Saturday, September 12, 2009

And, I only had TWO meltdowns!

I did it. Yesterday, I survived Spencer's first day of Kindergarten. And, I made it through with only two, brief episodes of crying, neither of which could be described as full-on blubbering or a truly "ugly" cry. The first happened, suddenly, as we were waiting for the bus. There we were: Mommy, Daddy, Spence, his little brother, Grandma, and Grandpa, complete with camera and videocamera, laughing and celebrating and having a grand time. He held his "My First Day of Kindergarten" sign and let us take multiple pictures of him. He high-fived everybody near him and announced to all of the kids and parents waiting at the bus stop that it was his first day of Kindergarten. I was feeling good, feeling positive, feeling genuinely excited, when Spence looked up at me over the corner of his Spiderman backpack, looking incredibly cute and very, very little in the oversized button-down train shirt he had chosen for his first day, and said, "Mommy, can I sit on your lap while we're waiting for the bus?" I made quick eye contact with my hubby, whose own eyes were looking a bit misty, and that was it. Big, fat tears rolling down my face. Luckily, Spence was sitting on my lap staring eagerly down the street, looking for the bus, so he didn't see my pathetically sad face. As for the loud sniffles -- I have bad Fall allergies, so he wouldn't think anything of that. As it turned out, we were the only parents with a new Kindergartener at the bus stop, so I got lots of sympathetic, knowing looks from the other Moms, and that helped to dry up my tears. Afterall, they had obviously all been through it, and they looked just fine now. More importantly, their kids looked happy, healthy, and excited to go to school.

So, that was mini-meltdown number one. Number two came in the Kindergarten classroom, itself. The school had invited all the parents to come on the first day and stay for a little while, then join the Principal and PTA members for coffee and treats in the library. The first part was great. Spence played on the playground with the other kids for a while, then he got to go inside and find his name tag, hang up his backpack, and play in the room for a bit. All was well. He was confident and happy, the other kids seemed really nice, and the other parents seemed pretty normal and friendly, overall. (There was this one, totally intense Mom, who kept trying to micro-manage the rest of us, and our children, as we put the required school supplies in their bins. I remembered her from the Kindergarten orientation in the Spring. She was the one who, when the teacher asked us to have our kids draw a picture of themselves, kept loudly tapping her pen on the paper in front of her son and saying, "Put more color in your picture! Put more detail in your picture. That's not good enough!" I've gotta say, I was hoping her kid wouldn't be in Spence's class, but it looks like our paths will have to cross from time-to-time, afterall. Super intense micro-managing Mom, meet the Mom at the opposite end of the spectrum. Meet "ChickenNuggetMama." Should be interesting...) Anyway, the teacher gathered the kids on the mat for a "good morning" song, and then addressed all of the parents in the back of the room. She told us she was going to read a story to the kids, and then she'd like us to kiss the kids goodbye and head up to the library. She also pointed out the kleenex box at the back of the room. I was the first one there. I was still feeling pretty good, but I wanted to be ready, just in case. Then, this lovely young woman, who seems like a genuinely caring and interested teacher, read a book called "The Kissing Hand." Have you read this book? It's all about a baby raccoon who is nervous about school, so the mother raccoon gives him a kiss in the center of his palm, and tells him that it will stay on his hand all day, until he sees her again after school. Brutal! I think this sweet-looking Kindergarten teacher is actually some sort of sadist who likes to see how many Moms she can make cry on the first day. She and the other Kindergarten teacher probably have some sort of competition going every year. Who can choose the sappiest book that will bring the most parents to tears? Anyway, that was the second meltdown. It only lasted a minute or two. OK, to be honest, it started when the Mommy raccoon put the kiss in the baby raccoon's hand, and the sniffles lasted as I kissed Spence (who didn't seem the least bit upset and really seemed to just want us to go away, so he could get back to the business of Kindergarten), walked down the hall, up the stairs to the library, and drank my first cup of coffee. Then, I was fine.

So, it's the end of an era, and the beginning of another. I can't wait to see what's coming....

And, to all of my wonderful friends, who called to leave me messages of encouragement and to see how I was doing on this momentous day....I love you, and I appreciate you, and I couldn't navigate these crazy Mommy waters without your help and support. Cheers!


  1. I love this post. It made me we are even. I am so excited to be Spencer's teacher this year. We are going to have so much fun! You think the first day was tearful...wait until the Mother's Day Tea!

  2. it was just one short year ago that i walked in your shoes. first grade will be better. i practically skipped out of the school and did a feet-kicked-together jump off the front steps. all day at school is AWESOME!

  3. is there any way i can persuade you to remove your word verification?

  4. What a beautiful recap, you'll totally treasure recalling these details years down the road (and can probably repost it with a few minor changes when he heads off to college...yes, my daughter is 4 and I already DREAD that!).

  5. this is how you do it
    go to customize
    go to comments
    scroll down and where it says show word verification for comments
    select no

  6. OH, Beth!!! You brought back such great memories for me! :)
    OK, so I'll tell you my 'melt down moment' for Anthony. We were shopping for school supplies before school started, and we came to the lunchbox aisle (yeah, a whole stinkin' aisle for lunchboxes! who knew?!). We'd had 3 years of 'field trips' where I packed our lunch in a big blue tupperware backpack (yup, hostess gift, you bet). He looked down the aisle and said, simply, "I'm probably going to need my own lunchbox." Those big, hot, alligator tears welled up in my eyes as I thought of the end of field trip lunches, and I literally choked on my words when I said, "yeah, I guess you are...."
    BTW, in middle school, it's brown bag only. They won't even let me attempt to keep it all 'safe' in a box!! so uncool!!! but I still have my tupperware one, just in case...

  7. What we Moms go through, eh? It's ridiculous! Thanks for sharing your story, Mishelle. I know there are more meltdown moments ahead for me...