Recommended wine for today’s entry: A recent magazine listed refreshing red wines for summer, picked by wine expert Lettie Teague. I’m going to try the 2008 Colores del Sol Malbec Reserva from Argentina – she described it as “plush and cherry-tinged, this sipper is … soft and easy to like, with or without a meal.” She suggested it with a burger and the price looks to be about $12.
Yesterday, I told you about my early days of first grade, and I thank you for your sincere sympathy. Now that I’ve vented about it, I’ve again tucked the memory to the back of my mind, where it shares a little “special day” cubby with My Gory Wisdom Teeth Extraction and The Day I Stuck Two Fingers In a Vicious Window Fan.
But for my older daughter, now a college student, the first day of school was a great day. For her, at least. For me? Not so good. I had promised myself that I wouldn’t cry when she started school. And I almost didn’t.
I bought her a new outfit and the whole family took her shopping for all her supplies. She had them neatly stowed in her backpack, all except the Kleenex, which didn’t fit because it isn’t a school supply. (I think teachers ask for dish detergent and Kleenex and paper towels to stock their own pantries, but that’s another topic.)
Anyway, we really wanted to make her first day special. I think I was trying to make up for the fact that when she was six weeks old, I took her to daycare and then totally forgot about her when it was time to pick her up. It’s not as bad as it sounds, but it was pretty bad. I mean, I’d been out on maternity leave and had a lot of catching up to do.
Thank God the receptionist spoke up at 5:30 and asked what time I needed to pick up the baby. The baby! Crap! I have a baby! So I flew across town and got her right at closing time. It was actually good that she was the only one left, though, because the whole way there I was worried that I wouldn’t recognize her. I mean, newborns, asleep, all wrapped up in blankets… I know people must start to take the wrong kid all the time. But day one was fine.
The ugly truth is, though, that I was late picking her up pretty often. When she was about 10, we were at a Catholic picnic and an odd man kept staring at her. I was getting really nervous. Then he approached. “Aren’t you Samantha?” he said to her. She nodded, confused too.
“I was the janitor at Kindercare when you were a baby. I’d know you anywhere. I was the one who usually stayed with you until your mother got there.” OK, that’s bad. I’ll admit it. Luckily, he was a really nice man.
Well, before you judge me – I worked a LONG way from the daycare and traffic was awful. And anyway, back to my point, this kid was adaptable. She loved every preschool experience she had, ruled every mother’s day out in town and was very psyched about starting school. New people to boss around.
So of course, she refused to hold my hand as we walked into the building. We got right in front of the office, then suddenly she stopped. (I think she needed the audience.)
“Where are you going?” she asked, hands on hips, tossing her ponytail off her shoulder.
“I’m walking you to the Shining Stars room. It’s right up here.”
“I know where the Shining Stars room is, mom. I was here for orientation two days ago. Do you remember?”
“Duh, yeah, I remember. Do you think I’m stupid?” Now I had my hand on my hip.
So we’re in this face-off kind of thing in the middle of the hall and all around us, kindergarten kids are parading into the Shining Stars room holding their mommies’ hands. Then the moms are leaving the room, obviously holding back tears.
Finally, sick of the stand-off, I said, “OK, fine. You go on in by yourself. But if the teacher asks you, you tell her that your mom wanted to walk in with you.” She nodded and turned.
But then she turned back. “Uh, mom?”
I knew it. “Yeah. Change your mind? It’s OK.”
“Nope. I need the Kleenex.”
So yeah, I cried a little – but only because I lost the argument. That doesn’t make me a crybaby.
As I left the building, though, a bit despondent, one of the other moms grabbed me and whispered “Mimosa party – my house, twenty minutes.”
I drank a toast to my independent-minded kid. That wasn’t so bad, I thought. It would’ve been worse if she’d gone in kicking and screaming, right?
Well, I’d have a point of comparison in just two short years…