Wednesday, September 07, 2005


It's Always Darkest Before the Dawn

No, this isn't another post about New Orleans, although my heart still hurts every time I read about the situation there (and Madeleine, thank you for the kind note. You're more welcome than we can say.)

(And I'm pleased to note that the wool I've dyed for auction is drying outside as we speak. My, there's an awful lot of it!)

This is a post about my daughter. My tiny baby.

My silly muppet.

My great big happy moosebaby.

My crazy nugget.

My great big girl.

Tomorrow morning at 9am, I have to turn this small person over to the authorities.

No, stop the panicking, there isn't any sort of child protection order going on here. I may well be the third-worst housekeeper in the world, but there's nothing of that sort happening.

No, I'm speaking of the day that all mothers look forward to with eager anticipation until it's here.

I'm speaking, of course, of The First Day of Kindergarten.

The day I have to turn her over to the public school system. The system that failed me so badly and that failed my husband almost disastrously. The system that will mold her and shape her and take her away from me.

Oh god, I need another year. She isn't tough enough. She isn't big enough. Dammet I haven't bought her a gun yet and there will be boys there!


I'll be ok, and she'll be more than ok. She's ready to go. She needs the structure and the routine and I'm betting she'll love it. I need the time and space and really, I can't do math past a second grade level, but dude.

Dude, she's so little.

I'll let her go, freely and with joy, but man ...

Aw fuck, does anyone have a tissue?

I completely understand. get yourself a box of tissues and let the tears flow. I had to put my three year old on the school bus last year. Watching her try to manage the steps was enough to make me a complete mess.
I'm there. My B-man is in third grade this year. Soon he will be out on his own; it seems like he is growing up that fast. He I took him to Kindergarten and the bus brought him home. He thought that was the greatest thing he ever did. I don't know.....we teach them don't talk to strangers and then we send them off to be with strangers.
Being kidless, I can only imagine what it must be like for you. Bittersweet, I expect.

My sister's a schoolteacher. She loves involved parents. You're only handing 'em over to be tossed about it you decide not to be involved. I'm sure if it's possible to wring a good education out of a public school (and it is) you will be a parent who will make that happen.

If nothing else, I can't imagine you raising a kid who wouldn't turn out to be sensitive (in the good sense) with a sturdy sense of humor, and those two things will surely help prevent the damage the system might otherwise inflict.

BTW, Erin's right - cry now. My mom waited until my first day of college and it was far more embarrassing.
You said everything I'm thinking. My son (who will be 4 in December) starts Junior Kindergarten next Wednesday. We meet his teacher tomorrow. He is just so small to be starting, but the cut-off date is December 30th and he comes in 2 weeks before that ... He is excited. I am stressed. He will do just fine. I will be a bawling little baby ...

Franklin's right about being involved...the schools in Montréal are not fabulous and yet, who's got the money to send a kid to private school? That would not be me. So. Twinkletoes is half the size of her peers, thanks to being born so early, and watching her stand in line to go to first grade this year just made my stomach hurt. Kindergarten was almost easier. This year, it's serious business, no naps, real pencils, pointy scissors, and mean people. Holy shit. Pass the tissues.
I remember standing in the street, watching the bus drive away with both my boys on it, tears flowing down my cheeks. My husband had to take me to the house. I couldn't see to walk.

Now, the bus comes, I dance. But, they're 13 and 15. I try to remember we're raising people, and this is only one step in so many we have to take - both beside them and behind them.
You can share my box. ;-]
Here's a hug for ya.

At my son's kindergarten orientation last year--not even the first day yet!--the janitor had to go hunt for the kleenex because I was crying. (Not where my son could see me, mind you.) Even this year--first grade--I had a couple moms over for tea in the morning so I wouldn't be weepy and then cried when they left. (hopeless!)

I had a similar feeling last year--I'm handing my sweet, sensitive boy over to THE MAN! My boy is going to be institutionalized! (A year later, I can say it hasn't been that bad. But if the boy scouts keep bugging him/us to join, I might have to stage an intervention...)
It will be easier than you think, for both of you. I have 3 already in school, and one left who will be soon enough. It grabs your heart, but eases up a bit after a little while. You are strong enough to get through even this. I'd send you some tissues if I knew where to.
Having sent 4 of them off to the authorities, I would offer you some wise, grandmotherly advice if I had any. I could say, "Stay busy.", and "In time, you'll welcome the day school starts.", and "Enjoy your 'me' time now that you have some.", but you know what? Nothing I can say will ease your anxiety and dread. I mourn with you. Mine are out there with the mean people with little ones of their own now.


speaking as a mom who has sent 4 off into that kindergarten world, i understand. sending my first was tough! that's my baby! sending my second was tough, that's my little tomboy! she'll get teased for being so boyish! sending my third was tough, that's my little man, i can't let him go! sending my fourth was tough, taht is my youngest, my sweetest, my baby boy! but you know what? i survived, and you will too. just make sure you have the kleenex hidden out of site, and smile that smile that she knows means it will be ok, and laugh like it's going out of style (i'm quoting bad country songs, forgive me). she will always be your baby, and your little girl. as for franklin's advice, take it. be involved. get the teacher's email. talk to them on a regular basis. teachers who know the parents care and are involved will respond back. this from an emailing mom, who got ALL her new 7th grader's teachers' emails and even the administrator email. you go girl, it's your daughter, and they will respond to that. (i'm running off at the mouth, sorry!)
Oh, it's so HARD! The weirdest thing is they start having all these experiences that you aren't around for. Being involved is wonderful - you get to see them in a whole different context. We started doing gratitudes at night partly so I could get a little information - something in the day we are thankful for, something maybe we are not (non-gratitudes), and something we are looking forward to for the next day.

I LOVE that set of pictures. :)
right there with ya mama! My BIG boy started First Grade this week and my Middle baby boy started Kindergarten. Seeing them walk up the bus steps was so heart wrenching. They were so happy and ready, and I was a mess. Now that I am home all morning with just baby girlie, I am not minding soooo much. But it is a big, big step.
update please!! how was the first day - did she survive? did you??
I hope you're still accepting comments here. I'm way behind in my reading...

I just sent my Baby Boo off to college. Next year The Cakers goes to kindergarten.

The youngest reminds me of what the eldest used to be. And the eldest reminds me of what my Cakers will all too soon become.

All these things are to be mourned and celebrated.

It sucks.
An'nit don't.
Such is the being of human.
Busyness kept me from reading sooner. Thank dog for the weekends.

I have something in my eye that's making it water.

Life's passages always hurt the ones left watching. Missy Moo will do just fine and with your plans to be there, so will you.

A bit of unasked-for advice: Stay right there as much as you can. Not in the room, just in the building. Extra hands are (almost) always welcome. The staff will get to know you and after a while, you'll be like the paint on the wall and will hear and discover all sorts of things. And you will be amazed at others' response to your child. They will care because they can see that you do!

Just you wait until the wedding,. I just got back from giving my daughter away. I was a CHB (Cold Hearted Bitch who sheds no tears) during the ceremony, but now, two days later when all the rush, rush, rush and a million things to think about and do is, NOW I am a mess and I am in tears. My littlest girl is gone. Oh sure, she left to live with him nearly 5 years ago, but now she is Mrs. Angus, and she is his. *sob*

Kindergarten is just the start. At that point they suddenly have a bit of life that you are not privy to.....but it gets worse, just you wait until the wedding Rabbitch, just you wait.
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