On Being “That” Mom

It was only six years ago that I would come home from work and curl up to watch TV or read and daydream of what the baby growing in my belly would be. I knew he would be perfect in every way and somehow that translated to an idyllic motherhood for myself. I knew he wouldn’t ever wear light up shoes and would always use his manners. Dreams.

As we sat at the beach a few weeks ago, I was reminded that I have become “that” mom that I swore I never would. In preparation for vacation we needed hats that the kids would wear, so I took them to Target to pick them out. Bigs selected Darth Vader and Littles had all but decided on a Frozen hat when this little My Little Pony hat caught her eye. The hair… no mother in their right mind allows a child to wear fake rainbow hair, no? I certainly wasn’t ever going to be that mother. Until she and I were ten minutes into debate over what hat she was going to get and she unknowingly (or maybe knowingly) ended the conversation with, “I won’t wear the Frozen hat. Only Rainbow Dash.” I guess I could have paid her to wear the Frozen one, but it would have been unbearable to listen to her talk about how much she loved the Rainbow Dash one and really… it is just a hat for the beach.

Last night, I became “that” mom again. You know, the one that cries when she sends her child to kindergarten. Until last night, I’ve always thought it was strange to hear women talk about crying as they sent their child off to school for the first time. I figured it was them and not me. I wasn’t sure what I thought I would be like, but definitely not a crier.

The tears brewed all day. It started with a regular Monday meeting at work that everything about it just pissed me off. The angst snowballed from there. No matter where I turned for solace, something upsetting was lurking… like talk of costumes for a fund-raiser event. (This is the truth. I can’t make it up.) Near melt down, I had to leave work to do Bigs’ last pick up at preschool anyway. He was beyond excited when I got there having told all the teachers that nobody would drop him off at school. He was going to be riding the bus!

We got settled at home. I unpacked the Kohl’s order that finally arrived with school shoes and clothes. Bigs said he wanted to sleep in his new shoes. Dinner was pizza. School lunch needed to be made. Details left for the nanny for the week. Tags were cut off the back pack. Bigs name was printed on everything. One label needed to be made for his water bottle. As we waited for pizza delivery, I unloaded all of my angst to my husband. He just listened and asked if I wanted him to put the kids to bed so I could relax. I didn’t think relaxing was in my future, but decided to pour myself a glass of wine just in case. With a deep breath and some thoughtfulness, I decided a walk might be my best course of action after the kids went to bed.

It was pitch black when we finally got the kids to bed. My dear husband reminded me that we live in a safe neighborhood and there are lots of streetlights and a sidewalk, so I headed out. I walked and listened to the cicadas sing their song. Tears trickled out my eyes and I cried. It wasn’t that I was worried. It wasn’t that I didn’t want Bigs to grow up so fast. It was that I was overwhelmed. Overwhelmed with emotions that I can’t name. Overwhelmed with the transition of our schedule from what we have always known. Overwhelmed with letting go of the tight grasp I currently have on his environment.

As I cried out loud (louder than I would like to admit, but any of our neighbors likely heard), I texted a friend to confess that I was the mom who cries when her child goes to kindergarten. She empathized and told me to let it out, which I did. The dam was broken, so trying to throw sandbags up to make it stop seemed pointless. It all came out as I walked down the street in the night like a mother with a heavy heart. As I drew closer to home, a peace settled in me. I have known for a while that Bigs is going to be just fine (more than fine), but as I tiptoed into our dark, quiet house I knew I was going to be fine too.

So today, he climbed the steps of the big bus to go to kindergarten and we were all good.

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