Thursday, September 14, 2006


On September 6th it was first day back at school for Ross. Marti drives him to school in the morning and I get him in the afternoon. We live outside of the area that the school bus services. Being first day back at school, Daniel and I decided we would take him.

The school is small. There are only about 175 kids. When we pulled up to the drop-off point, the principal of the school was waiting to meet and greet each child. As Ross climbed out the van, he walked toward him saying, “Welcome back Ross!” He hugged him and they gave each other a high five. I was so touched by this welcome and thought how cool it was that Ross must have walked into school with his spirit lifted.

On Sunday Dan Dan headed off to Scottsdale, Arizona for a conference and was due back late Thursday night. In addition to all the usual reasons that bum me out when he is away, Scottsdale is one of my most favorite places on the planet. I spent a year there when I was 21 and have not had the opportunity to go back. I would so love to re-visit there, especially with Dan Dan the Fireman. In the rush of his departure I forgot to give him the digital camera. He went out and bought a disposable and I directed him over the phone to the apartment complex where I lived. He walked through the grounds and took pics for me. I can’t wait to see them. It will be a walk down very happy memory lane for me.

While he was away I had to attend BACK TO SCHOOL night. This is an event the school holds for parents to meet the teachers and to hear a detailed outline of the program for the year ahead. I was a little anxious about going to this alone. It involves a lot of standing around, visiting different classrooms and generally walking the length and breadth of the school. For such outings, I usually make us of my wheelchair which, at this point in time, Dan Dan is the only person I am comfortable with to assist in lifting me out of the chair. I really did not want to miss the evening so I initiated PLAN B which you can read more about here.

When I translated Fourth Grade into the terminology I grew up with in South Africa, I realized that Ross is now in Standard 2. I know it sounds really clichĂ© but I couldn’t believe it. When I thought of it in this context it just had more of an impact on me. In the car on the way to school I told Ross that his first day of First Grade is so clear in my memory that I even remember what I wore.


It reminded me of how my sister told me that when she watched my nephew, Shaun walk across the stage at his high school graduation, it felt like his whole school experience had gone by in an instant.

I felt much the same way when Shaun recently announced his engagement. My sister’s kids hold very special places in my heart as I literally saw both of them on the days they were born. I have memories of baby sitting Shaun who was one of those babies that would cry, a lot, for a very long time and it was almost impossible to pacify him. My sister still jokes about a particular incident when I was looking after him and she came home to find me carrying him on my back in the uniquely South African way our nanny’s used to do so. Somehow, they would manage to throw us over their shoulder with one arm and then tie a large towel or blanket around us and we would happily sleep on their backs while they went about their daily cleaning and chores in the home. I honestly don’t remember how I got Shaun on to my back that day – I know for sure I didn’t fling him over my shoulder like my nanny did. When my sister walked in, I was literally pacing the floor in a bouncing type motion trying to quiet the crying baby.

It is all as clear as yesterday in my memory, and now we are planning a wedding a year from now where my son will be the ring bearer. I just love the story of Shaun’s proposal to his fiancĂ© Megan.


“…During the proposal – this dog (Bandit) came out of the ocean and sat next to us (just as Megs said ‘yes’) and left once we decided to go. It was SO bizarre, he came from the ocean, and once left – I swear by all that’s holy – that’s exactly where he returned. I didn’t see him ANYWHERE once we started to leave the beach.”

I love this story. I think it speaks of magic and miracles and that is what I wish for Shaun and Megs - a path together that will have nothing but the magic of friendship and the miracles of a soulful union.