parisy things! All on our own!

The next morning, my adrenaline left and the $2 wine headache took its place. I didn’t like going down the hall to pee. I didn’t like the noise that came through the old windows. I didn’t like the lumpy bed. I didn’t like having to clumsily translate every word for everyone. I was exhausted, mentally and emotionally. But PARIS awaited.

We went down for “continental breakfast.” Instead of the English pot of tea, bowl of marmalade, and rack of warm toast that we had grown to love, we found a tired baguette and coffee with grease floating on top. I don’t even drink coffee…but PARIS. I sat in silence with my friends as we gnawed on yesterday’s bread and kept our English to ourselves.

The owner of the hotel, who had waved me off the day before, came into the breakfast room and flipped on the television that hung in the corner. I perked up at the familiar sound of static, the ritual of listening to the morning headlines. When the channel came in and the man turned up the volume, my disgusted little 21-yr-old sheltered American heart thought:

DAMMIT. EVEN THE NEWS IS IN FRENCH! How does anyone know what’s going on?

Then I laughed at myself. Of course the news was in French. Much of France speaks French, all day every day. As I sat there chuckling at my own provincialism, something in my small sheltered heart cracked open and I got a little closer to The World.

I drank my coffee with the pearlescent swirls of grease on top. I wiped enough fresh butter on that baguette to choke a goat. I checked my fanny pack one last time then went out to see more of Paris. Where they speak French, to this day. Even when I am there! Traveling always reminds me that the place I grew up in is not the center of the world.

This was the last photo I took on that trip to Paris in 1990. As we waited at the station for the train back to England, I saw a soldier and a priest standing beside each other in the same posture, soaking up the morning sun.

Gare du Nord Paris

Gare du Nord

I tell this story today because my heart hurts for the people of Nice, who gathered to celebrate Bastille Day but ended up fleeing for their lives. I just wanted to say, “Je suis désolé. Nous sommes avec y’all.”

 

 

Sunset With the God of Horses

Poseidon was the god of the sea, earthquakes, and horses. All the things that thunder. The things that shake the ground beneath us and remind us that we can be moved.

Wild horses on Cumberland Island, Georgia.

Wild horses on Cumberland Island, Georgia.

Tonight, when I went walking along the sand bar at sunset, I remembered that title “Sunset With the God of Horses.” I started this post last summer, on the night my sister sounded the alarm about how sick Daddy really was. How he wasn’t going to magically get better with some rest and the right care. How Big Gay had been holding on with all she had but she needed help. Last summer, on that sad and confusing day, I took a walk by myself onto the sand bar at Saint Simons Island at sunset to think.

The waves of the rising tide raced each other to the sand. A long time ago, Richard and I took a small boat from Mykonos to the holy island of Delos. I looked out over the dark blue swells of the Aegean Sea and understood for the first time why the god of the sea would also be the god of horses–the movement of the water looked just like the stretching necks of a herd of running horses. Raw power, thundering out ahead of itself.

And here I sat, missing Richard because he was the only other person in the world who remembered that boat ride on that day. How was I going to live in a world without my dad too? The curve of the sand bar and the beach created a narrower inlet that penned in the waves. They clambered over each other, but by the time they reached the shore, they had sorted themselves into regular shapes, like the scalloped lace on a little girl’s collar.

These were the things I tried to think about so that I wouldn’t think about my father dying.

When I was little, I wanted a pony just as desperately as most little girls do. And it seemed like it shouldn’t be all that hard. My dad was a veterinarian. We lived in the corner of a pasture. There was grass EVERYWHERE for a pony to eat. What was the holdup?

One day, we showed up at my dad’s clinic, and lo and behold, there stood a little spotted grey and white pony in the paddock. Daddy called it a “Pony of the Americas” but all I heard was “blah blah PONY.” One of his clients had turned it over to him as payment on a bill.

Can you imagine what my heart did at the sight of that little horse? Daddy said it was a good cow horse. He got up on it and roped a couple of the calves in the pen. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. My boring old Daddy, who came home every night and collapsed in a chair to read spy novels and fart–riding and roping! Who was this person who could do stuff that we never heard a peep about at home?

Well. We didn’t get to keep the pony. Daddy took it to the sale barn the next week and sold it off for cash money, which we needed way more than we needed a pony.

