"Mom I like my new school," Olive tells me, "Because it has a view of a glacier."
Its true. It does.
And we may live in a trailer, but our driveway marks the start of Tonsina Trail, so after we dropped the kids at school we made a second pot of coffee, and I walked the trail down to the mudflats of low tide, disturbing two eagle who looked for salmon making their way upstream to spawn.
This is my extended yard.
My yard includes Eagle's nests, giant old Hemlock trees and wild mushrooms, which a neighbor just showed Nick two edible kinds. Last night Nick and David made four-cheese gluten-free pasta with moose meat and "Hedgehog" mushrooms we harvested that afternoon.
I'm not sure if I remember a better meal.
Yesterday morning, Elias shook his head when I asked him if he was ready for school. He refused to get dressed or answer my questions: "Why? What's wrong?" He glared at the ground and stretched, something he does when he doesn't want to talk.
I gave him space, my worry beginning to match his.
Elias's lower lip started to jut out, and just when my imagination started creating all kinds of bully scenarios, the tears came and he said, "We're having a fire drill today and I don't know how loud it will be."
"Oh, thank you for telling me," I sighed.
This I can handle, a known fear, a sudden loud noise that jangles his altered immune system from spending months in the alarming Newborn Intensive Care Unit instead of the dark quiet of my womb.
"Maybe we can ask your teacher if you can be outside for this first one. So you know what to expect."
This at least got him dressed and in the truck for the drive along Resurrection Bay and through town to school.
I warned his teacher that he may be more anxious than normal today and may have a hard time pulling it together after the drill. She seemed more than prepared to get my boy through his first middle school fire alarm and even met us at the end of the day with a big warm smile.
"It wasn't that bad," Elias said. "It wasn't too loud."
"He had a really good day," his teacher said.
Later, as we sat at the beach watching Nick and Olive fish, I asked Elias more about school.
"Is there any kid that you think is really nice?"
And he named an eighth grade boy, a cool kid-- smart, athletic, attractive--who he met this summer and I secretly hoped would look out for Elias, but didn't dare ask. I smiled and text the boy's Mom.
I just love when its cool to be kind.
This morning, another athletic older boy, one I didn't know, turned to Elias as we walked in the door, and called him the wrong name but, went out of his way to say hello to my quirky kid.
Carrying his own backpack, Elias trotted off to his resource room, without saying goodbye.
And out into the sunshine I walked, beaming.