The signs have been there all summer, but with less than 24 hours to go, it’s dawning on me that I have completely misunderstood the purpose of preschool. Here’s more proof that one of my super powers is making everything about me.
I have been building up the back-to-school wardrobe for the past 6 weeks. Frugally and carefully, I have purchased some dresses and pants and a new fall jacket. Only recently did it occur to me that Sadie might need some clothes too. After all, she is the one actually going to school.
But did I buy myself some new back-to-school outfits? Yes, and they match the gray tint of my mini-van perfectly, since my role is to chauffeur Sadie to preschool. I may have gone overboard on the afternoon I found out that I was selected from a group of my peers to be the assistant room mother. As I read the email about my new school duties (“oh my god, a meeting every month?”), I felt threatened by a wave of emotions: 1) Joy at being chosen, 2) afraid of the “burden” of my new responsibilities (“Oh, Lord, what if I have to bake?”), and 3) a little hurt, frankly, that I am only the assistant.
To deal with the heady mix of emotions, I bought a few outfits. If you lived in my head, you would have done the same thing.
Over the top? Yes, but I am ready for a field trip to the opera or a visit to a local farm (even if it’s raining). That counts for something.
Also, Jeff has given so many pep talks of the “just be yourself” variety, that I can mouth the words along with him. Was he giving those pep talks to our nervous daughter about to embark on her school career? No. Those pep talks are for me because I am scared of other mothers and, clearly a wee bit insecure, since I am the woman who buys new clothes so that the school monitor who walks Sadie to my car at the end of the day will think I am a humble mix of motherly, stylish, and a woman who knows how to dress for her body type (apple-shaped with big breasts).
Is it any wonder that my kid had a few nightmares recently? Imagine having ME for your mother!
But this isn’t an “I totally suck” post, because I have done amazingly well in other areas school preparation. Take the morning I took Sadie to Target for her backpack.
Me: “Honey, you can have any one you want. It’s your choice. Mommy loves you and supports your autonomy.”
When Sadie reached for the most garish eyesore (also known as the Dora backpack), I smiled and said, “Great! Is this the one you want?” When she confirmed she was not interested in the super darling Olivia backpack, I let it go. I stifled comments about her horrible taste in backpacks. I gave her a kiss. I let her have her own desires.
Maybe during those few hours she’s in preschool, I can stumble on to the life that I left lying around here somewhere.
Good luck, everyone, returning to and starting school tomorrow! Have you picked out YOUR outfit yet?