Martin’s school year started Friday before Labor Day. With the long weekend, the kids had three days off between the first and second days of school. Weird, right?
Labor Day weekend, Martin’s cousin Mandy was staying with us, because her school didn’t pick up until the following Wednesday. Martin and Mandy had an exhausting visit. Friday afternoon they attended a birthday party at one of those “inflatable party zones”—basically, a warehouse filled with bouncy houses. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights Martin and Mandy built blanket forts in our family room and insisted on sleeping in them (which meant not sleeping much). Saturday afternoon and Sunday afternoon we had guests. Although it was cool and rainy, Mandy dragged Martin into our swimming pool. Repeatedly. Monday my father and I took the kids to an indoor fun park with trampolines and climbing equipment, and then Adrian took everyone out to lunch. In trying to accommodate both kids, I let Martin have more sweets than usual: juices, fruits, homemade cake and ice cream.
More or less, it was the last great party of the summer.
When Tuesday rolled around, we received the bill for all that fun. I could barely rouse Martin, he was crabby at breakfast, and he refused even to say hi to the other kids at the bus stop. He ended up isolating himself: sitting alone on a rock, running back and forth, checking out. (Mandy, meanwhile, stood next to me and chatted amicably with the other moms.)
When the bus came, Martin clung to me and said, “Mommy! Mommy!” but then boarded without additional delay.
I escorted my father and niece to Port Authority to catch their bus, and then I returned to my home office, because I hadn’t worked all weekend and had to play catch-up. I was glad to have work to keep me occupied; I couldn’t shake the feeling that Martin would have a tough day, being as tired as he was and also thrown into such a new situation.
I arrived at the bus stop early and waited ten minutes before any other parents showed up. When the bus came, Martin disembarked with the other kids and hugged me. He seemed okay. We walked the five minutes home, where I eagerly pulled his binder to check for any notes from his aide.
I found a note. It said: “Martin had a good day.”