Anyone who has read this blog for more than a year knows the school year brings on a lot of mixed feeling for me. Terror, horror and panic round out the top three. I regress to my plaid panted bowl cut youth faster than you can say, “Plaid panted bowl cut.”
This morning was no different. It was Elijah’s first day of First Grade.
The evening before was not conducive to a great first day of school. Diana had come down with a serious sinus infection and he hacking and coughing resulted in a Keystone Cops-esc shuffling of children and adults and beds. At one point I think I slept in our craw space next to the human-sized hole someone dug into the ground (the human sized hole is true).
As the boys spilled their cereal onto our couch and watched “Spy Kids” on Netfix, Diana announced that she was too sick to take Eli to school. No one was happy about it. But I compensated for the lack of mommy by completely stressing out.
I demanded Eli get in the car 25 minutes before school, even though it takes 3 minutes to drive. On the way, I asked him if he was scared. Was he scared? Was he scared? Was he scared? Because it was okay if he was freaking out and wanted to throw up because Dad gets freaked out a lot, especially at work. They’re called panic attacks and they run in the family. Sometimes just the mere mention of panic attacks can bring on a panic attack.
Eli said, “I don’t think I am scared. Maybe I’m half scared, half not scared.” I think he overplayed the percentages to make me feel better.
We arrived at school 22 minutes early and I turned the car off. I leaned over the seat and said, “I love you, Eli. I am proud of you and I think you are a great kid. Have a great day.”
He said, “The school is that way,” and pointed east.
We walked up to his old Kindergarten entrance. I asked Eli if this is where he needed to be dropped off. He didn’t know. HE DIDN’T KNOW.
I told him to remain calm and not to panic. Eli looked around for a real adult and found a nice woman with a clipboard. She directed us around the corner to the First Grader’s door.
There I found a few other moms. I chatted with them, confident they could not see my crazy eyes underneath my sunglasses.
The school bell rang and Eli lined up with the rest of his class. I shouted, “I love you!”
And in a supreme act of kindness, he yelled back, “I love you too.”