We were arguing. Everything was an emotionally charged exchange from what socks to wear to if we would even need them since our big plan was puzzles, indoors. It was the day before Kindergarten, and all through the house, every creature was stirring and I was an irritable louse. Cheese puffs were consumed, coffee kept pouring, and cartoons were the constant sound of our day.

She was nervous, restless, anxious and so was I; but I’m the grown up so I had to adult it and didn’t want to. I wanted her to be excited and confident about the next day and the fact that she wasn’t made me worry even more for her. She needed my help to manage and understand her emotions but my skills were falling short. My anxiety over many other issues was winning out. So I did the best I could.

We cuddled, ate badly, watched movies and reminisced. We looked at photos and videos of her as a baby, then toddlerhood, and her preschool years. The thought came unbidden, the one parents deny to others and certainly their own kids, I wish I would have enjoyed our time together more. 

She was a colicky baby, a toddler slow to speak, a shy preschooler, and now? A big kid at kindergarten. Kind, reserved, polite, observant, helpful, worried, and prepared. I was not.

A nervously confident kid who introduced herself to her new classmates, tentatively asked them about themselves, and proudly told me today on her second day of school as I walked her to her room, “I’m good, mom. You can go.” She was smiling faintly, ready for the day, but also wanting her screaming and flailing brother removed from her classroom.

I carried a squirming Owen as he hollered his objection over leaving his sister behind at school. Not as shrieky as the first day at least but still back breaking enough that I was relieved to have him strapped into the carseat.

How can I leave her there alone? She’s going to come home upset again like the first day…I wish I could go back in to check on her but I don’t want to embarrass her. I wish I had had more time with her on our own.

It feels like your kids are expected to be away from you in increasing correlation to how enjoyable they are to be around. All the hard work is done and other people get to hang out with them. It sucks.

Owen and I made our way to the grocery store. I busied him with his bag of cars and a constant stream of baby food pouches. I tried to stay cheerful and kept up a commentary of what I saw on the shelves and my opinions. Owen reached up from the cart to hug me with an “awww”. I smiled at him and he farted as he threw his cars down the aisle. When do you go to kindergarten again?

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