"The Kindergarten registration packets are here," I announced over the phone to my friend, "and they're going faster than tickets to a Rolling Stones concert!"
I slammed the phone down, buckled my daughter into the car, and drove to the neighborhood elementary school where I pulled in behind three campers, two RV trailers, and a tent.
"How long have you been here?" I asked the mother at the head of the line.
"Since 3 a.m.," she answered. "I've been waiting for this day since my twin boys threw the cat down the laundry chute with my panty hose and set the backyard on fire with a magnifying glass, lighter fluid, and my silk negligee."
I nodded in understanding. I often dreamed of having time to write a best-selling novel, learn to paint like Picasso, or wear earrings and brush my teeth in the same day.
"Mommy!" my daughter urgently grasped my hand. "I don't want to go to school! I won't like it!" She stamped her foot.
"You'll love it !" I assured her, "You'll have a great time and make a lot of new friends."
A few hours later we reached the front of the line, and received a packet and a pen. I bent over the counter and filled in the information as my daughter impatiently tugged at my dress.
"No! No! No!" she cried. "Don't make me go!"
I quickly filled in the blanks and gave the secretary the completed forms.
"School begins next Monday at 8 o'clock," she said, smiling. "Kindergarten is in room one."
I nodded and took my daughter's hand.
"Don't make me go," she begged all the way to the car, as I began to plan my hours of freedom going shopping, having manicures, and taking classes. I would do it all!
I spent the rest of the week taking my daughter for daily walks to the school playground, reading every book I could find about Kindergarten, and trying to convince my daughter that learning the alphabet, counting to one hundred, and getting to paint with your fingers was more fun than staying home with me.
On Monday morning my daughter stood by the front door in a new dress, patent leather shoes, and tears.
"It's time to go!" I gently took her hand and guided her out the door to the car.
"Mommy, can I have a drink of water?" she begged.
"No way," I said sternly, buckling her into the back seat. "I'm not falling for that!"
"Can we go to the park instead?"
I firmly shook my head.
When we approached her new classroom, she clung to my legs like Velcro.
"Mommy, " she whispered, "please stay with me."
"I can't, honey. But look!" I nudged her forward and pointed into the room, "There's your friend, Stephanie, waving to you!"
My daughter looked up through her tears and began to smile.
"There's Ryan, too!" I pushed her gently inside.
My daughter wiped her tears on her sleeve as she began to enter the room and walk toward her friends.
"Bye, Mom," she called without looking back.
I stood in the doorway and watched her sit down on the carpet with the other children.
Wait! I thought frantically. Donít go!
She smiled and blew a kiss.
Are you still thirsty? Iíll bring you a drink of water.
The children began to sing and clap their hands.
I have time for a story or a walk to the park.
She waved happily between claps.
Stay with me... a little longer.
The singing stopped and my daughter looked at the teacher and smiled.
"Good-bye! Have a great day!" I called from the doorway as I turned to leave.
Getting back in the car, I carefully wiped tears off my cheek with the small, pink sweater still clutched in my hand.
|Debbie Farmer is a teacher and writer who is being held captive in a large stucco house with one husband, two kids, and a cranky gray cat. She received a BA in Creative Writing/English from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 1988. Her stories have been published in various ezines on the internet, the Manic Mom's national newsletter, and several parenting magazines across the country. She is a weekly columnist for the Ledger Dispatch in Antioch, CA. Samples of her work can be found at Musings Of A Manic Mom, http://www.geocities.com/soho/lofts/2878/ .|