The First Day(s) of School--Continued

      If you've been reading this blog for any period of time, I think it's clear that I'm not an overly-emotional-type-of-Mommy. I don't cry when my children are hurt--even severely. (At least not at the time; I have been known to be emotional after the fact, when my hurt kid isn't around.) I don't cry when they reach milestones; and I don't cry on the first day of school! I dance a jig in celebration. I'm just not that kind of Mommy.
       I'm always slightly embarrassed surprised at parental displays of emotion--it's not that I don't feel emotions it's just that I don't typically understand the emotions being displayed. The first day of school is the latest in a long line of alleged emotional firsts that confuse the hell out of me. I've been counting the days until school starts, because this year I have 2 1/2 hours of childless time to myself on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings.

       Two days before the start of Kindergarten, our district held a Back-to-School-Night; it was a lot like Freshman orientation at college. The principal stood up and introduced key individuals in her staff and explained the typical schedule along with a list of dos and don'ts. What came next surprised even me. The principal proceeded to explain that on the first day of school (ONLY) the parent's would be allowed to escort their children to their classrooms and to capture these memories however they chose to. She then explained, in no uncertain terms that emotional displays would NOT be allowed on the first day of school and if the parent couldn't keep it together they might be asked to leave. She continued to explain that over-the-top emotionality was bad for the children and cause them undo stress.
       My shock came not from the principal's lecture but from the fact that SHE felt she needed to lecture the parents about appropriate behavior! I mean we're adults, right?
       Well that's what I thought anyway.
       When we arrived at school, I really thought nothing of the mommies sitting in their minivans sans children. I just went about my business. I didn't notice all of the red noses and puffy eyes. I DID notice the damp Kleenex that littered the usually immaculate floors. After I took my 3 pictures, mostly of Myriam's back I headed out the door with another Mommy friend. She gripped my hand with a strength I would have never expected from her size 4, scrawny, little bony assed, frame. "How are you holding up, hon" she whispered. It was then that I noticed that her usually flawless makeup was smeared and her perfect coif was askew. Her clothes were wrinkled, she had dark circles under her eyes and she wiped her running nose with the back of her hand. "Good, and you," I replied gently pulling my hand out of hers. Out of ever so slight revulsion. My friend mumbled something incoherently and broke down sobbing. I quickly scurried away.
       Safely tucked into my Jeep I surveyed the situation at hand. Mommies as far as the parking lot goes were sobbing into their steering wheels. They were huddled in groups along the sidewalk hugging each other and crying. One woman, parked directly across from me, was beating her head into the steering wheel causing the horn to blare at each thump.

       Had the whole world gone insane?

       The boys' preschool was much of the same except add shrieking children to the mix. The shouts of "mommy don't leave me" and "no, I don't wanna go to school" filled the air, and the smell of tears and the-first-day-of-school-disinfectant assaulted the senses.
       And then there's me.... Perhaps I have a different view than most parents. I kinda thought my job was to prepare my children to be responsible, independent adults. So that means I celebrate my children getting older. I revel in their emerging independence! I look wistfully forward to the Saturdays of the future when I can sleep in, knowing that the children can get their own breakfast and go about their day. Hell! I just welcome the day I am no longer required to wipe their butts! So you see, I don't cry on the first day of school--I count the days knowing that someday I will be no longer needed as I once was; and that's ok, because just as I celebrate my independence from my children I too, will celebrate my childrens' independence from me.
Peace out!
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