F*cking platform sandals.
I had to have them. After three go-rounds with Zappos I thought I had finally found a pair that was stylish and that I could actually walk in. But, I tripped three times on the way to the new moms meeting for Sadie’s new pre-school.
Good thing those shoes were cute.
tripped walked in late to the meeting. In the back of the room I saw groups of moms chatting, sipping coffee and laughing. I looked for the one mother I knew, but didn’t see her. That’s when I finally admitted to myself that I was scared shitless nervous.
How come it seemed like everyone already knew each other? I wasn’t that late. I spotted a table with name tags and headed over there to write my name with a black Sharpie pen that was as big as a rolling pin. I wrote slowly, stalling for time. Was I supposed to also include information about Sadie, the whole purpose for my existence in this room? I looked at other moms’ name tags and saw they had written their children’s names and grades.
Good. I took more time hovering over my name tag while avoiding whatever was supposed to happen next.
Once properly identified in permanent marker, I took a deep breath. I reminded myself this was not sorority rush or a job interview. We were already in the school; our first tuition check cleared last week. I also reminded myself not to trip when I was ready to make my first move at socializing.
I tried to remember the last time I was alone in a new social situation. I had flashbacks of being a new kid in sixth grade– I trembled with fear and managed a meek smile when the teacher introduced me. Everyone stared at me, but I survived until recess when Melissa Z. and Jennifer A. asked me to play with them.
I chided myself for the self-indulgent trip down memory lane. Now was the time to make a move towards the other mothers not hang back lost in a reverie about being a new student 30-some years ago. I warned myself not to do what I always do: make it all about me.
Ultimately, this new chapter in our family’s life is not about me; it’s about my kids. They are my sole purpose for being here. And, I want to be the mom they deserve– the one who can do uncomfortable things, like introduce herself to strangers or walk down the street without tripping in her impractical shoes.
I hesitated one more second. Then, I stepped to the nearest group of mothers and said, “Hi, I’m Christie and my daughter will be starting school here in September.”
It wasn’t quite a battle cry, but it was the closest I had come in a long time.
So, all of you experienced parents who have already done this– do you have tips for the nerves that come with joining a new school? Your nerves, not your kid’s, that is. I am sure you are better adjusted than I am and never went through this, but maybe you heard about someone who did. Please share.