Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Not Really

So Natalie’s first day of preschool was Monday.

During the drive I asked Natalie if she was all ready for school.

“Not really,” Natalie answered nonchalantly.

What? Not really? What was the not really business? For a month straight Natalie had been prancing around the house with her backpack on singing a song that she made up about school. (“School, school, it’s fun and I like school!”)

“Not really?” I repeated, my voice raised a few octaves.

Natalie shrugged and didn’t offer anything else.

I gripped the wheel as I drove. What did this mean? Did this mean she’d scream the second I pulled up in front of the school? Was she going to freak out? Was I going to have to pull her aside and go, “Hey, Kate Gosselin, chill out, it’s preschool. You wanted to go here.”

Oh God. I didn’t need this. I was already bummed as it was that Tom wasn’t able to see her off on her first day. And now I had to deal with a potential meltdown. It was too early for a meltdown. I hadn’t even had caffeine yet.

When I pulled into a parking spot I dug through my purse and found my emergency Reeses Peanut Butter Cup. I keep one in there at all times in case I get stressed out. I was definitely stressed. I unwrapped the chocolate and shoved it in my mouth. A woman in a minivan pulled up beside me and did a double take when she spotted me making out with my treat. I watched as she got out of her vehicle dressed impeccably in skinny jeans and a tight blue shirt. She had on makeup and reached back to help her preschooler out (a little girl with a French braid—I don’t even know how to French braid) and while I was making myself feel better (“she’s so skinny because it’s been three years since she’s had her last kid so she’s had lots of time to work out...”) she lifted out a baby from its seat. And that baby couldn’t have been more than six months old.

I swallowed my chocolate. If I didn’t eat so much junk, I could be that skinny. But who could live a life without chocolate?

“You ready?” I asked Natalie, smiling.

“Nope,” Natalie said cheerfully. “Not at all.”

Ugh. I should have packed another Reeses Peanut Butter Cup.

“Well,” I said calmly, speaking as though I were conversing with a mental patient. “We’re going in.”

I thought Natalie would fuss. But she just shrugged and went, “I guess so.”

I could deal with I guess so.

I helped her from her seat and we walked hand in hand into the school. Her class wasn’t open yet so we waited in the hall. I showed Natalie her cubby space and set her backpack in there.

“Do I get it back?” Natalie wondered.

“Of course,” I promised.

When Natalie’s classroom door opened she hesitated for a brief second and then walked in. The teacher recognized her since we had gone to Back to School night and Natalie seemed to relax as she took everything in.

I thought she might cry. Especially with the comment that she made in the car. But she just sat down at a table where bubbles were set up, offered a shy smile to the little boy who settled down beside her, and basically forgot I was even there.

I gave her life and all I got was a bubble popped in my face.

Then I thought, hello, you were hoping she didn’t cry. Why are you acting so indignant that she doesn’t even care that you’re about to leave?

But...

I gave her LIFE dammit!

But....

You don’t want her to cry.

But...

She kept me up for HOURS for the first four months of her life.

But...

You don’t WANT her to cry.

“Well,” I said. “I guess I should go.”

I waited for a reaction from Natalie. A bubble popped against my cheek.

“I guess it’s that time,” I tried again. I mean, what was I expecting? I was glad there were no tears but couldn’t I get a hug, a thanks for raising me for three years, SOMETHING?

“Bye,” I said, deflated.

I walked back out to the car. I didn’t cry, I just had a lump in my throat.

When I returned to my empty house, I gazed around it in silence.

And then it hit me.

I was free.

For two hours.

I WAS FREE FOR TWO HOURS!

“EEEEEE!” I went, punching the air.

Max the Cat, who was sleeping on the couch, leaped in the air from fright and went tearing down the hall with a puffed tail.

“Sorry, Max,” I called out, still dancing around. I mean, yeah, I was still bummed that Natalie didn’t care that I left. But it was okay, didn’t it mean that she was like, independent or something?

I cleaned without having someone breathe down my neck and I even got to read a chapter in my book.

It was fabulous.

I went back to collect Natalie thinking that she’d come over to me like it was no big deal.

But instead, the second she saw me waiting she ran over with her arms stretched out wide.

“Mommy!” she said, and I scooped her up. She gave me a hug and a wet kiss on my cheek.

Ahhh. There was my thank you. She loved me. She really loved me.

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I found out that my guest post that I did for Jenn is up over here! Thanks Jenn, for asking me!

53 comments:

  1. My daughter was the same way last year, but the hug at the end of the day was worth it :)

    glad she had a good first day!!

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  2. So. JEALOUS. I wish I had some peace and quiet! Alas, though, I'm only on the first of my school-agers. Two more to go ...

    And I ALWAYS manage to park next to Perfectly Put Together Mom. Especially on days when I look like I just rolled out of bed and got in the car.

    Glad Natalie had a great day - I'm sure she'll love preschool!

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  3. Awww... of course she loves you -

    I'm glad she didn't fuss at her maximum potential! The storm would still be going on.

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  4. AWWW how sweet! We all KNOW she loved you silly! :)))

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  5. Admit it. She was the best-dressed girl there.

