All summer, when people would ask, “What are you going to do with yourself once Chooch starts preschool?” I’d usually respond with, “Whatever the fuck I want!” or “Pop open the wine bottle!” or “Have wanton sex with the best powdered-wigged handy men!”
What I knew for sure was that I wasn’t going to be one of those lame moms who CRY.
And then this morning, I was one of those lame moms who CRY.
I woke up with massive butterflies in my stomach, churning the nausea like an over-cooked stew. I panicked in the kitchen, trying to figure out what would be an acceptable “snack” for him to bring. Then I woke him up with shaking hands, and he eagerly rolled out of bed. He got a bath with no argument, brushed his teeth with no argument, got dressed with no argument. He was READY.
“When can we go?” he whined.
“It’s still too early.”
“Then let’s sit outside!” And so we did, and he excitedly watched the school buses drive past; and he watched Robin’s son Brandon walk past with his backpack, en route to the school up the street.
At about 7:45, I noticed other kids walking to the school across the street, so he shrugged in his Batman backpack and I walked him over to his classroom. He hung up his backpack, found his (Ring-inspired) name tag and placed it on the board.
I guess I expected him to cower behind my legs for a few minutes, for me to have to gently prod him to find a toy to play with. There was only one other kid there at that time – a girl, so he wanted no part in joining her at the dollhouse.
“Oh, Zachary’s here!” he exclaimed, when the kid-genius with glasses shuffled into the room. “You can leave now,” Chooch added, tossing me a “look.”
His teacher came over and stood next to me. “He sure is sweet,” she said, looking at him adoringly. I’m sure that look will dissipate here soon.
“I’m trying not to cry,” I admitted, and she gave me that “aw, you’re so cute” laugh that is usually annoying, but comforted me in this case.
“He’ll be fine,” she promised.
I’m relieved that he’s mostly all healed; that was one less thing to worry about today, because who wants their kid to start school not looking like themselves? (Although, he did get his hair cut yesterday and I think it makes him look even older now. Which is shocking to me. I catch him out of the corner of my eye and think it’s a little Blake sitting there.) If you look closely, you can see the puncture wounds in his bottom lip, but all the scabby mess is gone and the gums above his front teeth aren’t bloody and swollen anymore, either. He’s still going to the dentist tomorrow for x-rays, just to be sure his adult teeth weren’t affected.
I snagged him a few minutes later and begged for a hug.
“Not yet!” he hissed, and my heart soared a little because I thought he meant he didn’t want me to leave yet, but he was talking about the hug. “OK, fine,” he grumbled in annoyance and acquiesced with the hug-doling.
“I’ll be back to pick you up!” I reminded him, but he had already been engulfed by a group of boys with dump trucks.
I cried the whole way home. (Granted, I just have to walk across the street, but still. I cried the whole way!)