It is funny how you can be so ready for something to start and then when it does it makes you immediately long for what you had before. As summer came to a close I thought it was more than time for the school year to start. Our blissful three months of having no obligations, no classes, nowhere to be, no agenda had begun to morph from happy-follow-our-whims to lots-and-lots-of-whining. So on Wednesday, when Pia had her first day of kindergarten, I thought the transition would be smooth and welcome for both of us. I wasn’t prepared for the tears or how empty the house would feel. As most of you know, Pia and I spend 98% of our time glued at the hip. We are a package deal. So while we were beginning to get on each other’s nerves, I guess we weren’t quite prepared to go from ALL of our time together to 7 hours apart each day.
To make the separation even worse, on the second day of school I helped out in the classroom and decided to peek into the cafeteria while Pia had lunch. And I saw her sitting all by herself. A room full of chatting, giggling, squirming 5-year-olds and there was my daughter, off to the end of one table, all alone. It made no sense. A teacher in the cafeteria saw me and asked me a question which alerted Pia to my presence. When she turned to look at me she broke down into tears. I went over to sit by her and for the next 20 minutes I sat with her sobbing in my lap. In between sobs she would choke out things like “I just need mommy and Pia time” and “I want to go home and play dolls with you”. It broke my heart in two. My little girl, all alone and sad at school. I had to mentally glue my feet to the floor to prevent myself from picking her up, carrying her home and promising to home school her all the way through medical school.
Thanks to her “favorite boy”, Jackson* who escorted my teary daughter out to the playground after lunch, I was able to go home without a child on my hip. And when I picked her up at the end of the day she seemed happy, especially when I said we would go right home and play with goop (sand mixed with water in the playhouse). The next day on the walk to school she asked “why did you sign me up for school? I just want to stay home with you.” Heart. Breaking.
This weekend I have been trying to fill her up with mommy love… playing dolls, climbing trees, making goop, cutting paper dolls, whatever she wants. I’m hoping if I fill her to the brim with love and attention then she will be better equipped to handle these first few weeks of school. Though maybe I am just making things worse and actually need to ignore her so that she sees school as wicked awesome in comparison. I know she will come around to loving school very soon, just like she loved 4-year-old kindergarten, but it might just take a few buckets of tears to get there.
*Note to Tea: I am certain that when Pia says “favorite boy” she means “favorite boy at her school” and not “favorite boy in the whole world”. That title is, of course, held by you, her betrothed.