Letter to Fred #3

Thursday, January 28th, 2021
Martinez, CA
4:58 pm 53° and overcast
Monthly rain: 1.75″ Year to date 1.75″


Dear Freddie,
Today is the 100th day of your school year.

Biden has been sworn in as president, there was no federal vaccine roll out plan in place, a bunch of internet shit lords have caused a whole lot of ruffled feathers on Wall Street, and you and I have had 100 days of 1st Grade together at our dining room table and tomorrow will make 46 weeks since you’ve been inside a classroom.

Today’s lessons were filled with 100 tally marks, songs about 100, counting to 100 by 2s and 5s and 10s, a story about 100 items. At one point I think your teacher was fighting back tears because I am sure that this is a day that’s usually a really fun day in the classroom and one that she has a lot of good memories with. And today it was a reminder of how close she is to all of her students and yet how far apart she is as well.

Freddie, this has been such a learning experience for me. You and I have sat at this table, the one I am sitting at now, and we have learned all about the days of the week, the months of the year, and the seasons. We’ve learned about turkeys, penguins, and snowmen. I’ve watched your tripod grip improve. I’ve seen you embrace lowercase letters. Your drawing has slowly gotten better but some of that is because you’re waiting to hear the instructions before charging ahead and being more thoughtful as you draw.

You still hate coloring anything in.

I’ve learned that you do better cutting on the lines if I sing, and now you let me sing ( that’s a first). We have reached the compromise in which you MAY beat box during zoom but ONLY during the songs when you are muted. Independently you’ve decided to learn Spanish and now Dora the Explorer is very popular in our house.

There have been so many amazing and rewarding moments. But Freddie, sweetheart, light of my life, I am tired.

Freddie, you burn with the intensity of a nuclear reactor. You vibrate with energy and charisma. You, in your tiny 1st grader body, are a force of nature. And nature can be majestic and inspiring as the Grand Canyon and or it can be daunting and disorienting like a sand storm. I wish there was more of me to give all of your many many layers. But in the end there is only me and by the time the school day is done I don’t have much left to give you.

In the grand, grand, grand scheme of things this is a very short time. You might have some faint memories of the school year that wasn’t and I sincerely hope you don’t have memories of the fights and power struggles that come when two people are in the same room day after day after day after day and I’m pretty sure at least one of them you will bring up to your therapist in about 15 years. There’s still a long long road ahead of us that we can fill with better memories.

In other news: Archer now has booties to protect his paws as he runs and I ride. A winter storm has hit with intensity and we’ve gotten more rain in three days than we have in close to four months (I think). You’ve also decided that you can, in fact, sleep in past 6am.

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