School is a given in America.
A billion kids or so (I’m not a numbers girl. Whatever) started school last week. They had backpacks and lunch boxes and maybe new shoes, and they rode busses or bikes or walked in little groups to places with cinderblock walls and bells and that yucky orange stuff waiting in the maintenance closet for soaking up vomit.
C’mon. Can’t you just smell it?
The hardest part about sending my first-born to kindergarten last week was not that she was going to be separate from me. We went through that trauma a year ago…and it turns out, the baby girl who had to be in my arms for the first 2 hours of every day for the first 2 years of her life…only needs me when she needs me, and that is becoming less and less often every day. She is already excited by other people… her “big girl” friends, her older sister’s friends, her mama’s friends. She is a lot like me in that way… always open to new connections, always growing her heart to cram more relationships in.
And I know sometimes, I made my mom feel a little left behind, just like my almost-6-year old is causing me to feel these days.
After 3 successful days as a sure STAR in her new class, she also lost her first tooth… at the theatre, of course, while I was working the box office for a crowd. So she celebrated with some of her new favorite people before I even knew about it ~
Did you follow that whole rabbit hole? Anyway… The hardest part of sending Miranda to kindergarten came two days before she started, at open house, when we walked through the crowded hallways and I found myself (ever social, like my Randa), looking for people I knew.
Side note: Probably about 7 years ago, Rod and I were at a Cubs game… at Wrigley Field, which holds about 40,000 people, and I joked with Rod that I still couldn’t help myself. I was looking around for people I knew.
Do you know, on the way out, in the bathroom, I ran into Tia P atrevito, whom I met the summer before 4th grade. AT A BALLPARK WITH 40,000 other people…
But at Miranda’s school…there was not one other soul I knew.
I’ve mostly gotten used to living here. I don’t always feel like the new girl. I’m building a village around me. But sometimes, the sweeping lack of history in this place, this beautiful place where new school pictures look like this:
…still gets to me.
I love the palm trees and the greenness, the warm weather and the promise that we can still hit the beach in the fall. I love that my BFFs in Chicago text me through the challenging times while new BFFs in Myrtle Beach fill in the hug, lunch, impromptu-cupcake-run gaps. I love that the librarian looks like The Perfect School Librarian and is named Mrs. Johnson (like one of my Chicago BFFs) and that the classroom is clean and has computers and 2 teachers plus a student teacher.
But I hate not knowing anyone else in my baby’s new school. I hate not having a connection with the people who feed her mind and spirit all day long.
This will begin to resolve in a few weeks when my work schedule calms down and I hit the volunteer meeting and she starts ballet class again and we, as a family, bring some balance back to the force.
But when it hit me, it hit hard.
These children are the Most Important Gifts I have ever been entrusted with. Most of the time I am Mellow Like Jell-o, but sometimes, I am downright scared of making the incorrect decision. School has been the biggest one yet. If you’ve read this or known me for any amount of time, you know the plan has changed over and over. Right now, Randa at public school and KK at private pre-school makes the most sense for us. They are learning They are safe. They are happy. Homeschooling is still in my blood, but as I get to know my first-born daughter more, I’m not sure it will ever be for her. Time will tell.
Later this week, I am going to share some of the awesome words shared with me on this subject by friends over the past few weeks. ‘Cause Mamas still need some coddling sometimes, even when their babies don’t…