I have been watching for weeks on Facebook as my friends kids headed off to Kindergarten and beyond. Lots of smiles and shiny new back packs and carefully selected first day outfits. It seemed like Grace would be the very last child on the planet to go back to school.
The day started out well: I was able to convince her after only five minutes of arguing that she wouldn’t be able to run to the fridge for a cheesestick during school so she’d better eat her breakfast. She excitedly put on her uniform and modeled her new shoes for Jane and I, explaining to Janie why she would be gone today. She wore her backpack in the house until we left. But on the 5 minute car ride, she grew silent and started biting her cuticles. This wasn’t going to be good.
You can just shove your kid out on the curb at Grace’s school (I mean drop them off in the designated location manned with teachers) but it being her first day, I thought Jane and I would walk Grace to her class line. She smiled pretty for a picture and then burst into quivering lip, ugly face tears. Jane instantly followed suit.
Now, if you are a good mother then at this point you whisper soothing words to your child, you hug them close and tell them some sort of special message to carry them through the day. I am not a good mother. I fought the urge to yell at her “STOP CRYING! You have to go to school! It’s the law! And if you stay at home with me any longer I WILL. LOOSE. MY. MIND. It’s just kindergarten for God’s sake (that’s right, using the Lord’s name in vain in the Catholic Church parking lot) the sh*t really hits the fan later on! I wish I was still in Kindergarten! Now get in there and put your backpack in your cubby!” I’m pretty proud to say I successfully choked back that urge. Instead I hugged her, pried her arms off of me, handed her to the teacher and fled before she could come running back out.
I was a little nervous driving back to the school to pick her up. No one ever really needed therapy because their mother abandoned them at Kindergarten, right? They can’t kick you out of a school you paid an arm and a leg for because your kid cries too much, can they? But there she was, unscathed. When I asked what she did today, she replied “I can’t remember . . . nothing really” Awesome.