Zoey started school yesterday. As promised, there wasn’t a tear to be seen. I didn’t exactly come home and celebrate — at least not the way I had planned (brownie and giddy with freedom). Instead, I fell into bed exhausted and slept for two hours. Still, I didn’t sit at home sniffling on the couch while I looked at Zoey’s baby book moaning, “My little girl is all grown up! Life will never be the same! What ever will I do with myself now?” This is partly because Zoey does not have a baby book and partly because I cried myself stupid at the open house the night before.
I know, I know — this may be the most incongruous act in Zozo’s Mom history (at least until I register Zoey for cheer leading). But I assure you, it surprised no one more than me. I first teared up when talking to one of the teachers who asked me how Zoey was feeling about school.
“Well,” I began, “She’s very excited. And maybe a little nervous. I think maybe I’m a little nervous too. I mean, I wasn’t planning to be anxious . . .” And then my breath caught and I stopped talking because I was about to cry. The teacher, an incredibly gentle and nurturing soul, nodded her head and assured me that I was not alone in this feeling. I slunk away to find a tissue. Then I started thinking about how for the last 10 days I’ve been anxious, overwhelmed, and unable to sleep well. No way, I thought. NO. WAY. That would just be too lame if all that anxiety was about preschool.
A few minutes later I joined Demetri on the playground. He is usally a much bigger sap than me so I asked him, “Are you feeling teary at all, honey?”
Demetri scoffed. “No. Not at all. I just don’t get it. Maybe if it was bigger transition, like she had to take the bus on her own . . . Wait. Are you teary?”
“Um, no.” I lied and then started crying.
Demetri began to laugh. In fact, he laughed so hard that he had to cover his face with his hands and hide behind a nearby tree. When he was composed enough that he was able to speak he said, “You? You’re crying?” And then he started laughing again. For the entire rest of the night Demetri came up to me every so often and asked, “So, are you crying about preschool again?” Then more laughing. But you know what? I slept well last night for the first time in 10 days.
So, as it turns out, I’m a lame, sentimental, crying mom. And also the only mom who brought a camera to the open house. But I swear, the pictures were all for the grandparents.