Beep, beep, beep.
What the hell was that?
Beep, beep, beep.
Seriously now, what was that racket? It was too early for—oh. Wait. School.
Still. Much too early.
I reached over and shut off my alarm. Why couldn’t I be a morning person? It would make things so much easier.
Still. The kids were going to school. It meant I could go to the library without reminding a little person that they had to whisper.
I got dressed and walked out into the hall—where I collided with Natalie.
“I’m already up!” she said joyfully. “I’m ready for Kindergarten!” Actually, she wasn’t. Yet. She was clad in her Tangled underwear.
I popped my head into Tommy’s room. He was dressed and ready to go. He’s always been a morning person.
“Tommy!” Natalie shouted when he raced for the stairs. “Let me go first! Ladies first!”
Tommy sighed but he let her pass. Sometimes it’s easier that way.
“What do you want for breakfast?” I asked. I’m not one of those parents who make a special meal on the first day. It’s cereal or microwave oatmeal.
“Frosted mini wheats!” Tommy said.
“Trix cereal! Silly rabbit! Trix are for kids!” Natalie giggled.
In the middle of preparing the cereal I forgot what I was doing. This happens because morning are evil. I stood in the kitchen for a couple minutes and was like, “What was I just doing?” Then it occurred to me that I needed the milk. Oh.
“Mommy!” Natalie said. Milk dribbled down her chin. Thank goodness I didn’t dress her before she ate. “I can’t wait to go. Will I make lots of friends?”
I rubbed my eyes. “I imagine you will.”
“Mommy!” Natalie continued, her mouth full of colored puffed corn. “What will I have for lunch?”
Didn’t she want to eat in silence? It wasn’t even 8 AM yet!
“A sandwich, chips, and pineapple,” I reminded her. Even though she had picked everything out yesterday.
Oh God. Why didn’t I like coffee? Why?
“If I need help opening something at lunch, I just ask, right?” Natalie wanted to know. She wiped her mouth with the back of her hand and gulped some water down.
“Yes. You just ask.”
“And if I need to pee?”
“You ask the teacher.”
“What if she says no?” Natalie asked, concerned.
“Then tell her she can clean up your pee,” I replied.
Tommy, by the way, was eating his cereal in silence. This was because he was on my iPod Touch.
After Natalie was done eating, I helped get her dressed. She’s not picky about what she wears most of the time. I’m glad. There are so many adorable outfits out for little girls.
“How do you want your hair?” I asked.
“Down. No. I mean, braids. No. I mean, piggies. No….down. No, I—”
“Braids it is,” I interrupted.
I got pictures of the kids:
Natalie was like, “I can even pose for you!”
It was too early for posing. I just wanted a picture for the memory book and then I was willing to move on.
I got Tommy to come out:
He’s all ready for fifth grade.
Trying to get a good picture of the two of them is tough:
“Is it almost time to go?” Natalie asked when pictures were over. She bounced from one foot to the other. “I’m ready to make friends. What do I say to them?”
I got down to her level and was like, “When in doubt, do the Bullwinkle.”
Please tell me other people have seen Full House? When Michelle started Kindergarten Joey told her to do the Bullwinkle and kids would like her. But wait? Didn’t kids call her strange when she did this? Crap. I might have given Natalie bad advice. Darn those Olsen twins!
It was finally time to go. Tommy left five minutes before us. He was not interested in walking with a five-year-old or his mother.
“I’m just thinking I’m going to get tired of walking,” Natalie sighed when we started out. The school is FIVE MINUTES AWAY by foot.
“Walking is good exercise,” I explained. I bit my tongue to keep from added, “In my day I had to walk a mile to school. Barefoot.”
“Would you carry me?” Natalie asked hopefully.
“No. You’re big enough to walk.”
“Ohh,” Natalie pouted.
She perked up when she saw other kids walking.
“Look! They’re going to school like I am. Hello! Hello people!” she said, waving.
Not surprisingly, she had no issues going into her classroom. I held her hand down the hall. I was all set to squat down to her level and give her a beautiful speech on growing up and how much I’d miss her. But as I prepared to lower myself, she walked right in the classroom.
What about my speech?!
I had to follow her in and get a hug.
“Teacher! Look at my princess backpack!” Natalie was saying, showing it off. “Boy sitting at the table! Look at my princess backpack!”
She was done with me.
I had raised her for five years, and she was done.
She didn’t need me to stick around or give her a speech.
“Have a good day, Natalie,” I said and hugged her.
“I will. Goodbye!” Natalie waved firmly, her polite dismissal.
A lump formed in my throat as I walked out of the classroom. My little girl was in Kindergarten. My son was in fifth grade. I had no children at home. A part of me felt like crying—like the lady against the wall with a red face. Thank goodness I’m not the only ugly crier out there. The other part—wanted to click her heels and dance off into the sunset. Or rather, sunrise. Or really, sun already in the sky but still early.
Here’s to an awesome new school year.