I’m a private, Type A, non-emotional, realistic type of person. I rarely cry or get choked up on situations. I don’t think I’ve shed a tear on any situation until I was in my early 20s and had to put down my childhood pup. I used a good half a box of tissues there. I tend to cry over poor animal treatment on TV - PETA and OSPCA infomercials, movies about pets, death scenes on Planet Earth, etc. The next time I cried was in my late 20s when I was dropping off Sir Snoopy at my parents place (they took care of him during the week for me). The look on his face, of yearning and confusion, it just got to me.
Ironically though, my motherly instincts just resided with animals and not much more because I did not cry when I gave birth to Mister Four or Missus Two. (I guess half the female population just swear and breathe a huge sigh of relief after punching out a gooey infant, so that doesn’t count!).
But over time I guess motherhood changes even the stoniest person like myself. The last time I got all choked up was when I had to leave Mister Four at daycare. He was this tiny, little man that just turned 2.5 years old, barely spoke any English because he was raised at home with Grandpa. He was so engrossed with this classroom full of kids his age and all these new toys that he’s never seen before. I stayed with him for a week during the mornings and I would always get choked up as I sneaked myself out of his sight and the classroom to leave him for the rest of the day. For months I wondered how he fit in, how he communicated, how he learned a new language, how did he fend for himself if another kid was more aggressive… and that was in a licensed ratio-capped daycare where there were no more than 16 kids in a classroom!
Today, at a solid four years old, my partner and I escorted him to his first day of Junior Kindergarten. He had just caught a cold over the weekend so I was worried that he wouldn’t make it to his first day of school, but he did. As we walked around in the schoolyard waiting for the school bell to sound, I could sense a small bit of nervousness from him. So many parents, so many kids. I reassured him that it was going to be fun but at the same time I was getting worried myself. There are so many kids. Some we recognized in relief because they’re from the same daycare. Others I looked at suspiciously. The public school ratio is about 30 and that’s twice as many that he’s used to. Is he going to be fine with so many kids? How many among these 30 are bullies? How many of them come from crazy backgrounds? Will the teacher be able to focus at least five minutes a day on my own Mister Four? By the time he walked into the classroom, following a line-up, I was starting to think that this was a bad idea. Flashbacks to my own childhood flooded my brain and for a brief split-second I felt myself come to a halt and stood still long enough for him to walk slightly ahead of me. I can do this, I remember thinking to myself.
It’s now 3 p.m.
In 30 minutes school is done and daycare will pick him up. Kids are resilient. Mister Four is smart and amicable, plus he has a few friends he recognized from daycare. He should be fine.
Time to go prepare for tomorrow’s lunch option!