So, wishes do come true.
In unexpected ways.
I finally found a balm to soothe my present anxiety. And where nothing else could help settle my anxious heart for even a moment, here was something that has kept the tears in check and the fears at bay for two whole days now.
I went to attend a parents’ information session at D’s school on Thursday evening. Well, I wasn’t going to attend it and had happily thrust the responsibility on to KrA. I told him in the morning that I “wasn’t in the right frame of mind” to do any school-related stuff for D, but by the time evening rolled around and KrA came home, I wanted to step out and away from looking after D for a bit.
Which is how I met J, a fellow mum who had come to attend the meeting. Her little one O is just two months younger than D is and will be starting school alongside him on Monday. And in this unfamiliar setting, two complete strangers brought together by similar concerns for their little ones poured their hearts out to each other in the span of ten minutes. J told me how she has been a stickler for routine for O until now, and how terrified she is that O will cry during drop-off at school on Monday. And I told her how petrified I too am by the mere thought of D on the verge of tears or wondering where Mumma has disappeared leaving him at the mercy of three adults he is somewhat familiar with and a bunch of other kids he’s never met before.
Simply writing this down is threatening to bring back all the anxieties I had managed to set aside for a bit these past couple of days. There, that lump in the throat is back again now … growing in size and pressing down all the way like an immovable rock upon my heart. The funny, but perhaps not inconceivable, thing is right now I’m hoping I’ll see J again during drop-off if only to feel a little less alone, a little less guilty about entrusting our little ones in another’s care.
D knows the drill. He knows that Mrs. Kim, Miss LaRoche, and Miss Jessie are his teachers at school, that school is a special place only for teachers and children and that Mumma and Dada are not allowed inside his school, that Miss LaRoche will walk him from the car into the school, that he can give his teachers a hug if he is upset/angry, that he’ll use the toilet, then work on some puzzles and games, then have a snack, and then play outdoors, and then Mumma will come to pick him up.
My heart tells me D will thrive in school. This 2-year-old exhibits an emotional maturity and intelligence that is often lacking in children twice his age. So much so that I often have to remind myself he’s only 2! He’s me, with all my long-lost expressiveness and free-spiritedness, minus my terribly low EQ, plus KrA’s infinite empathy and understanding.
Talking to J and another mum whose little one started school last week, I realised that the bit we are all dreading/dreaded is that point of drop-off.
Will he cry? Won’t he? I am not sure.
Will she cry? Won’t she? I know she will.
Another equally important question… Will we cry? This one with a very definite answer. Of course, we will.
The bigger question is, will we be able to hold back our tears long enough to bid a cheerful goodbye to our children? I’ve seen how D laughs nervously whenever he sees tears in my eyes. So I tell myself this … I’ll keep those tears reined in for the sake of the little one until drop-off time on Monday morning, and I’ll remind myself I’d likely have a good three hours after that to bawl my eyes out …
Perhaps I can indulge in a ciggy to help settle those nerves. Now that’s something to look forward to. (I remembering promising myself a joint the day I managed to wean D completely; that’s a promise I haven’t kept.) But a ciggy … perhaps I can take this time to remember the person I once used to be, the one I terribly missed being especially during the first several months of motherhood, the one I no longer miss …
D is swiftly growing up, already very independent and becoming even more so with each passing day. Who am I becoming in the process? What am I morphing into? Who will I be on Monday morning without D’s insistent cries of “Mumma, come Mumma” and “Mumma, pick up baby” when he is awake, without his small yet look-how-big frame lying atop mine when he’s asleep and he needs to know I’m around because “Baby sleeping on Mumma sleeping” is a demand always complied with in our beautiful home? Who am I if not a mother? I, who have been a mother only for the past two years, can no longer fathom how more than three decades of my life transpired before D came along …
As always, I’m looking to the past for guidance but maybe the answers are no longer there. This time, I’ll have to look ahead. And also around me. And even if there are no answers, KrA will be there … and I have to remember, he too will be looking for me …