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.