I was ready for the tears. I knew they’d come. From him. And me. Oof, so many tears. So much ugly cry. An absurd amount of snot leaking from our faces.
I was ready for the fear and the anxiety. Again, on both our parts. This is a huge change. Since the day he was born we’ve been by each other’s sides and now…well, now the real world was wrenching us apart.
And I was ready for the guilt. The guilt of abandoning my precious first-born to the unfeeling ABC factory that is pre-K. I had already been torturing myself with this guilt for weeks beforehand. He’s so little! His backpack is bigger than he is! He’s not ready! This is going to scar him for life! No one loves him like I do! Who the hell are these teachers!? They could be serial killers for all I know! Or worse, people who legitimately like kale!
What I wasn’t ready for, however, was that we had to do it all over again the next day. And then again. And then again.
School is exhausting. For the parents.
No one really warns you about this. And maybe it’s not this way for every kid. But my kid is the kind of kid who doesn’t like things. Things like other people. Other kids. Anything that is even slightly new. He made up his mind at 8-months-old what he liked and he’s pretty much stuck with that list since then.
And it’s a very short list.
So, before 8 a.m. alone, I have to be a cheerleader and a prison warden and a life coach all rolled into one.
“But school is so much fun, honey! All those cool new things you’re learning! You’re doing so amazing!”
“If you don’t march into this bathroom and brush your teeth in the next 30 seconds, I’m putting you in solitary.”
“Fear is just the body embracing change, sweetie. Or something. Look, your feelings are valid. OK? Never doubt that. But also, we’re late so can you feel them while also putting on your shoes?”
If I had to do a brief breakdown of our week, it’d look something like this:
“Momma, I love you so much! Please don’t leave me!”
“Oh baby! I’m so sorry! I have to! I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!”
*go home and sob in the fetal position while clutching his baby pictures*
“Please don’t leave me again! I love you!”
“Oh baby, I know you’re scared but you can do this. I’ll be back before you know it.”
*go home and Google home schooling options while sniffling*
“MOMMA! Stop leaving me! Please stay! PLEASE!”
“Yeah, I can’t. You’ll be fine though. Love you.”
*use crowbar to gently but firmly detach him from my leg*
“Mommy! I don’t want to keep doing this! Let me stay with you!”
“Nope. OK, bye.”
*already scrolling Yelp for nearby breakfast places*
Because as draining as starting the whole school routine can be, physically, mentally and emotionally, at a certain point you just have to get over it. This is the new normal for us. Life has to go on. We have 174 more days of this. Followed by 13 more years of this. And then probably college once we sell off some pretty major body parts in order to afford it.
Oh no. I started crying again.
Anyone know if liquor stores have back-to-school specials?