That night on the sandbar at sunset, I couldn’t get that little pony out of my mind. That little pony allowed me to see a part of my dad I never knew. I saw him rope calves and flip steers in the air like it was nothing. He had this whole other life, of powerful things, that I knew nothing about. That’s what I was thinking about on the sand bar. What else would I never know about my father? Now that we found ourselves at sunset. Sunset and the god of horses.

I sat there by myself and I cried a few tears for the confusion of it all. The end of his life, coming like the relentless waves. The things he had given me, like my love of stories. The things he hadn’t been able to give me, like that pony. All flying away in the wind. All heading to the silent lands in the west, like the setting sun.

Endings and leavings. Here I am a year later, standing beside the ocean with the same questions in my heart.

The Narrowest Strip of Land

I’d have worn a nicer baseball cap if I’d known we were going to be in someone’s engagement pictures. G played in the surf with the kids, right under the tower of pink and coral clouds that held the last light of sunset. Waves crashed all around us and the wind blew so high that puffs of froth flew off the tips of the waves and skittered down the beach.

Bunch of nuts.

Bunch of nuts.

I waved to G with my cup full of rum drink and pointed down the beach about thirty yards to a young couple locked in a tight hug. They were enclosed by a semicircle of beaming family. Every woman held a cell phone pointed straight at the happy couple…and us.

The young man must have planned it with all of their help. Each person wore beachy dress clothes, like they had just come from dinner and wanted to get some sunset photos on the sand. Only problem was…there wasn’t much sand. Certainly not enough for their family and our family and the magic moment that was supposed to happen in a picture perfect way. The sunset that the young groom-to-be had imagined coincided with a new moon high tide that thundered right up to the trash cans and the boardwalk steps. As we’ve all heard for a thousand years, “Time and tide wait for no man.”

So while their family tried to act casual, the young man led the young woman down onto the narrow strip of sand that hadn’t yet been eaten by the incoming waves. He handed her a letter and she stood there in the whipping wind trying to read it, keep her hair out of her mouth, and focus on this important moment…all with twelve people standing in a grinning circle and two strange children (mine, ahem) who decided to act out a scene from Paw Patrol nearby.

All was joy a few moments later, when she said yes and everyone jumped up and down and then they took photos in the last light of Their Engagement Day.

The narrowest strip of land

The happy couple, their happy family, some trash cans and my son.

I got engaged under a pink sky just like that one once upon a time. And the ground was being eaten beneath our feet on that day, too, but we pressed on towards what would be.

G clapped loudly for the young couple and gave them two thumbs up. He walked over to me and we held hands for a moment before he went back to herding the kids. I had to laugh, even though the sound of it disappeared into the wind and waves. Ten hours earlier, we had stood in the driveway and had a screaming match so loud that Carlos had walked out into the garage and said, “Enough with the arguing!”

For three days, I had been packing and prepping and then G had the gall that morning to roll his eyes and say, “Why are we taking all this shit?” Within 10 minutes, I was moving stuff from his car to my car and he had decided he wasn’t even GOING on vacation….yadda yadda yadda. We apologized to each other, explained to the kids that we were using our words to express our feelings, and that it’s totally normal to have disagreements. We all had a big group hug right there in the driveway then got back to the business of living as a family.

Who could resist that face?

Who could resist that face?

Watching that young couple starting out, with their fancy plans for how this Important Moment was supposed to go–sunset proposal on a pristine beach–I had to laugh at the reality of it. Sunset proposal next to the trash can at high tide with a wind so fierce she can barely hang on to the letter you wrote so carefully, the letter with all your hopes and dreams and love for each other.

What I would tell them is that they had all they needed, even if the details weren’t going as planned. Marriage is the narrowest strip of land. Just enough to stand beside each other while the vast ocean nips at your toes and the wind drowns out all that you would say to each other. Stay strong on the narrowest strip of land. The tide will turn. The moon with ease up. The sun will rise on another day.

Marriage Proposal, St Simon's Island

 

Stand Up! Sit Down! Fight, Fight, Fight!

I promised a 10 day check in on that post about passing some common sense gun laws after the massacre in Orlando. Yes, it’s been 14 days. As it has been for most of this year, I wrote then I got an attack of the “Who do you think you are” virus. Right now, I’m forcing myself to write so that voice will be drowned out by the sound of a keyboard clickety clacking.

Two weeks later, I’m still mad, but I feel better because I’m doing some small things to make my opinion clear on common sense gun regulations.

