The alarm went off early in the morning.
I groaned and buried my head deeper into the pillow to try and stifle out the noise.
It didn't work.
If anything, my alarm became insulted that I was attempting to ignore it and grew louder.
"Okay," I mumbled. "Okay."
I sat up and turned the alarm off. Then I sort of sat there in confusion for a few minutes. What was going on? Why was I up so early again? What in the world is wrong with Heidi Montag? Is it inappropriate that my daughter says, "Sooo Meaty!" since I allow her to watch The Soup on the E! channel?
At least the answer came to me for one of my questions:
Why was I up so early again? Oh right. Tommy. School. First day.
I forced myself out of bed and stumbled to pull out a pair of what I dub 'comfy pants.' Comfy pants are basically the bottoms of those jogging outfits. I have them in a variety of colors: pink, black, brown, purple and when I'm feeling exceptionally bold, white. I always pair that with t-shirt. I try to match but sometimes that just doesn't happen. That morning I made an effort to match because I knew I'd be taking Tommy to the bus stop and I didn't want to embarrass him.
Then I walked over to Tommy's room and threw open the door. He bolted right up from his bed.
"Is it time? Am I going to school today? Second grade! Do you think I'll have homework? Hi Max the Cat, good morning! I'm excited about wearing my brand new shoes. Will they really make me run faster?" He shot off questions, one after the other while I stood there staring blankly at him with my mouth agape. I've never understood how he had so much energy in the morning.
"Happy first day of second grade," I managed to croak out because I don't want my son's memories of me to be that of a half-dead mother who shuffled around the house in a half asleep stupor.
"Thanks!" Tommy said brightly and jumped out of bed. Because he's my kid he nearly went sprawling to the ground but then he regained his balance. Then he went over to his clothes, which I had left folded on top of his toy chest that I know he'll eventually be too old for. It's blue with a teddy bear on it and I know one day he'll say, "Mom. This needs to go. I'm not a baby anymore."
I settled down on Tommy's bed while he got dressed.
"Don't see my underwear!" he sang and I promptly shut my eyes.
A few minutes later he told me I could open them again.
"Mommy?" he said. "I SAID open your eyes!" He came over and pulled my arm.
Oh. Crap. I had nearly fallen asleep.
Then we headed downstairs and I asked what cereal he wanted. He tapped his chin as though this were an important decision.
"Froot Loops," he finally decided.
I poured him a bowl and brought it over to the table. Then I got him a glass of water and sat down.
"Aren't you going to eat?" Tommy asked.
I rubbed my eyes. "Mommy's stomach is still asleep. I'll eat when it wakes up," I replied.
I really really wish that I liked coffee. I think coffee would help the mornings. But I've never gotten a taste for it. I've tried a variety of flavors and none of them have stuck. I usually get my caffeine in the form of diet sodas but I don't allow myself to have one until lunch.
Tommy ate in silence for a few minutes. Then he cocked his head to the side, chewing thoughtfully. "Will I be on the same playground as first grade?" he wondered.
"I think so," I answered. At the Back to School night I had peeked out the window and it looked like it was the same playground as before.
Tommy sighed. "Oh darn," he muttered.
We took pictures before we headed to the bus stop:
(For fun, here are pictures of him on his first day of Kindergarden and first grade respectively..)
After pictures, I walked him to the bus stop which is just across the street. Usually he walks to it himself but I wanted to be there on his first day. He held my hand at first but when we approached the bus shack, he abruptly dropped it. He said hello to a few of his friends and I said hello to the other mother that was standing there. She was actually dressed in jeans and a t-shirt with her hair neatly brushed.
Crap! Did I forget to brush my hair?
I heard the mother say to her daughter, "Did you enjoy your big breakfast?" and the little girl nodded her head. "I love bacon!" she said happily.
I know some parents cook their kids big breakfasts on the first day. I served my kid cereal. From a box. I looked down at Tommy, who was kicking a rock with his shoe.
"Hey Tommy?" I said softly. "You don't mind that I didn't make you eggs, do you?"
He shook his head. "You'd probably burn them," he said kindly. He wasn't being mean, just speaking the truth.
"Well, I hope you have a great first day," I said, rubbing his head. He allowed me to do this for a few seconds but then moved away so that my hand was left stroking the air. Tommy gives me subtle signs that he's growing up and I know it's inevitable, but it doesn't make it sting less.
"If anyone is mean to you," I whispered. "You tell an adult."
Most kids are pretty nice to Tommy. But there are some, who I've dubbed Little Shits, who make fun of the way he runs awkwardly and the fact that he wags his fingers when he gets excited.
"I will," Tommy assured me but I knew it was unlikely. Tommy has been known to take the cruel jabs and then burst into tears. Sometimes I've heard him shout, "Stop it! You're being mean!" which only causes the brats to laugh. I once witnessed this in our front yard and it took all my might not to stomp out there and spin the brats around the yard by their ankles roughly or take them by their ears and drag them to their homes and demand to know what kind of parent would allow such behavior.
Then Blake, the World's Most Annoying Kid, bound over to us.
"Hi Tommy's Mom!" he said even though I've asked him more than a hundred times to call me Miss Amber.
"Hi," Tommy and I both said in unison. Blake is actually pretty nice to Tommy which is why I tolerate him. But sometimes the Little Shits try to drag Blake away from Tommy just to be mean.
"Why are you here, Tommy's Mom?" Blake asked.
I shrugged. "Ask God, I guess," I replied.
Blake screwed up his face. "What?" Obviously my lame joke went right over his seven-year-old head.
"It's Tommy's first day. I wanted to be here," I explained.
"Why? That makes no sense," Blake said.
Oh geez. It was too early to get into it with Blake. Conversations with Blake could take hours. The kid just doesn't give up.
"I just wanted to see Tommy off since it's his first day of second grade," I tried again. Then I heard the rumble of the bus approaching and knew I was safe. Thank goodness!
I tried to give Tommy a hug but he quickly pulled away.
"Mom." He shot me a Look as he got in line.
Oh. Right. The growing up thing.
"You have a great first day," I said primly even though what I really wanted to do was burst into tears and pull him against my chest and cry into his blond hair. How did you get so big? How are you seven? Weren't you just a baby yesterday???
I waved as he climbed on the bus and waved some more as the bus pulled off and sputtered down the street. I still waved even when the bus was out of sight and then realized that I better stop, that people might be staring out the window and wondering what the Crazy Lady with the Crazy Hair was doing.
I came back inside where Tom was waiting with Natalie, who seemed a little sad that her playmate was gone.
"Brother at school?" she asked me sadly.
I sighed. "Yes. Brother is at school," I replied as my heart tugged.