The first day of preschool is a milestone, all the way around.
We got up early, brushed teeth and hair. Had some french toast, braided unruly straggles and put on a white dress. Because there’s no way they would do anything as brave as painting on the first day, right?
My little one was both excited and nervous, apprehensive and curious. She ran up the pathway ahead of me through the sea of parents taking pictures with expensive cameras, combing spiky hair, fiddling with hems, and staring at ME.
We are a new family in a private school we can barely afford but she was going there if I had to sell each and every one of my teeth because we both deserve a place where she is safe and free to learn.
I had prepared my kiddo for the opportunity of meeting new friends, but I had neglected to give myself the same speech.
They’re sizing me up.
I am not ready for this.
I smile nervously, usher my child inside to her classroom and gently detangle her fingers from the bottom of my shirt.
“First time?” an inquiring voice asked behind me. Haven’t seen you around….
“I’m sorry? Oh, yes.” Nervous laughter.
She’s trying to pick me up.
I watched her eyes. To my wedding ring. To my scarf. To my pearl earrings.
I have been tried and found acceptable.
Flashing smile. Assurances of how great she’ll do. Her son’s in the same class.
Of course he is.
Look, I am a social person. Friendly, even. I can handle the thought of meeting new people, as long as I am prepared. I was not prepared. My heart started pounding. My mouth went dry. Oh God. I’m not quite ready for a relationship yet, I’m just trying to get through this 15 minutes without crying or throwing up.
I make a beeline for the door as I watch her mouth open to dodge her request for coffee or to “lunch”.
You understand, don’t you?
You can’t rush into these things.
Looks like it was first day for me, too.