An Old Cheer

My school did a cheer that went something like this:

Lean to the left…

Lean to the right…

Stand up!

Sit down!

FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT!

Those words came back to me over the last two weeks when I saw what people are starting to do to curb gun violence.

Stand Up: The Democratic Filibuster

Senator Chris Murphy really got things going for me when he began a filibuster on the floor of the Senate to call for a bill on closing the loophole that allows people on the terrorist “no fly” list to buy a gun. For almost fifteen hours, he held the floor and used the platform to tell the stories of his district and the horrors unleashed there at Sandy Hook Elementary School. All evening, I watched with pride for the elegant democratic process in my country as senators offered questions and statements in support. A filibuster is a clever thing when used to deliver actual content, not to run out the clock with Green Eggs and Ham.

Like thousands of other citizens, I called my representatives to make it clear that I was in support of common sense gun regulations. I added that I want the CDC to be allowed to research gun violence as a public health crisis (they haven’t received funding for that in decades).

filibuster

 

The filibuster worked…kind of. Senate Republicans agreed to hear four bills. Of the four bills that were put up for vote, none passed. Voting went straight down party lines.

From the filibuster, I learned that we need to be paying just as much attention to the “other” elections in 2016 as we are to the presidential election. When you look at the graphic below, remember that these are direct donations–the numbers don’t include advertising dollars spent by the NRA in favor of a candidate or against a candidate’s opponent.

NRA donations

Sit Down: #GoodTrouble

Sometimes you have to put yourself in the way to get noticed. I was downright tickled when Georgia’s own Representative John Lewis showed the House how it’s done. As a young activist, Lewis organized sit-ins in Nashville to protest segregated lunch counters.

lewis tweet

Again, they asked for a VOTE. The majority party sets the legislative agenda in each house of our Congress. In a Republican controlled government, all they have to do is say “No.” No vote will be taken, no bill will be discussed, no law will be passed. No. No. No. There’s time for 60+ unsuccessful votes to repeal Obamacare, but no time to debate gun legislation.

I called and I emailed and I donated. I got G to call as well. Even John Lewis couldn’t get them to bring a bill to the floor. But he sure as hell raised the question, and I’m sure he and other representatives will continue to raise the question.

And wasn’t it lovely to watch a flummoxed Paul Ryan try to stop the story by turning off the cameras? Thank you, Facebook Live and Periscope for reminding him of the importance of transparency in democracy!

 

Fight, Fight, Fight: What’s Left to Do?

Fourteen days and nothing has changed. Except me. I have changed. I feel more involved, simply by paying attention. The outrage wave rolls on to new worries. Istanbul, West Virginia, Rio, Brexit. The funerals in Orlando are over. What will we do while we wait for the next massacre? Does anyone think it won’t come?

Raise your voice. Get informed then share what you know. Vote with your ballot, your dollar, your hours.

Whether you lean to the left, or lean to the right–stand up, sit down…fight, fight, fight.

Coming Back to My Senses

G caught me flapping my hands and muttering to myself this morning so he asked what was up.

“Carlos needs to get dressed, Vivi’s lunchbox is missing, I need to get the house organized because the cleaning lady is coming today, oh and the guys are coming to stain the deck, so Huck needs to be cooped up in the basement, which reminds me the pool is turning green but I don’t have time to take a water sample in at lunch today because I have an all-day class and we are out of groceries.”

G went back to getting dressed. I added “carry around a big load of resentment” to the list. Then, like most every other day, I got all that taken care of and managed to get myself ready for work.

By 3:30 p.m., I was in the office restroom crying into a paper towel and trying not to make any noise. This time of the day, this time of the week, I’m getting overwhelmed with feelings. Orlando. Senate filibuster. Cheeto Jesus. Father’s Day.

Father’s Day. At lunch, a friend had asked, “What are y’all doing for Father’s Day?” and before I could brace myself, I thought, “Nothing–I don’t have a father anymore.”

By 5:00 p.m., I was sitting in my car trying to remember what I did last Father’s Day for Daddy and all I could be sure of was that it wasn’t enough.

Back at home, there was the green pool and the deck guys who never showed and the groceries to unpack and the and and the and and the and.

I stood at the kitchen sink trying not to cry while getting dinner together. I couldn’t find one happy thought to hold on to, not one safe and still place to let my heart rest.

