06 Sep Worst mom in the world. Happy first day of school!
I had the best laid plans. I bought Henry a new lunch box. Well, new to us; a used Planetbox with custom magnets with all his favorite things; tornadoes, a fire alarm, our Chrysler Town & Country and a family portrait.
Unknowingly, Cory’s parents also bought Henry a lunch bag, a brand new one with his initials on it. When they found out I had too, they said it was a fire alarm case for Henry’s collection. That worked out just fine. He brought the case with him everywhere.
I saved my gift for the morning before his first day of Kindergarten. When he saw it, his face lit up, just like I had hoped. And when he opened it, he was crestfallen. “I thought there would be a pull station in here,” he pouted. Fail. I disappointed my kid.
I bought him some special things for his lunch that I don’t usually get; chocolate almonds and sliced daiya “cheese.” He saw me unpacking it and asked for some. I really wanted to surprise him and was bummed he caught me so I said no. It was supposed to be special for the first day of school. He asked his dad and Cory didn’t know what was up so he gave him some. So I was angry about that. Another fail.
I meant to send him off to his first day of school with the best possible night’s sleep. We set alarms on our phones to mark the times; tubby time, brush teeth time, story time, lights out. Cory had to work tonight.
Leaving the office at 5:30 when I meant to leave at 5 (it was my intern’s first day and I suck at wrapping up conversations) and then trying to squeeze in a work phone call on my drive home that ran over by half an hour, I arrived home to the kids having had dinner, fried green tomatoes, pasta, edamame. My mom cooked it for them.
I awkwardly tried to make plans for a friend to come and look at these quartz crystals my mom is selling as part of their downsizing (big garage sale in Killington these next few weekends), but mom left and the friend came and Henry said he wanted a real dinner because he hadn’t eaten with me and so I fixed Henry, Danny and me three bowls of cereal which we ate around the friend, and then another friend came by to drop off some hand me downs, and Henry and his buddy played a while while I vented about what a terrible mother I am for feeding my kids cereal dinner and cleaned up after the boys and washed the dishes and it got later and the alarms went off and I ignored them all.
Meanwhile, Henry had his very first homework; a sheet that said “on the night before the first day of school…” and he drew a picture of himself eating Captain Crunch for dinner. Danny also drew on it and it got grease splatters on it. FML. Big fail.
Then everyone left and Henry wanted ice cream and was whining and I just lost it at him, like it was his fault that all my plans went to pot. Way to go, mama. Nice send off for the first day of school.
I gave myself a time out. Stood on the front porch and looked at the sky and took some deep breaths. Went inside and gave Henry a popsicle and took Dan up for tub and story. Henry came up and had to run his own bath, and I washed him after I put Dan down. We talked.
Henry’s used to me, I guess. He bounced back. Then I had him brush his own teeth while I went downstairs to get the photo album and he whined to me from the top of the stairs about me leaving him alone about a thunderstorm and I raced upstairs to growl viciously and threaten him about waking his brother up.
And he told me I was the worst mom in the world and I told him he was right. And then he hugged me and we both apologized and talked some more about it. And we looked at photos of him when he was just born. And his friend from Pre-K called to wish him a happy first day.
I told him to look at everyone’s faces and see how much they loved him. How very loved he is, and to remember that.
And to tell his teacher if he needs a drink of water or to go to the bathroom. And to take pictures in his mind of all his new friends and all the moments that happen tomorrow so he can come home and tell me about the pictures he took.
We talked about a few of the classmates he met and their names and some of the things he might do in class.
And he was really jazzed up and I said, “It’s exciting, isn’t it? Hard to get sleepy.” He said, yeah. I went out on a limb and asked him if he wanted me to sing to him. He remembered and said, “like when I was a baby?” I said yes. He said yes.
And I sang him the song we would sing to him every single night, over and over and over, the first year of his life; Now it’s time to say goodnight. Goodnight, sleep tight. Now the sun turns out its light. Goodnight, sleep tight. Dream sweet dreams for me, dream sweet dreams for you.
And he drifted right off to sleep. And it was before 9 p.m.
So I’m sending him in to school with a disappointing lunch box, and snacks he’s already had before, and he had Captain Crunch (why, oh why couldn’t I at least have given him granola or, geez, even Cheerios?) for dinner and his teacher’s first impression of me is that I don’t give my child a proper dinner, and I yelled at him about things that weren’t really his fault. Big fat fails for this worst mom in the world.
But I sang him to sleep. And we looked at pictures. And I think I said a couple of the right things that mom’s say before the first day of school.
One of my favorite poems by Andrea Gibson goes, life doesn’t rhyme, it’s bullets and wind chimes. Yeah.