About me: I'm 40 and eight months pregnant. My husband Chuck, our 7-year-old Junior, our 4-year-old Everette and I live in a town in Connecticut I affectionately call Mulletville Lite (aka my childhood hometown). My friends call me Nutjob, and they're right. In my husband's spare time he dresses up as a Viking and chases ghosts (and I'm the nutjob?). When I'm not busy working as a graphic designer, I lie in a ball in the corner.
Thursday, April 26, 2012
The fricken school bus
I registered Junior for kindergarten today.
I won't get into how choked up I was (I'll save that sob fest for his actual first day) or how taken aback I was by how heavy it all felt. I mean, I knew signing the paperwork would feel monumental, I just didn't realize it would feel like I was shipping him off to college.
Before I had children, I used to make fun of moms who would get all mushy and weird about the first day of school. I used to think they were so emotional. Saps, I tell ya! What was the big deal? You popped out a kid, he grew up, you stuck him on the bus, and you got your life back.
I can see now that I got the first few items right. Pop out kid. Check. Kid grows up. Check. Stick him on bus. Check.
But this idea of getting a life back, as if it's something tangible and in tact that's been waiting patiently for you for five years, as if it can be reclaimed once the kid has grown his proverbial big kid wings...well, it doesn't work that way, does it?
What I didn't realize is that that kid becomes your life, and your life becomes that kid. And I don't mean in that suffocating Helicopter Parent way. I mean in all the best ways. Whether you work or stay at home or sleep hanging upside-down, that kid has changed who you are.
You've invested years into his upbringing: kissing his scrapes, reading him stories, teaching him big words, wanting him to be kind, hating him because he whines, fixing his damn cowlick, dragging him to the store, tricking him into eating broccoli by pretending it's a talking tree, searching for his stuffed dog.
And on and on.
And then just like that, one day you're supposed to hand him over to the world. The World.
(I wish I knew how to cue a cyber thunderbolt.)
Ahem, THE WORLD.
I know he and I will be fine, I know this is what's supposed to happen, but crap, to every mom out there whom I previously pointed at and laughed (I may have also, um, called you pathetic behind your back), I'm sorry. This shit really gets you in your soft spot.
I do take some comfort in knowing that while I may be grappling with this kindergarten thing, I am faring far better than some others. The Mulletville Lite elementary school was nice enough to leave a sheet with FAQs for us newbies. Some of my favorite questions were:
"Can I ride the bus the first day with my kid?"
(Why not just sit on his lap for the whole school year? It might be less awkward for him.)
"Can I meet the bus driver before the first day of school? How do I know he/she will like my kid?"
(My bus driver swore at motorists and purposely went over curbs so we'd bounce higher in our seats. We all lived to tell about it.)
"Can I follow the bus to school to make sure my child gets out all right?"
(Oh, Jesus. You need help.)
And my all-time favorite: "Can my child please get a hot, sexy teacher I can ogle at all the boring PTO meetings?"
(Fine, fine, that was mine.)