You are a boy who feels all the feels. I am watching you stomp your little feet and ball your fists; not able to get the words out. Your emotions ready to spill over, but only coming out in bursts: “I. Want. The. TABLE WITH THE UMBRELLA!” The other folks trying to nicely eat their meals outside on this sunny, cold Charleston day look at me like, “wow, spoiled much?” What they don’t know is that I am afraid that I am watching my little boy spiral into a hole I don’t know anything about. I paste on my calm-stern face and inwardly, silently pray that you will just move on and lower your voice, knowing that the synapses in your brain are probably telling you to do the exact opposite.
Six months ago you started kindergarten and I bravely marched you down the long hallway toward your class where a very kind woman took you away from me. I mean. Where your wonderful, patient and very talented teacher kindly encouraged me to go. You were fine. She looked at me and said “you ok Mom?” and I cried. A lot. Into her shoulder. A few weeks before I had stalked her on Google and found that we had a friend in common on Facebook. Look out teachers, we Mommies are armed with social media. So, I did the only logical thing and emailed the friend in common and was like “Give me the dirt. What’s her deal. Is she like a serial killer or anything?” She assured me she wasn’t. I read blog after blog about how you needed to be able to open all of your own packages in your lunch (Shit! I hadn’t even THOUGHT of that, we started practicing opening string cheese that very day), and I ordered your monogrammed LL Bean backpack. Check! All set! Look out world!
Back to the kind lady (who allowed me a sob or two into her shoulder and then gently told me to go). Back to the realization that the saying “everything I need to know I learned in kindergarten” was wrong. In fact it should read, “Everything Mommies need to know they learned from kind kindergarten teachers.”
Since that day, she has gently coached all 24 families in her care, helping us navigate the wide world of REAL school. Including the day she requested a second conference with me. The day she talked about assessments and your attention span. Frustration. Anxiety. Nothing I was surprised about but being confirmed out loud by the other woman in your life. There it was. She said all of the right things and maybe the most right thing “Mom, this is just who he is. We take him as he is and we work from there. He’s your perfect boy.”
She was also there for us the day I explained that the fresh scar on my neck had in fact been cancer, but no, I was ok. She pulled down the neck of her own shirt, and showed me her scar. Of course. She also had a surgery.
Everything I am learning in life. From your kindergarten teacher.