I rinsed the potatoes that came in the produce share from Collective Harvest. I was reminded of the first time I watched Daddy dig up potatoes in his garden. I’d never seen them growing and was delighted by how they hung down in a crowd from the plant that he’d lifted out of the soil with a wide-toothed hay fork.

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I pulled from the block the little paring knife that Daddy and Big Gay gave me for Christmas that year after Fartbuster and I split up. I had asked for a sky diving certificate or some good knives. They decided the knives were less dangerous. I carefully cut into the small purple potatoes without using a cutting board, the way I had been taught. The jeweled inside of each potato reminded me of a fig. I’ve never been one for figs, but that reminded me of Daddy laughing about how Grandmama Eunice loved figs so much that she would stop the car and climb over a three-strand barbed wire fence if she came across a fig tree standing in a pasture. It wasn’t stealing, because that fig tree had to have been planted by some farm family long ago. Even if the house just a memory, the fig tree deserved to be loved and Grandmama Eunice wasn’t about to let figs be wasted on cows.

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With the purple potatoes cooking in a little oil, I turned to snapping two handfuls of green beans. The texture of fresh green beans takes me right back to being a kid with an afternoon’s worth of beans to snap or purple hull peas to shell or corn to shuck. We had BIG gardens. The scratchy green surface of the bean, like a kitten’s tongue. The rewarding crisp ripeness of some and the floppy meh of others. The distinctive SNAP. The summer smell. The clatter as the pieces fall back into the collander and dinner grows step by step. When we were kids, the worst possible thing to hear was “Y’all get in the car–we’re going to the garden.” Now I ache for a peck basket and a row of green beans to work my way down.

 

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A pretty pint of blueberries and the rest of the strawberries from the fridge. I scoop a handful of the blueberries gently into my fingers and pour them into my mouth. Most of them perfectly sweet, but always that bitter one. Farm fresh blueberries take me back to a late June trip to Maine with Richard. We ate breakfast on the hill overlooking Bar Harbor. He ate a cinnamon roll as big as his head (I have the photo to prove it) and I devoured a blueberry muffin made with the biggest blueberries I had ever seen. We took our traditional “feet picture” with the sailboats and bay in the background. That photo turned out to be the last one of a long series. Memories. Most of them perfectly sweet, but always that bitter one. I ate another handful of blueberries then stirred the supper.

I can’t say I suddenly felt happy at that moment and all was right, but I felt more solid. When my brain is racing far ahead and my heart is twisted and panting with the struggle to keep up, I have to come back to my senses. Sight. Touch. Sound. Smell. Taste. Memory.

Check Back in Ten Days

Something cracked in me this Sunday, after the massacre at Pulse in Orlando. I couldn’t say anything about it for a day, Then I jumped on the social media outrage train. But I didn’t say anything HERE. No blog words about Orlando, or home-grown terrorism, or guns.  Nothing about Islamophobia and homophobia (I agree with Morgan Freeman–it’s not really a phobia; it’s just people being assholes.)

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I couldn’t think of any words that wouldn’t just blow away in the hurricane of hot air. Many LGBTQ friends have cried out in the last two days, asking “Where are our straight friends?”

Here. I raise my hand.

Here’s what I would say:

I’m sorry. I’m sorry that your safe space was poisoned by that violence. I’m sorry that churches have spewed shit about “Love the sinner, hate the sin” for so long. I’m sorry that you have grown up in the Land of the Free having to watch over your shoulder that you aren’t caught kissing the one you love in public. I’m sorry that people will say “This is an attack on ALL Americans” when the truth is that queer citizens have stood in the front ranks of that attack. I’m sorry that the body count rises. I’m sorry that it’s been your problem to bear. Too often alone.

I am numb with outrage. All I’ve done is make a breathless space for the pain and the outrage yet I have sat still.

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Five days ago, it was #RapistBrockTurner that had me outraged. I bet his family was tickled pink at the news from Orlando because it wiped him off the front page. Maybe his mother can finally decorate the new house and his dad can grill steaks. Man, I was pissed about that. But did I do anything?

What were we all talking about five days before the Stanford rape case? The #gorilla? What was his name? Harambe? I didn’t get too worked up in that case but it seemed to be all anyone was talking about online. Poor parents (I’ve been there). Poor gorilla (he didn’t do anything wrong). Poor zookeepers. Poor zoo animals. Poor Harambe.

gorilla-1132784_1280

 

I was mad about #HB2 in North Carolina. If y’all are so concerned about pedophiles, go watch Dennis Hastert’s house. Hang out in the men’s room where boys haven’t been safe EVER. Can’t we all pee in peace? I was mad about that, but the only thing I did was shop at Target, but I always shop at Target.

