I had an inkling of what my emotional status was going to be when I got teary-eyed at the parent orientation meeting the week before, watching a PowerPoint presentation of children I didn’t know.
There may also have been a tiny indication of my instability when I got the sniffles while writing my daughter’s name in her backpack, lunch kit and sneakers a few days prior.
But nothing prepared me for my reaction to saying goodbye to my daughter that morning.
Fast forward past me crying once we got out of the school doors and ignore the void that was present during the entire morning of doing our errands as a duo, not a trio. Let’s just zoom right in on the twist of the blade, the moment when I went to pick my daughter up. And she didn’t want to come home. Not entirely true. She wanted to eat lunch. So I did have some bargaining power when it came to actually embarking home in our mini-van.
But her brother and I? Chopped liver.
So, thank you very much, Big Shot Educational Facility. With your abundance of puzzles, books and games. Thanks for the heartache. How the heck are moms to compete with all the razzle dazzle?
Play structures the size of dinosaurs are not very economical and lockers are not appealing home décor for the average home. And let’s call dress-up centre what it really is—a closet! Maybe we don’t have all the Strawberry Shortcake books and maybe we don’t have multi-colored carpets (on purpose); but we do give great hugs and we only want the best for our children.
Oh wait, you have that too? Never mind.
My point is this: It hit me — hard — that this was the first time that my child had ever been surrounded by essential strangers for any length of time, without me. This school year will be the first time my husband and I trust someone else to give guidance to our children on our behalf. This is the first time that I’ve been faced with the realization that I will miss out on moments of my baby girl’s life—a life I helped create and one I have nourished, ever since.
I know that this reality of my child already loving school is better than the alternative of having trouble adjusting to the separation. I saw a few teary-eyed kids that day and it almost broke my heart.
I just need time to adjust, myself.
Raina Dezall once got a piece of Kleenex stuck up her nose in elementary school. Teachers don’t get paid enough. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.