I didn’t want them to see me
Today was the first day of school for my kiddos. My 7 year-old arrived eager, confident, and happy. She has a terrifically sunny disposition and sees good in most everything.
My 5 year-old can be a bit nervous at times, but is a lot of fun. He was soooooo ready to go to kindergarten. He smiled big and was the first one in the car.
When we pulled in the school parking lot, a switch flipped. He went so white I thought he would faint. After a very tearful departure, my day was ruined. I was terrified that my son was miserable and would never like school.
As the day progressed my fears eased and I went about my necessary tasks. Unfortunately one of the tasks brought me right past school to the post office. We live in a small town. There was no avoiding it. It was near lunch time and I just knew my son would be out at recess, see me, and take off running. What was I going to do?
I drove as quickly as was safely possible past the school, never pausing to look at the faces of the playing children. I ran in and out of the post office as quickly as possible and got the heck out of Dodge. No children came crying down the street so I felt like I bypassed that landmine and went back to my to-do list.
Getting groceries was the last thing to do on my list. After purchasing all of the things on my list, I could do one of two things.
1. Drive the four miles home, drop off the groceries, and prolong my son’s misery by not being one of the first parents at school.
2. Go sit in the parking lot and work on my coursework for the new class I start teaching next week and greet my babies with open arms as soon as they were dismissed.
Option 2 was my choice.
It turned out to be a terrifying decision. I was going to park in the back parking lot (so as to not be visible from the school), but as luck would have it, there were classes on the back playground having P.E.
It was horrible! I couldn’t stop. What if my son or daughter were there and they broke down wanting me to take them early. I kept driving.
Now the road that runs behind school is a dead-end. It takes you past a few houses but dead ends at the home of my friend Cindy. I had no where else to go. Unfortunately, I couldn’t just turn around or hang out in her drive way because her wonderfully friendly husband was pulling out as I was pulling in. I didn’t want them to see me. He waved really big and I knew I had to stop.
Cindy was in her kitchen and greeted me warmly after I rang the door bell. I had to do it. I didn’t want my kids to see me.
I broke down and told her about the rough start to the day and she was so supportive. She shared stories of anxieties with her kids and simply served as a sounding board. She was the one person I was glad that saw me.
At 3:15 exactly I left Cindy’s home and headed to school. I filed into the forming line of eager parents and watched as my children went to the next cone for me to pick them up. When they got in the car, I could tell they were glad to see me and that made all the difference.
I didn’t want them to see me cry or the relief I felt when they told me their day was good but it must have been clearly written on my face because my little girl said, “It’s ok, Mommy, we had a good day.” I smiled and agreed. Yes, it was. I am glad I was there to see it.
By: Melanie A. Peters