My baby is starting kindergarten in September.
And it is destroying me.
She is so excited. I am pretending that I am excited, but what I really want is for us to hang out together all day long. She's really good company. We sleep late. She cheers me on when I try to shoot the squirrels with a BB gun. She helps me in the garden. She says to me a dozen times a day, "Mom, you know what's better? Being with you."
When she goes to school, I'm afraid she will get in trouble. I'm afraid that the teacher will be mean to her. I'm afraid that other kids will be mean to her. Or worse, that she'll be mean to other kids. When I was in kindergarten, I was wrongly accused of stealing someone else's oreos at "milk break," and I was sent to the coatroom. When the teacher realized that I hadn't stolen them, but someone else had, I was given *their* oreos to eat....still in the coatroom. If a teacher did that to my baby, I don't know how I'd stop myself from going down to the school and yelling at her.
Bullies are different today. When I was young, a bully was the kid that would follow you home from school and maybe punch you in the stomach. These days, there is the terrifying phenomenom of cyber-bullying. 20 years ago, it was really just "picking on" someone, maybe writing a mean note, or passing a message through someone that you wanted to fight.,,which rarely ever happened. I was picked on. A lot. I picked on other kids. It was nothing compared to what happens today. Damn Facebook. I hope it's not around in 10 years. Maybe it will stop being cool and turn into a place where old ladies share recipes.
Until a year ago, my husband was the stay at home parent, and I left for work everyday, sometimes for weeks at a time. I hated sneaking out of the house at 4am for a taxi that would take me to the airport. You just can't explain it to a 1 or a 2 year old, or even a 3 year old that you're not going to be there when they wake up. I realized that it was a problem when all of us started getting used to me leaving. So when I pictured Mimi starting kindergarten, I used to think that it would only be Austin that freaked out. That man loves his kids intensely. Because he's been at home with Mimi since she was born, they are especially close and have a tight bond.
I just want to add that nobody, absolutely nobody in the world loves babies as much as my husband does. He is always the first to volunteer to hold a baby at dinnertime so its parents can eat, he points out babies while we're shopping, and he has a wonderful patience with them. Plus, he has a nice face that makes babies smile.
I've spent the past 10 months spending my days with Mimi (and working at night), and I feel like I'm making up for lost time. She's my best friend, although she will deny it. In fact, when I tell her she's my bestie, she says, "No. We are not best friends. We are mother and daughter." The other day, while on my way out the door to work, I actually offered her a dollar to be my best friend. She agreed, but only for the day, which was totally unfair because I wasn't going to be home to reap the benefits. And now we're especially close. We have a tight bond. How can I let her go off to school and leave me at home every day?
To all the parents: How do you do it? Does it get easier? Will I eventually look forward to Mondays and the end of summer?