I’m having a bit of an existential crisis this school year. It is causing me some mental angst and I’m afraid that I may be “broken” as a mother. I have chewed over this particular issue in my mind for many days leading up to the start of school, and now on day 2 of the newly minted year, I am still trying to figure out what this all means to me as a mom.
Here it is…I have literally NO sadness about the year starting. None. Zip. Zilch. Nada. I am not sad. Not even a little bit. I’m ecstatic! Thrilled! Over the Moon (pardon the eclipse pun)! This is a completely new and interesting development.
Every year since Arden started attending a formalized child care setting, I have been nearly inconsolable on the first day. I’ve struggled to hide my tears and red nose behind sunglasses and a bright smile – encouraging her to jump into her new classroom and have a great day! I’ve had to sit in my car to compose myself before daring to drive down the street and away from my baby. I worried all day about how she was doing and prayed that she would have someone to sit with at lunch. I counted the minutes and hours until she would be back home and arrived much too early in the school’s parking lot on that first day of pick up.
Not this year. This year there has been not a single tear shed. Not. A. Single. Tear.
I thought of her, of course, throughout the day yesterday. I had moments of wondering how it was all going. I was happy when she came home in one piece and seemingly happy about her day. But I didn’t fret. I didn’t count minutes. I did not cry.
In fact, I have been so looking forward to the start of this school year, that even meeting the bus at 7:10 a.m. today (a very first for our family, as she has always been taken and picked up by me or her dad) didn’t phase me. In fact, my new favorite color may be School Bus Yellow.
I heard a fantastic Christian writer admit that when her kids went back to school, she declared School Bus Yellow her favorite color. I was shocked. Horrified. How on earth does a good mother celebrate the departure of her offspring? I’d like to apologize for being so judgemental. I totally get it.
So, this lack of angst in my heart and mind has led to another type of anxiety. Maybe I am not a good mother anymore? Maybe being excited about my kid going back to school indicates a deep level of selfishness in me? Maybe the Mom Police are going to come and take my Mom Card? If I can’t worry about one thing, I will find something else to worry about – so there you go.
But I’ve decided it may just be exactly the opposite. Maybe I have less angst because I feel like I’ve better prepared A to attack this year with gusto. Maybe I’m calm and happy because I don’t worry as much about her ability to give her best effort both scholastically and socially. Maybe this moving to a new town and new school has given us both some confidence in areas we weren’t aware were weak.
OR maybe I just need to her to leave for a few days so I get the opportunity to miss her.
Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t see an end to worrying about my kid happening in my life. I don’t anticipate a complete release of emotional breakage when she comes home after a particularly hard day. Those days are going to happen and my water works are going to activate. But I have to say this lack of sadness at the start of what has always been so emotional and gut wrenching – yeah I’m not missing that at all.
And my house is spotless – so there is that!
So, if you too have found a new affinity for School Bus Yellow, fear not! I’m pretty sure it is natural to progress past the fetal position, corner rocking of early school going. But beware – I’m also fully confident that when we send our babies to high school or (Lord Help Me) college, all those feelings will be back with a vengeance. Maybe even worse, because we’ve been rocking this emotional stability for so long! Nothing lasts forever. So embrace it now! Guilt free!
See ya soon!