Esmé has been really pushing boundaries with us lately, and also perfecting her tantrum techniques. Whenever things got overwhelming, and I felt like I wanted to quit being a parent, I would tell myself “She starts school in January. You just have to make it until January.” So really, a big part of me has actually been looking forward to this. For months I have been daydreaming about my twice weekly sessions of blissful solitude.
Guess what? It finally came!
Guess what else?? I totally lost it on her first day, and spent half of my three and a half hours bawling my eyes out.
The morning of her first day started out just fine. We were all excited for her to start school. We set out her clothes the night before. I woke up early to make her a good breakfast. We all got ready and took lots of pictures of Esmé in her outfit with her backpack on. My husband even took time off of work to drive with us and drop her off.
On the way to the school, I started to get this feeling of unease. My chest felt tight, and I felt very jittery and anxious, but I figured that was normal since this was such a big change for us, and that would be the end of it.
We got to the school and my spirits brightened when I saw she had her own hook to hang up her bag with her little name on it. Then we walked her into her classroom and she got a little shy, so she hid behind my legs for a few minutes, and my anxiety went all the way from my stomach up to my collarbone and my throat closed up.
Once Esmé saw the other little kids playing, she ran off to join in. Meanwhile I stood there trying to talk around this lump in my throat to her teachers and my husband, willing myself not to cry in front of my child.
We said goodbye to her, and she gave us a quick hug before running off to play again. I swallowed, and swallowed, and swallowed and successfully fought off my tears until we were out of her classroom.
My husband ushered me out and I cried the whole way home. I cried at snack time, because she wasn’t there to share it with me. I cried at Target because the preschool director was kind enough to send me a picture of her, holding a classmate’s hand:
So then I missed her all the more.
I finally got it together around 10:30, and managed to keep it together until it was pick up time. The preschool director greeted me at the door and asked how I was doing, so I got a little blubbery again, but just a little. I pulled it together again quickly before I headed to her classroom.
I was so excited to see my little love. I walked down the hall, grabbed her things and peeked in her classroom. There she was playing with play dough. She took one look at me and said “Where’s Papa?” As soon as she heard he wasn’t there, she went back to playing with her play dough. So much for missing me.
Her second day was easier and harder at the same time. She couldn’t wait to get to school, but then when she got there she got really attached to me. She didn’t want me to leave, and after I said “Bye!” she started a very sad little whimpering cry “Mommyyyyy.” My heart just about broke, but I somehow managed not to cry until I got home again, and it was only for a little bit (improvement!). I then spent the whole time wondering if she was ok.
Apparently I am not ready for twice weekly sessions of blissful solitude. I know it will get easier as time goes by, but I just miss my little buddy, and am having a very, very hard time letting go.