What did those kids do to that nice lady?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Kindergarten Blues

Kindergarten.  A milestone event for any child; a not to be missed photo opportunity.  A day where parents stand proudly, with tears in their eyes, strapping crisp backpacks on to small backs.  Children stand nervously, not quite knowing what is about to hit them. A patient teacher tells you it’s time to leave and 5 year old sweaty hands release their grip and walk bravely into the unknown.  Mom and Dad watch, swallowing the lump in their throats, until the door is closed and then slowly shuffle away, hand in hand, marveling at how fast the time goes and secretly fearing the homework packet that will surely take over their lives. 

Unless your My Son. 

If you’re my Son, you prefer to temporarily go insane and cling yourself to my body, or perhaps try to climb back into it, only to peeled off by a nice lady who’s very job it is to deal with these...special...cases, and scream out MAMA! with your arm out, as if it will be a lifetime, and not just a few hours, until those little eyes are reconnected with mine.  Husband slowly backs away with Daughter, for surely she is taking notes on How To Act On The First Day Of Kindergarten, but she would do it louder and with more...flair and the very thought sends shivers down my spine.  Parents stood around me, nodding their heads, feeling badly for us, yes, but also thinking, Holy Crap I’m So Happy That’s Not Me.  There was no picture.  There was no walk off with a trickle of tears.  There was only chaos, screaming, and psychologists standing by.  (For me or Son, I’m not sure.)

When it was over, I felt like someone had beat the crap out of me.  I cried.  A lot.  I felt helpless.  And then I felt an arm around me.  A mother who I did not know, comforting me.  Familiar and strange faces alike gathered round me, their eyes filled with genuine concern and kindness; their words encouraging and asking me how can they help?  My phone rang and beeped all day, mothers and friends calling me, giving support, advice. A playdate was arranged with a new classmate for that very night, in hopes that the next day would be easier.  These women, these Mothers, may think that their gestures were small and insignificant, but they inspired me.  They made me realize that it really does take a village.  We stumble along this motherhood thing, trying to figure it out and make the right decisions along the way, but we need each other. We need to lift each other up and lend a hand.  To be strong for one when another is weak.  Because being a Mother is hard, hard work.  Joyfully hard.  And we don’t need to do it alone.  We just need to look to our left or to our right and realize a tribe surrounds us. A Mom Tribe.  

It’s been over a week now since that First Day and I’m happy to say that Son skipped off to school this morning, right alongside his new friends.  I watched him disappear into the classroom, the door closing as tears filled my eyes and I sauntered slowly off...marveling at just how fast the time has gone.  I may not have a photo of him smiling nervously on the first day of school, but what I got is better than that.  

I got a Tribe.