I was unprepared for how difficult her first day of school would be. For me.
By Adrienn on April 18, 2013
I remember it vividly. The day was warm. I was wearing a tank top and black capris. I had butterflies in my stomach and felt a weird combination of anxiety, fear and abandonment. She was abandoning me. I don’t hold a grudge, she had no choice. And she was happy.
We left a little early because I didn’t want to rush. I wanted to savor each step. I made myself appreciate the moment. I listened to her voice and although I don’t remember what her words were, I remember listening to every one. I remember thinking about how her voice sounded, and how someday I would forget how it sounded that morning. I slowly walked along listening to the rustle of the tree leaves, watching her kick stones and letting her stop to poke at a bug.
She skipped, clapped and thoroughly enjoyed our walk. I wish our walk would’ve lasted forever, but it didn’t. Too soon we were walking up the sidewalk to school. It was my baby’s first day of kindergarten. She’d been along this same walk a hundred times walking her big sister to school, but today she wouldn’t be walking back home with me. She was so ready. I was so not. She knew where her classroom was, and even knew her teacher because big sis had her too. All the mornings I went into the classroom with big sis to make sure she was settled in and ok, little sis tagged along. Big sis wasn’t ready to go to her classroom alone for months. Little sis was ready to hug me goodbye at the front step on her very first day. It wasn’t “new” to her, but it was new to me. Even though she didn’t “need” me to follow her to the classroom, I did. I needed to, and I needed her to need me, but she was ok. The little shit was growing up and I couldn’t do anything to stop it.
I followed her in and helped her hang her coat and backpack. She gave me a hug and said, “See you later, mama.” I stood out in the hall for a few minutes watching her interact with the other students. Some kids were crying. Some clung to their mom’s leg. A handful of parents stood around in the classroom upon their child’s request. My baby found her name plate on her desk all on her own and sat there with the biggest smile. I stood out in the hall being so proud of her independence while wishing she was clinging to my leg begging me to stay.
My walk home quickly became a jog because I could not stop the tears, and I figured the faster I got back home the better. I can only imagine what people on the street were thinking as I passed by. With my red puffy tear-streaked cheeks and fast pace, I’m sure there was speculation about what I was getting away from.
The house was so quiet. The dogs frantically sniffed me, and stood at the door for a minute not understanding why a little person wasn’t busting through the door behind me. I was never alone.
Today I was alone. I panicked. I was scared. Suddenly I thought, “what if I fall, or hurt myself and I’m alone…and there’s not even a little person to bring me my cell phone?” Or “what if I lock myself out of the house again and the little people aren’t here to unlock the door?” (which, indecently did end up happening…that’s for another post involving me, my fear of heights, and wrestling an extension ladder up against a second story window without breaking anything-it was not a success.)
So my sadness was now sprinkled with anxiety. I cried myself a headache, turned on some Spongebob for background noise and stalked some facebook friends. I kept telling myself “You’ll be okay” over and over. Seriously. Out loud. Then I went to Costco, bought a membership and spent $400. Retail therapy with a side of binge eating on a bulk level.
I seriously thought about having a baby #3. Dennis assured me that would not be necessary, and things would get better and someday I would enjoy the time to myself. He was right, but it took a little while for me to be ok with it. It wasn’t an easy
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