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If I keep going back five days and five days and five days, through the newsfeed of my outrage, I’ll get to Charleston. I’ll remember that massacre too. I was mad. Heartbroken. Sorry. And I didn’t do anything except bitch about it on the internet.

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Well, like I said, this week has been different. I joined Moms Demand Action to join the fight against the chokehold the NRA has on our government. I educated myself about specific, actionable changes, common sense gun laws. I signed petitions to ban the sale of the AR-15 to civilians after seeing an interview with the engineer who designed it. I contacted my representatives. I have started talking to my five year old about guns. “If you ever see a gun, do not touch it. Go find a grownup and tell them.” I looked up how much money each of Georgia’s Congressional representatives have received from the NRA (congratulations to Senator David Perdue on $1.9 MILLION in support).

Yeah, I’m mad right now. And I want to stay mad, even when the next horrible thing comes along, probably in a week at the rate we’re going. I made a vow to myself that I’ll check in every week to see what ACTION I have taken to make sure my silence is never mistaken for consent.

So much of this feeling of silence and helplessness started when I slid into depression around my dad’s final illness and death. I looked up from that darkness and saw my country going mad for a fascist who is nothing but a bullshit artist. I remembered calling some politician a fascist in front of Daddy and he said, “Do you even know what that means?” I answered, “A political idealogue of the far right who uses strict control of the media and a jingoistic sense of nationalism to sway the masses.” He said, “OK…I guess you do.” Daddy was a die-hard conservative. I can’t imagine what he would think of his Grand Old Party today. I haven’t been saying those things in this space but it’s time to reclaim my voice. I have the right and the responsibility to call out bullshit. We are not this.

One reason I didn’t write about some of these issues–politics, LGBTQ rights, rape culture, gorillas–was that I couldn’t BELIEVE it was necessary to say some of these things explicitly. Apparently, it is.

I’ll check on myself in 10 days and see what actions I’ve taken. Y’all are my accountability partners.

Ending The Week On An Up Note

On Friday mornings, ESP camp holds “Fair and Flag.” For the fair, each unit sets up a table filled with the crafts they made that week. The vocational class sold granola, muffins, and bread they had cooked (I can testify that all three are delicious). The older teens sold door mats that had been painted with different designs. I got one that has stripes like Charlie Brown’s shirt. The younger teens sold watercolors and Christmas ornaments. I bought the interlocking hearts.

Carlos’ class sold painted canvases–with one decorated balloon cookie thrown in with the purchase. I paid $5 for the one that said C-A-R-L-O-S in the corner:

carlos camp painting

 

Recognize it? That’s Carl and Ellie’s house from the movie “Up.” I would have paid $500 for this remembrance of a fantastic week.

The “flag” part of Fair and Flag is a crazy cheering circle that celebrates the kids and the sponsors and the parents who all pitched in to make the magic. Carlos didn’t like the noise, so we sat off to the side with his counselor, Miss Abbie.

carlos camp abbie

She was dressed like a member of Troop 54 just like Russell in the movie. Carlos counted the twelve yellow dots painted on her face with the tip of his finger. She giggled. He counted all the blue things in her costume. He was so perfectly himself. I finally walked over to join the cheering circle and in a minute, he came and stood in front of me so I could cover his ears with my hands. Abbie told me all the things he’s done this week, like making a Cheerios catapult, singing “Green Machine,” playing in a tent with JoJo (from his preK class!), and telling her all about his kitties, Jinxie and Rufus. He got a shout-out yesterday at Flag for being a great song singer.

Y’all.

He has NEVER talked this much. I don’t know if it’s ESP camp magic or if it’s Vivi being out of the house this week, but his speech has exploded.

(I just had to take a break from typing this so we could have a sing-a-long at bedtime and teach Daddy the “colors song” and pretend to play “kitar.”)

He’s using expressive language, like “I love it there” and “Want to go back to camp.” He’s NEVER reported to me at the end of the school day about what he had done. Now, he talks about the Amanda Show and how she does tricks with rubber bands and he can name five of the kids in his unit.

He’s soaring.

carlos camp us