Kindergarten parents’ night

They had me at hello.

We met in the same room in which we’d watched her name get pulled from the hat. This time I’d remembered her DVD player and headphones so she was deep in the world of the Princess and the Pauper. I, however, fidgeted on the hard chair and stared at the two women in the front of the room who would welcome her to kindergarten.

They were enthusiastic, energetic, and funny, and I loved them immediately. They said that they could face down any number of kids but that a room full of adults terrified them (I understand). Their mutual respect was evident.

One of them’s a mom. When I was a classroom teacher and a parent would ask me if I had kids I’d really get my dander up but now I understand that, too. It’s not that a parent is a better teacher, ipso facto, but it is true that a team including a teacher who is a parent has one more source of information to draw from, one more line of experience, one more resource to check.

They seem so smart. Intuitive. Creative. They love kids — that ‘s clear. They’re tough, too.

They answered questions and they told us about themselves, explaining that they view parents as their partners. They want to know us, to let us know them. All good. All SO good.

But then:

“After all, we’ll be spending more time with your kids than you will.”

Huh?

No. Really?

I had to do the math before I was willing to believe it — then all I wanted to do was grab her and run, yelling over my shoulder: “Keep your mitts off my kid!”

(I have no idea where that came from. My debutante advisor would die.)

The teachers chattered on. Parents listened and smiled. Kids rolled around on the floor.

I panicked as quietly as I could.

One downside of learning to live in the moment, I guess, is that you come to love those moments. And protect them and hoard them and defend them.

So it’s the same old battle, on a new front. I know that her life is hers, not mine. Yeah, yeah. I know she’s ready to, little by little, move away from me and into the world. I know all of this.

I read the fine print on the contract.

But you see: my head does the knowing, while my heart does the accepting, and it’s just not ready to go there.

Not yet.

My heart needs to believe, just for a little longer, that she’ll always be here. That she’ll always be twirling around my kitchen in her purple bathing suit with the butterflies, dancing, filling the house with song. That she’ll forever be giving puppet shows in her bedroom, sharing a world she’s conceived, a world filled with princesses and kitties and talking pandas.

All of this jumbled through my head as these two lovely women talked, and it’s still stuck up there. They’ll take good care of her. I know.

It’s just so hard, so unexpectedly, so ridiculously hard.

But it’s the way of things.

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Published in: on May 7, 2011 at 11:16 AM  Leave a Comment  
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