I sat in the corner and set the kids up with crayons and paper. Des adorably shouted out across a long conference table, “Hi Mama!”, and his beaming voice brought smiles to other nervous parents. Were they nervous? Was it their first time? I was nervous. It wasn’t my first time. I chatted with a friend and watched several people come and go. I thought I had grace on my side but I was sitting in the back and the Registrar couldn’t see me, so she kept getting paperwork from others first. I sat.
My friend left and the kids continued to color quietly, shout my name over a long table filled with parents, or sit on my lap at the same time. They started bickering and my nerves got the best of me. A dad who came much later than me and pushed his paperwork ahead of people waiting, then continued to ask the Registrar a ton of questions she shouldn’t have had to answer. I rolled my eyes so hard it hurt. I really hope no one saw me! It was the nerves, honestly. Someone I know and trust helped push the papers through. Des was registered rather quickly, and then we celebrated at Friendly’s. I even ate some ice cream!
What else can I say? This is where I discovered my PTSD with Scarlet, and it was NOT run-of-the-mill kindergarten anxiety. This was something completely different. It’s easier now, because I’ve done the work. I’m partly there and I don’t know if there’s a way to ever be fully there, but we do what we can, don’t we? It’s harder now, because he’s my second, and I was the second and sometimes I see myself in him so much, it’s like a slap to the face. And maybe that’s ok. I wish I remembered this verbatim but it was sweet and fumbling, rather than smooth-talking. I had made him lunch and I was washing the dishes and he had to stumble and fumble for words. The gist of it is that he said, “I love you so much.” I said, “I love YOU so much.”
Today is “Pajamas Day” OR “Dress Like Your Favorite Book Character Day” at school. Scarlet found a way to do both, because her favorite book character (Scarlett the Garnet Fairy) wears a red gown and wings, and Scarlet has a gorgeous red nightgown. She paired it with wings, slippers, and a ruby necklace. She had this laid out THREE DAYS ago because she was so excited. It was the full outfit, and also a stuffie and a book. The morning was hectic with Des going to the dentist, and me trying to tally up her read-a-thon minutes and write a check to the school. Des and Cassidy left, and we got ready to go.
She had her stuffie and book waiting on the staircase to leave. We left in a puff of crazy and she didn’t realize until we were at school that they didn’t make it with us. She begged me to go home and get them. She said she’d do anything. I instilled tough love and said it wasn’t my responsibility. She begged and pleaded. I wouldn’t budge. Her friends were on the playground and she begged and pleaded with me to go see them with her. I thought she should do that on her own too. Tough love again. Finally she went, small and alone, and found them. I went home to find the stuffie and book lovingly placed on the stairs. I lost it. I burst into tears. I couldn’t catch my breath. I got back in the car and brought them to school.
I was shaking and the secretary let me in, and gave me the green light to the classroom. I ran. One of her second grade friends saw me in the hallway and waved broadly. I went in and the teacher nodded at me to proceed. One of her friends said, “Scarlet, your mom is here!” The LOOK ON HER FACE WHEN SHE TURNED AND SAW ME. It was love and relief and excitement and more love and thanks. She melted into my arms. I said, “These are for you,” and handed her the stuffie and the book. She thanked me a million times. We hugged again. I ducked out, but not before looking back twice to see her again.
Tough love? Meh. Maybe another day. I got home and I saw that stuffie and that book, as if they were waiting for me. In one gut instinct move, I seized them in my arms and didn’t rest until they were safely nestled in HER arms. For her day.
Janine Huldie says
Aw, I know this feeling times two, as well and seriously not sure how I made it through Kindergarten registration and more twice. But I did and now I just can’t believe that my baby will be in 2nd grade in a few short months. Where did the time go?!! And yet, she loves school and her friends, but she is still my baby in some ways, especially will being my shadow at times. Like she told me this morning, she didn’t want to go to dance (which she loves) tonight, because she wanted to spend the time with me. I was torn as I know I will only have this for so long, too. But I know she needs to spread her wings and go to her class. Still I want to hold on for dear life. May sound silly, but still…So, get it my friend and so many hugs to you on this momentous occasion.
