What a summer it's been. One for the books! I know I say that every year, and while I'm still standing by the fact that 2014 hasn't looked too kindly upon Steve it's handed us a summer on a silver freaking spoon, most definitely to us Weibel girls anyway. Dani, Mila, and I spent a month in Italy, surrounded by family, soaking in love and attention and acceptance and that big-family wonderfulness that is hard to come by when everyone you hold dear lives on another continent. There was lots of seafood, some of my favorite beaches in the whole world, empty piazzas to run in, no air conditioning, plums coming out of our ears, and endless elevator rides. There was vomiting on curvy mountain roads, digging for clams at sunset, and bakeries that you smell before you see. The upside to having family far away means you appreciate them all the more when finally reunited, and the not-so-great moments slip away: the minutes before you've drank your coffee, the jet lag your kids don't seem to want to hurdle, the one-bathroom-six-people situation (clarification: my grandparents have no less than four bathrooms in their house. unfortunately everyone wants to use the one with instant HOT water! Oh, Italy.). It was paradise for all of us and even though we had countless, 'Papa would love this...' or 'if Papa were here then...' moments--in other words we missed him like crazy--the time went by much too fast. Before we knew it June was coming to a close, I somehow survived 24 hours of travel time with my dad (before I forget and in case I never post about this topic again, can I impart my most important piece of travel advice? only a slight exaggeration here. Crown rooms and toddlers DO NOT MIX. Moving sidewalks and escalators and toddlers DO MIX. There. Carry on.) Then, we were home for, oh, a day and...a half? Enough time for me to throw the contents of our suitcases into the wash, clean like a madwoman 'cause that's what I seem to do when leaving on a trip, and then repack for a nearly 2-week roadfest. Where my medal at? But this time it was with my husband in tow so in the spirit of togetherness! and family! and memories! we headed north. We spent time with dear friends who live too far away, people we want to surround the girls' childhoods with because they mean so much to us...and family too, when we got to New York. Yes, New York was our end destination (isn't it everyone's?! NYC I love you too much.) and there we got to show our girls what a great big world there is out there.
I'll leave it at that.
So summer 2014. Family. friends. Friends who are like family. Swimming in the Mediterranean, the Atlantic, rivers, city fountains, and one wonderful lake that at one point held two middle-aged dudes swimming with noodles (the pool toy kind, get out of the gutter). Eating everything from octopus to one of the finest pizzas I've ever tasted, honey-drenched seadas in Sardinia to xiaolongbao in Chinatown, and something called a lizzmonade to nutella-filled croissants. Nutella filled everything. I had to be rolled home, clearly. And we managed to squeeze in some camping, too. I really, really loved this summer.
And now mid-August is upon us. And for the first time in over ten years, all of the hubbub surrounding back to school applies to me. Except this time it's not me going back to school, no, it's far more important. That girl that's gonna be four in just two short weeks and makes me laugh big belly-laughs every single day--she's starting her very first day of preschool tomorrow. TOMORROW.
Last week her and I went on one of our Mila-Mama dates that I love so much, that I'm going to do with her (and soon, her sister. I can't wait for Dani-Mama dates!) for as long as she'll let me. It was a back to school date this time. First, uniform shopping. I know! Then, school supply shopping armed with a list. There were plans for ice cream too but Mila nixed them in favor of a nap....and that's when I knew she was getting sick. Ha! Thankfully we're all coming out of the woods from that round. Anyway, there in the fitting room of the uniform store, I helped her into what was going to be her new shirt and got a flash of this new person in front of me. This girl who was equal parts familiar baby Mila, toddler Mila, and equal parts older Mila, school Mila with school friends and school ideas and school opinions. It's a lot for any mama to handle, I think. For the past four years Mila's been home with us every day. Her point of reference, all of her experiences, have stemmed from us. Now that's about to change--slowly at first I know (I hope!) but before I know it there's going to be a shift. So there in that store, my eyes welled up with tears and I choked back a downpour of emotion as I gushed over her shirt, the colors, the school logo...trying to show my excitement...and I am, I truly am excited for her. Excited. Nervous. Scared. Sad. Knowing this is the beginning of letting her go. Knowing that it's going to be just as hard when I drive away from her dorm room at whatever college she decides on. Feeling that that moment is so far away yet knowing that when it gets here in fifteen years it will have been a blink.
So if you need me Monday, I'll be here, trying not to blink. That or in a preschool parking lot, sobbing.
p.s. these are iphone pictures--I left my USB cable (Steve says that's not what it's called?) in Italy! It's coming back with Marmousch in a few weeks. At this point I've forgotten what the heck is on that camera so I can't wait to find out and share...