This year, I was prepared to not be the crying pool of snot that I once was, have been, for the past 5 years on the first day of school. Sure, I was prepared to miss my children but what I was not prepared for was to not be missed.
Every year, I get my girls up, we have a special back-to-school breakfast and then I get them dressed in preparation for our 1st day of school annual photo shoot. They endure it. I love it and one day, they will thank me for documenting their childhood so they can share it with their own children. I am not a crazy, mamarazzi, I am performing a public service. Damn it!
Anyways, after the photo shoot we drove to school; 30 minutes early, in preparation for all the crying and don’t go’s (them not me)(well, maybe me a little bit) because, that is how it has always been since kindergarten. That’s the way it is always suppose to be. Moms leave their kids, moms cry, kids cry and then at 3 pm it’s lovapalooza. It rocks but not today. Today, maturity kicked me square in my mommy gut and told tradition to go suck an egg!
The girls were both nervous walking into school, squabbling whose class we would go to first. Obviously, I was dropping off the 3rd grader first because 1) she’s not the one who might throw a tantrum and cry when I try to leave 2) she’s the one who will actually get demerits for being late.
So, me and my 2 girls dressed in their brand spanking new plaid uniforms and sporting the fanciest headbands they could find, because that is the only place they can show any kind of fashion sense whatsoever walk down this new and unknown corridor. Up until now she had been in the same corridor as her little sister. Bravely, we find her classroom. I can feel myself tensing up. I do this every year because like childbirth, I just don’t know how bad the letting go is going to hurt each time.
“Here, we are!” I say.
“Great….” She mumbles, her long silky blonde hair falling gracefully into her eyes, as if she is trying to hide from the rest of the class.
We introduce ourselves to the teacher, who I must say was either a bit flushed or put her blush on in the dark because it was looking a bit Mimi-esque. Never mind, I avert my eyes to stop from staring. The same can’t be said for my 6-year-old whispering beneath her breath, “Mom, what’s wrong with Bella’s teacher’s face?”
“Shhhhhh,” I hush her.
Then I notice the entire class is watching and NO.Other.Parents.Are.There!!
FUCK! I can’t be the mom who embarrasses her 3rd grader but, FUCK! I haven’t gotten my goodbye kiss. Someone’s going to have to suck it up. So, I go in for the goodbye kiss and I say bye one last time as my 3rd grader wills me away with her glare. Now, I’ve never had the misfortune of experiencing my child letting go of my hand and running off on the first day but now I know how that must hurt. It appears that this love that my 3rd grader and I share, is now strictly on the down low; never again to see the light of day on school grounds. My eyes misted up and I sauntered off to the K-2 corridor that I’ve made my home for the past 3 years.
These are my people; the weeping mothers of Kindergarteners martyring themselves to release their grip on babyhood and children who appreciate a mom who covers them in kisses and hugs. I love this hallway. This is where I belong.
My sweet little first grader holds onto my hand for dear life. God, I love that kid. My ego needed that. I walk her into class. I can see the trepidation building in her eyes and I can feel it in her grip on my now turning purple hand.
“Here, we are!” I say.
“Mommy, please stay here!” she whispers.
“I’ll stay for a little while.” And I do but eventually after sweaters are hung, backpacks and gym shoes put away and I’ve settled her at her desk, given her 2000 hugs and kisses and taken as many photos, I give her one last kiss and squeeze and I tell her that I love her and to have a good day. My eyes are filling up, I can feel them burning.
“Mommy, don’t go,” she whispers.
I choke out, “I’ll be back in a little bit to pick you up. I love you!”
And she jumps up and wraps her tiny little hands around my neck and hugs me one last hug; the kind of hug that can get a mommy through 7 hours without her children. I reciprocate. We are reassuring one another as much as we are ourselves. Then she sits down and yells after me as I am walking away feeling empty.
“Don’t forget to buy me some good snacks for tomorrow!”
With that, she lets me go and my heart is good. We’ll both be okay. As I walk away down the hall, past all the weeping mothers of corridor K-2 crumpled in the floor in pools of their own tears and snot, I smile because I’ve got one more year of this corridor and all the hugs and kisses I can ever want and I can cry if I want to. I also know that next time I walk them in we’re going to this hallway first, so I can kiss and hug my girls goodbye properly without the judging eyes of the entire third grade.
Now, I wait til 3 pm for loveapalooza!
How was your first day of school? Was the letting go hard or did your child dismiss you?