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  6. Of course there was never any doubt of her love...right? :-P

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  7. this brings back memories!! :o)

    so glad she had a great first day!!

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  8. The battle of a Mom's minds. I hope her dad gets a chance to read these too. Priceless

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  9. aww What a nice ending to her first day. A big hug for mommy!

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  10. *tear*
    i went through the EXACT same thing with my daughter! now she's 10 and going into 5th grade next week. i don't even get a backwards glance anymore :(

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  11. Okay, the total perfect ending to the story. :)

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  12. Aw what a sweet story! Soon this will be old news - but it's good to hear the first day went well!

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  13. Peace and quiet. I LOVE the house like that.

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  14. Awwwww!!!

    I'll be doing the Im Free dance next week! YAY!

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  15. So glad you BOTH had good days! And there is nothing better than that kind of greeting when you go pick them up. Mine now get off the bus, give me a sideways glance, and grumble about needing a drink. *sigh*

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  16. Sounds like you had a worse time than she did (expect for the FREEEEEE part)

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  17. Aw, it sounds like she'll do great in school! I think it's often harder on the moms than the kids! But enjoy your free time. You just keeping getting more and more of it. Yay!

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  18. Glad the first day of preschool went so well!

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  19. At least she didn't poop on the floor. Glad to hear that she missed you.

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  20. I'm glad she had a good first day! And I'm glad she was happy to see you after her first day. Mine sometimes didn't want to leave.

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  21. I totally did the "I'm Free Dance" when the school year started and I didn't have to report back at school. I wonder if it will be reversed when The Boy goes to school one day.

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  22. They never react the way you want them to, and then they surprise you with their reactions. Of course she loves you!

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  23. 'I gave her life and all I got was a bubble popped in my face.' That SO sums up motherhood! Glad she enjoyed it.

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  24. Oh, that brings back memories. It gets even worse when they walk out the door at 18 to go to uni. But sorry, I don't want to give you nightmares.

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  25. Sending all your kids off to school is so bitter-sweet, isn't it?

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  26. That is awesome...but you will have days that are the opposite.

    Clingy when you drop off - could care LESS when you pick her up. ;) Ahhh preschoolers!

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  27. Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.

    Free at last. Free at last.

    *fist bump* *high five*

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  28. Oooh, the secret Resse's stash is a great idea for when you're stressed. And yeah, who can live without chocolate?

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  29. Oh so bittersweet! Asher starts on the 13th..sob!

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  30. I am glad her first day went well for her...and pretty well for you.

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  31. Such bittersweet moments ... we waffle constantly between "Please don't grow up" and "When are you going to move out!" Enjoy your hours of independence!

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  32. It is bittersweet.Glad she did well. Enjoy your free time.

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  33. Lovely post, those skinny people cant REALLY be happy, can they?

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  34. My first did the screaming/crying/clinging thing for the first week. And then? He couldn't wait for me to leave. Second child, a few months in, cried that she "missed daddy" right around snack time (?). I will never forget the scream I let out when I dropped off #2 at preschool when the other was at pre-k. Two hours to myself! Too bad I was about 4 months pregnant so I knew it was limited freedom..and THANK GOODNESS for that emergency pbc!

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  35. That's amazing! I'm glad she had a great day!

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  36. So glad she didn't have a meltdown. And she looked so cute on her first day - saw the pic on Facebook!

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  37. So sweet! My boss' daughter had her shorts fall to her ankles in the middle of the cafeteria on her first day! poor thing! :)

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  38. This is such a sweet post. It brings back such memories :)

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  39. What a wonderful post! At once, so charming and so funny. I really enjoy your writing.

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  40. My 8 year old still runs up to me when I pick her up from school...and I still love it!

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  41. awww so sweet!! my kids are the same way...but i love that hug and smile on their face when they see me again!

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  42. I'm so very glad you got the reaction you needed!!

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  43. I'm so glad she did well!!! Jesse's reaction was almost exactly the same as Natalie's. I was a little bit jealous of the mom who picked up her preschooler, baby in tow, while wearing short shorts and a tiny top, showing off her perfectly tanned, skinny, no love handles or stretch marks, belly. :( I feel ya, babe. I feel ya. Off to get some more chocolate. :D

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  44. Making out with a reeses peanut butter cup, hehe Love it. My son went to pre-school recently and although he cried he loves it at the same time. I'm so glad Natalie gave you a big hug! This post for some reason brought a tear in my eye (= Thank you for sharing! Oh and the mom with skinny jeans, I'd much rather have chocolate than wear skinny jeans, keke!

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  45. I love those running hugs. They're the best. Maybe the woman in skinny jeans adopted? And has a team of nannies at home, so she has time to work out. And is allergic to chocolate.

    Yeah, that last one. I'm sure that's it.

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  46. That was the cutest post. And Natalie is the cutest......besides my ankle biter that is. ;)

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  47. Perfect.

    You got to have some time to yourself and your daughter is happy to see you.

    And, if I recall correctly, you got a Reese's cup.

    I'm glad the day was a success.

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  48. Awesome - Natalie didn't cry AND you got a big hug and kiss when you picked her up. Sounds like a win/win situation to me!

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