BumbleDadventure – California: Day One

So I realize I’ve been a bit cagey about this, mostly because I didn’t want to jinx anything. But I’m now officially on my way, so I think it’s copacetic to talk about it.
I’m currently headed west, more or less, to Los Angeles. And once I arrive there the plan is to rent a car, and turn north, driving along the 101, until I reach Pacific Grove for two nights.
Then, on Thursday, I have an interview with the a company that I originally talked to more than 4 months ago.
But that’s getting ahead of ourselves.
Yesterday I gave Jen and Daphne a hug goodbye, and got a ride from my dad to the Amtrak station for this little sojourn.
  Not exactly Grand Central… 
I’ve actually always wanted to take a cross-country train in the U.S., and this seemed like the perfect moment to do so. (I mean, when am I ever going to have this kind of time again?) And since the company I’m interviewing with is reimbursing me for the trip/hotel, this seemed like a very rare opportunity.
And so here I am. Sitting on that very train and rolling at a glacial pace toward El Paso. We’re somewhere near Marfa (I know this because the “Marfa Target” just went by), and I’ll tell you, this area of Texas is absolutely desolate. I get why Cormac McCarthy loves it so much. It’s bleak, harsh, and unwelcoming…which, collectively, I suppose does have a kind of majesty to it.
I think I see John Grady Cole…
Perhaps it’s this landscape, but I’m already feeling the fact that this is the longest stretch that I’ve ever been away from my wife and daughter.
And I miss them very much already.
Which is, in itself, I suppose a solid reminder when removed from the day-to-day grind. A quick poke to highlight how lucky I am to have such a sweet, loving, wonderful little girl, and such a beautiful, smart and kindly wife, both of whom I love without limits.
This is going to be hard.
And speaking of the smaller of my two favorite people, last week was Daphne’s first week of school.
This was taken just after the traumatic experience that was her first school haircut.
She’s started the Early Childhood Autism Program, or ECAP, at a nearby elementary. And to say we were nervous about this would be an insult to understatements made throughout history.
She hasn’t really ever been away from family before, and she was suddenly thrust headfirst into an 8:20 – 12:40, Monday through Friday class schedule.
And, aside from crying quite a bit on the first day, she has absolutely rocked it.
There were a few tears, and an utterly heartrending reach for daddy for help while her teacher whisked her away on Day 2. But by Wednesday we’d hit our stride, and by Thursday she didn’t even protest. She just hopped out of the car, put her backpack on, and walked in like a big girl.
No, it’s her daddy who’s still getting all emotional during this process each morning. And I must be wearing this concern very clearly, because the teachers always give me a quick encouraging smile and remind me that “we’ll take good care of her, Dad.”
Typically I can’t even respond. I just take a deep, shaky breath and nod my head.
But, as I said, she’s doing fantastically well. She’s complying with her teachers’ requests, staying in her seat, and getting great marks every day. She’s taken to the program better than we’d ever expected. It’s unfortunate that she’ll only go for a few more weeks before summer vacation kicks in.
And depending on how this interview goes on Thursday, she might have an all new school in California by next year.
But again, I’m getting ahead of myself. This is just an interview, and I’ve had way too many of them to put any kind of stock in the process anymore. (Even if they are footing the bill for me to come halfway across the country to meet them…)
Time will tell.
Okay, I’ll have a lot more to say about the train trip and Day 2 very soon.
Talk to you then.

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