Mason, the worlds most adorable toddler, has officially ‘graduated’ and is now a real live boy. He starts Pre-K this August. It’s shocking and wonderful and horrifying and amazing and beautiful all at once. We are all having those universal thoughts and feelings that seem so personal and yet are experienced by parents around the world… ahhh.
So… this week was his orientation. We were all twidderpatted with emotion – it was ALL THE FEELS. We arrived early, got in line, he was excited, and he was curious as to why WE were just a notch below freaking out, but he was totally taking it in stride. Mostly he was excited because he knew he was going to pick out a lunch box afterwards.
We sat down in the auditorium up near the front because, hey! we set good examples! The preschool director was amazing – this tiny little woman who you knew instantly would be fair – but she had heard every excuse so don’t even try it.
After about five minutes of introductions she spoke words that made our blood run cold… “I’m going to call your child’s name, then he or she will go to the back and form a line with the teachers who will take them to see the classroom while I speak with you parents.”
Now, first of all it felt a bit like getting called to the principals office – which was scary enough but what the H E double hockey sticks?! (We are at preschool, remember?! jezz!) Mason has no idea what standing in line is, or going off with teachers, or even having his name called like this… he’s never been in daycare and he has no older siblings… this is going to be SOOOOO bad!
I look over at his mom who is taking big, slow blinks.
Dad is sitting quietly as we watch in stunned silence as these incredible children start getting up and walking calmly to the back of the room and forming a perfect line!
Who are they!?!
How do they know this behavior?!?
Why didn’t we teach Mason this?
We have completely FAILED!
His last name is “V” so we have a few moments. I lean down and whisper, “Ok boo, in a minute she is going to say Mason and you are going to go back there where your new friends are and go see your new class room! We will stay here and see you in a minute, ok?”
He doesn’t freak out, he is mostly curious. He watches. It’s ok. We are going to be ok.
Then. A little girl breaks down with a few sobs. Her embarrassed mom hurries her to the teacher. It’s ok. Before long tho a boy lets out a shriek to wake the dead. His dad drops his head and whispers bribes into his ear – unfortunately loudly enough for us all to hear.
By the time the third child starts weeping Mason understands that, while he may not know what is happening, it must not be good because way WAY too many other kids are upset…
So when the Director says “Mason” he lets out the wail of a freight train and starts climbing up his mom with all the agility and speed of a spider monkey. He is practically on her head and clinging there for dear life.
And… of course, remember, we are sitting at the front.
Brave woman she is, mom stands up and wobbly (she is carrying a sack of four year old boy on her body!) makes her way to the center aisle just as Mason crawls down her leg and plants himself onto the floor – spread arms like Jesus on the cross – right in the center of everything.
And then, somehow, this amazing child’s body turns into a giant suction cup as he becomes glued to the ground.
No matter what she does, mom can not budge him as big, wet tears fall from his eyes while the ear shattering screams continue.
His dad and I don’t move. I mean – we can only make it worse right?
About that time the director walks over, while holding the microphone with one hand, she swoops down with the other and scoops up Mason, as if by magic, walks to the back and deposits him into the waiting arms of a teacher.
She then returns to the front and says, “As you can see, your screaming children don’t scare us.”
For the rest of orientation we didn’t dare look at each other – I’m not sure if we would have giggled or cried but either way we didn’t want to get in trouble!
Mason did great and we are confident he will do wonderful. Later over lunch we were laughing at the spectacle when Mason’s beautiful mom observed, “You know, today Mason was ‘that kid’ – the one that makes everyone else feel just a bit better, because at least there kid behaved better than ‘that kid’!”
We howled with laughter knowing that this will be a family story forever… and so grateful that even on our very worst days, the ones when every thing goes wrong and we mess up and we think we have failed miserably – if we look around we realize – even then we are valuable… because even at our worst we have something to offer.
Please, no matter what happens… don’t forget your worth today.