Thursday, February 02, 2012


I did.

I admit it.

I've had anxiety all week. Haven't slept the last two nights.  And had nightmares last night that woke me up with cold sweats.

So, yes, of course, I totally tried to play it off this morning.

Tried to make it seem like it was no big deal, like I wasn't about to erupt into a bawling volcano of fear and don't-let-my-baby-grow-up.

But she woke up in such a good mood. All on her own. And she never does -- either. At least not during the week.  It was all she could talk about over breakfast and on the way to school.  Finally, as we parked in the lot, I turned off the truck and turned my body all the way around to face them.  I looked her straight in the eye and said, "Come home exactly as you're leaving here."

"What?" she said.

And I could feel my throat closing and my eyes welling up.

"Be good. Be safe. Be smart. Look around you. Be aware. Don't follow anyone anywhere, no matter what they say or what they offer. Stay within arm's reach of your teacher. And come home to me exactly as you are right now. Do you understand me?"

"Are you okay, Mom?" she asked.

"Repeat what I just said," I demanded.

She complied -- in between eye rolls.

"Repeat my phone number," I said.

And she did -- to the tune of Jingle Bells, just as I'd taught them on their first day of preschool.


And then I ducked around the corner and watched from afar as they loaded up her 3rd grade class in the bright yellow bus, all jumpy and smiles and not babyish in the least.

And then, yes, I followed -- for just a few blocks -- before I could no longer justify my paranoia, turned around, and headed back to the school where I waited until I saw the bus pull back into the parking lot and her beautiful little face emerged once again.

Safe and sound.

And much too grown up for this Mama. :(


Stacy said...

I'm pretty sure I'll do the same thing...except I'll go the whole distance and watch from afar all day. *sigh*
The whole growing up stuff stinks sometimes.

Joanna Metcalf said...

My daughter's first field trip was in kindergarten, during a terrible thunderstorm and tornado warning. As a teacher at her school I watched her class file out to the bus wishing I could go along. 2 hours later I was sitting in the school hallway with a group of older kids, in the classic position on their knees, hands over their heads (the kids, not me), when I remembered my baby. In trying to keep other people's kids safe, I had somehow forgotten my own. As I jumped up to go and find out where her class wasI saw the principal coming toward me. The kids were fine, waiting out the storm in the basement of the Kentucky Center fot the Arts. Within the hour I watched my baby file back into the school. No big deal.
I've reassured my friends who are parents many times by telling them that we almost never lose kids. Deep down I guess I knew my daughter was safe with her teacher because my students were safe with me.

Jo Anna Guerra said...

It does, indeed, Stacy. It does indeed.

Oh, my goodness, Joanna, that's a scary story, but yes, you're right, of course. And I'm certain, on some level, I truly do feel that my children are safe with their teachers, but still. Ugh. Make it stop.