And the fact that your baby will be in second grade. WOW! I got chills! I swear I’m going to have more kids because of this disgrace. I know you don’t feel the same and that’s ok! You are the best!!
AnnMarie John says
Awww! I can’t believe that our babies are both starting kindergarten this year. I haven’t registered Madison as yet but I plan on doing that soon. Sometimes tough love is necessary but you’re just like every mom I know, we still give in at times. We’re going to be the best kindergarten moms ever and I can’t wait!
I know. I can’t believe it either. We’ve been around the block a few times since we “met”, huh? Crazy.
lisa thomson-The Great Escape... says
Good choice, Tamara. I think saying no to begin with made her realize mom won’t always fix everything (that’s okay too) but then to bring them in showed her how much you care and love. Tough love is, well, friggin’ tough! Des looks adorable for K registration. Nice work on both of your babies, Mamma!
Thank you! That whole scenario made me think and rethink so much, but ultimately, I followed my heart. And I don’t believe she’s worse off for it.
Oh, Tamara – it’s been WAY too long since I read your words here and not just a glimpse or a great photo on FB. This line, “sometimes I see myself in him so much, it’s like a slap to the face.” YES. I have that with my daughter, a firstborn girl to me, a firstborn daughter, and it. is. so. hard. sometimes. Also, my heart was thudding in my chest during your tough love moments, though I understand – and then, I was racing back to school with you and shaking too and my heart burst with the love and relief and joy from your daughter. YOU ARE AWESOME. And you would still be awesome had you just sobbed on your stairs and let it go. Because Scarlet probably would’ve been okay either way, right? Kids are resilient, thank freaking goodness. BUT. I think you bringing those stuffies, making the choice to CHANGE YOUR MIND and follow your gut and not worrying about being the right kind of mom or whatever, is what also makes you YOU and wonderful and I love you. What I find most challenging about parenthood (one of the many things) is NOT KNOWING WHAT THE HELL IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO. But sometimes what I realize, is that BOTH are the right things to do. And you did both. xoxoxoxo
I love that you read my words! Especially THIS post!!
And you know that heart thudding in your chest feeling. Mine must have thudded for a straight hour until I had her things IN her hands.
It’s so crazy, right? Not knowing the right thing to do. I believe that when we follow our hearts, our kids are never worse off for it. I have to believe that.
Been there and don that! Yes it is there responsibility but as moms, we need to reinforce that we are there to help when they need it – so good job! Glad you got through kinder registration ok. Always good to choose love! 🙂
I appreciate that wisdom so much!! I really feel like we all have been there, or will be there, and.. man.. it’s not easy.
Choosing love is the answer!
Kristi Campbell says
This is beautiful and I’m SO glad you went back to school with her book and her stuffie. GAH to the kindergarten registration. Sigh. It’s SO HARD, friend. So hard. How are our kids getting so OLD? They’re still little kids though. Babies, almost. That’s what I’m telling myself.
They are still little kids.. right?? When are they big kids? I’m thinking 18. Or 30.
Kenya G. Johnson says
This was sooooooo sweet. Scarlet had me wanting to go get the stuffie after you said you left her looking “small”. I could see it as if you had a picture. I’m not happy you had to experience your emotions getting the best of you but it is also all around a sweet happy story. Christopher called me from the nurses office one time. When I heard his small voice, I said “What’s wrong buddy?” He said, “Can you bring me some more shoes? I stepped in dog poop?” After a few questions of me asking if he’d rubbed his feet off in the grass etc, his small voice got me and I’d said I’d be right there. It’s the little things. This year early on he forgot his laptop and his teacher sent me an e-mail which I received immediately. In the email her tone was very sympathetic and she said she thought I’d make his day if I could bring it to him. So I brought it. They called him up to the office and I said, “This is the only time I’ll ever bring you your laptop. After today it’s your responsibility to remember.” He gave me a quick hope no one’s looking middle school hug and said thank you. 😉
Aw!! I agree about the little things. His small voice! I bet you can still hear it in your voice, right?
