Although he has been happy each day when I pick him up, my little Kindergartner continues to cry each morning. It breaks my heart when I drop him off in his classroom, seeing tears stream down his little cheeks as he pleads, "Please Momom, I want to go home. We are best buddies. Please let me come home with you. I miss you." It takes all of my Mommy resolve not to scoop him up and take him with me, but I know that he calms down as soon as I am out of earshot. Still, I find myself questioning my decisions.
Robby starting school has stirred up emotions and insecurities that, until recently, I thought I had settled. In my zeal to make a good impression on the staff and fellow parents, I've worked myself into nothing short of a panic each morning before school. I worry about everything, from my outfit and hair to my fingernail polish. Intellectually, I know that these details are insignificant but that hasn't hampered my attempts.
Yesterday morning, after four shirt changes and two hair styles, I was finally ready to take Robby to school. I looked like a trendy and hip Mom. He looked like a miserable little boy. His tears and crying began as soon as I buckled him into the car. Although he has cried the other two days, this was a particularly dramatic demonstration. My attempts at reasoning with and reassuring him were in vain, probably because he couldn't hear me over his sobbing.
He buried his little face into my legs as I tried to leave the classroom. My years as a teacher taught me that he would stop crying as soon as I left. I gave him a hug, the little red felt heart and a kiss good bye. I held my head high and tried to feign parental confidence as I nodded to the other parents and left the school.
Instead of going to my car and leaving (as I should have done), I found myself walking around the outside of the school. I just needed reassurance that he was okay. I located his classroom, but unfortunately my view was obstructed by bushes outside and art work hanging in the window. I am not proud of my actions.
At this point I was on a mission, and I was not going to be deterred. I needed to make sure that Robby was okay. Almost instinctively I slipped my prosthetic foot onto the horizontal slat and hoisted myself over the four foot privacy fence. In stealth-like mode I gingerly maneuvered through the flower garden (careful to not step on any of the pink impatiens flowers that were in full bloom) and shimmied behind the large holly bush planted in front of his classroom window. Crouching behind the thorny bush, I managed to peer into his classroom.
Robby, it turns out, does stop crying as soon as I leave. He was sitting on the reading carpet looking at a book with another boy. His red cheeks was the only clue that he had been upset minutes earlier.
Relieved, I felt more comfortable leaving him at school. Unfortunately I realized that I was also in a precarious situation. I didn't want to appear to be a hovering, overprotective mother (even if my current location indicated otherwise). Careful not to be seen by his teachers, I crawled around the holly bush and gingerly walked out of the flower garden. I scaled over the fence and landed awkwardly on the sidewalk- directly in front of a group of moms who were leaving the school.
Mortified at being caught, I muttered some explanation about being concerned about his crying. I smiled and then straightened my clothes and removed a dead holly leaf from my ponytail. Trying to keep my "confident Mom" facade, I walked purposefully to my car. It was only after I drove away that I noticed the open fence gate. So much for first impressions!