And what his teacher did? That made MY day. I love that. You would have been awesome in her eyes either way, but she was being intuitive.
Good grief, why did you have to make me cry when I already have a cold????? lol I couldn’t have done it either. But I did not realize Des was already old enough for kindergarten. Wow. I’d seen you mention it before, but I thought you meant 4K.
I’m sorry! Although crying with a cold sometimes clears the sinuses, no? Or clogs them right up!
Des will be five in June, and in our town, you have to be five by September 1st to start kindergarten that year. He’ll be young for his class, but not too young. Sob.
Oh! Okay, he has a solid year on JD, who will be 4 in June. Good luck!! I”m sure you’ll both do great!
Lindsay Klein says
This was definitely a cause for love not the tough kind….She didn’t do anything maliciously and yes “forgot” the stuffie/book, and sure can learn responsibility, but the real lesson learned was that she can count on you. Love this, even though it hurt my heart to visualize it, again!
The first thing I did after crying, was to tell you guys! I knew you’d get it!
You’re such a good mom!
Thank you! All I can do is try.
Good choice. I would have done the same. There is the tough love lesson and the I love you so much that I’ve got your back when you need me. Well done 🙂
You worded it perfectly. Thank you!
Awww, Tamara… You are such a wonderful momma <3 I love that you brought her back her stuffie. I dunno… I'd melt and give in and bring it to her too, as you said–there will be other life lessons that pop up… sometimes we choose what's in our hearts and that's completely fine 🙂
XOXO always love catching up and seeing what's new in your world
Exactly. I do the tough love lesson more often than not. I think this will be memorable in a positive way!!
I can only imagine the nerves I will exhibit while registering my Kids for kindergarten. I already have to take lots of deep breaths while doing everyday activities like going to the store or merging onto the freeway. Kindergarten Registration would require tons of deep breaths. I think you handle the situation very very well. I love Scarlets Star Wars sweater.
Wow, we have that in common. I never did until the last few years. It’s mostly under control with breathing and talking, but every now and then I’ll get hit with anxiety that is long lasting and hard to beat down.
(I really want Scarlet’s sweater in my size!)
Dr. J says
Way to go, Mom!! For me, it wasn’t just the first day at kindergarten. The way our family moved around, I went to several different schools before I ever got to middle school! Really, at my first day at medical school,, I could have used a little snuggie 🙂
Aw, I hope someone left you a note in your lunch, at least!!
Aww, I had tears in my eyes. What you did for Scarlet, I’d probably do something like that if it happens to Reiko because I think I just can’t stand seeing him broken. Thumbs-up for surviving Kindergarten registration! Although it’s just the beginning, we know it’s a good one! 😉
You worded it well – you can’t stand to see him broken. It stays with me for ages. Sometimes years!!
Are you kidding me?! I would have done the same. Tough love is there and you will have PLENTY of moments to use it I’m sure but I’m really happy you went back. She will NEVER forget it and neither will you. <3
High five, Mama!!
LOVE this! Totally agree – sometimes you just have to give in to the love. You’re an awesome mama. I still remember registering my boys for kindergarten.
I bet! And now you’ve taken such big steps. College. Gulp!! You rock!
Okay, what Does said to you? I died a little bit too.😥
Thank you! It really hits you, right?
Sonya K says
There will be lots of time for lessons. 🙂 But you are constantly teaching your kids kindness. I’m glad Scarlet got her stuffed and book.
I love all these comments. I really don’t feel an ounce of regret about it, except maybe that I was so tough on her to begin with!
Kimberly M (@momgosomething) says
Oh this is too sweet. You’re such a good Mama Tamara.
Kindergarten registration is hard and I know it is especially hard on you. Big but gentle hugs.
Yup, it feels a bit crazy again, but not as crazy. Luckily.
XOXO to you.
Bev Feldman @ Linkouture says
Oh, I’m starting to learn these tough-love moments (and the ones that can wait!). I bet the look on Scarlet’s face was priceless when she saw you there. These are the moments that make it all worth it <3
That face is still imprinted on my mind!
Tough love IS HARD.