Monday, August 11, 2008

Dissed on the Playground

First day of school! Can I get a whoop whoop?

I got up early, made the boys pancakes for breakfast, packed their lunches, wrote little "Happy First Day of School" notes on their napkins. I ironed their new shirts, helped them gel their hair. Made sure they had their supplies packed in their new backpacks. Did a last minute face, teeth and hair inspection and then drove them to school.

The parking lot was packed, not an empty space in sight. I had to park up the street and around the corner within the neighborhood, and then walk 5 minutes to the school. Did I mention it was already 98 degrees at 8:30 AM? Yeah. Nice.

We walked onto the playground where all the kids line up for class. We stopped and talked with several friends and neighbors. Junior found his pack of friends right away. I watched him as they stood in a circle, tossed out high fives and fist pounds and caught up on what each of them did over the summer.

My baby in the fifth grade. He stands a few inches taller than most of his friends. I watched him talking and laughing and beaming with pride when they oohed and aahed over his new Nike Air Force Ones. He seems so much older to me. Where is that little boy who used to hold my hand and talk my ear off? He turned back, looking for me. I smiled. See? He still needs me. He still wants me to be there for him.

"See ya, Mom."


"Junior? Don't you want me to walk you to class?"

He raised his left eyebrow, just like I do when someone says something preposterous. "Uh, no. I'm good. I'm just gonna go with these guys." He gave me a half hearted wave and walked away, talking excitedly with his friends.

What the heck? Dude. I got out of bed. I got dressed. I put on make up and fixed my hair. I made pancakes. I packed your lunch. I gave you two cookies. I wrote a note on your flipping napkin. I double checked your back pack. I ironed your t-shirt so you would have creases in your sleeves. I drove you here. I parked three blocks away and walked with you. In the heat! I have sweat dripping down my back. And my hair is flat!

Not to mention the tiny little fact that I grew you inside my body and threw up for the first three months. I have stretch marks, man. And I had a faulty epidural that only worked on one side. And a freaking episiotomy. Do you have any idea how painful it is to have stitches? THERE?? I won't even get into the sore nipples, or how the boobies have never been the same. The five billion sleepless nights making sure you were just breathing. The times you peed on me, barfed on me, and worse. The amount of miles I have driven you to your various activities, the amount of money I have spent on baseball, basketball, soccer, football, swim lessons, karate, art classes, Star Wars figures, Hot Wheels, GI Joes, Legos, video games. The list could go on and on. Everything I have done for you and you can't even condescend to let me walk you to your class?? How dare you Junior!!

How dare you grow up without asking me.


I look down to see Mac standing a few feet away. His big brown eyes bright and sparkling, his crooked smile, his freckled nose.

"I found my line," he says.
"Oh. Okay," I say, nodding. Waiting, unsure of what to do with myself now.
"Are you coming?" he asks.

"You want me to come with you?" I ask back.
"Well, yeah. Can you just wait with me until the teacher comes?"

Of course I can Buddy. I can wait with you forever. I'd stand out there all day if they would let me. Even though it's so hot I want to pass out and I can feel my makeup melting off my face.

I stood there with him for ten minutes. On the black top. Wearing black yoga pants and matching black top. Praying my deodorant was working and that smell was coming from the sweaty dad behind me. I watched as his teacher led the class away and up the stairs to start their day. When Mac reached the top of the stairs he turned back and gave me the thumbs up.

"Bye Mom! See you after school! I loooovvvee you!" And then he made a silly face, crossing his eyes and sticking out his tongue. I laughed. I could still hear him giggling as I walked across the playground towards the gate.

Just as I reached the gate I heard a familiar voice.

"Mom!" I turned, my eyes following the sound. Junior was standing on the second floor landing, leaning over the railing. He smiled and waved. "Bye, Mom. Have a fun day."

"You too!" I said, my heart filling my chest. I watched as he turned to run up to the third floor. When he reached the top step he looked back at me, stopped . . . and blew me a kiss.

It was everything I could do not to reach out and catch it. I began my journey back to my car, blinking back tears, but walking on air.

Ungrateful little monster.


Caitlin said...

*wistful sigh*

perfection. i love everything about this. everything. it's perfect.

Anonymous said...

Awesome. You made me tear up. Rotten little blogger you.

Stacey said...

Fifth grade. I can't. I won't imagine Cole in the fifth grade. Yet somehow I see your exact scene playing out for me in four more years. Why can't we always be cooler than their friends? We are, you know.

Kristi said...

That was perfectly written! My oldest starts Kindergarten in 2 weeks and I'm already hyperventilating.

for a different kind of girl said...

I think I am in love with your boys after reading this! I send my two boys back to school next Wednesday. I was sitting around with them today, thinking about how much I am going to miss them when they go back. They were thinking about wrestling. Yep. I totally rank with them!

This was such a great post!

Thunderfoot said...

Awwww. That made me misty. ;)

DevilsHeaven said...

That is so nice! Makes me look forward to all the other stuff you mentioned, just to get the air kiss.

Bogart in P Towne said...

Uh are one of "those mom's"...


I can't wait to have kids...I wonder if I will be one of "those dad's".

Coffee Slut said...

*sniff* I used to write notes on the napkins too. My baby is almost 20.
Beautiful post!

Tanya said...

Very entertaining April, I loved reading this. My oldest is in 3rd grade & becoming a football player now, I wonder if he will stop giving me hugs and kisses on the playground, hope not!

Brenda said...

you really got me with this post. I get so sentimental about school starting. I hate letting them go. you nailed every emotion I have ever known about this season. Why do they grow up so fast? I feel your pain. Our first day is tomorrow! :(

Sue said...

Another fantastic post April! I loved made me get all weepy and everything, but I still loved it.

On Aug. 25th, my "baby" will be starting High School. That'll be a tough day for me.

Geeze, I don't know where the time has gone. I'm WAY too young to have kids this old!

Anonymous said...

this so made me tear up- for three reasons:

-it made me get all nostalgic for my playground days.

-it made me want to be a mommeh.

-it made me realize that i hope to be an amazing mommeh and writer like have and then document moments like that.

xo. bb

Anonymous said...

Where art thou Queen April?

Hope all is well!

aschmoel said...

Such a great post! I dread the day when my baby boy no longer wants to do our special goodbye "kiss the fist and pound"...i am still heartbroken that for Christmas, he decided to start calling me Mom...not mommy, or mama... Just plain ole MOM...without warning, without my baby was a boy! Nice x-mas gift huh?

They grow up way too fast. Next time, reach out and catch that kiss and rub it in with all your might. They will forgive you!

kacki4 said...

I felt this way so many times with Logan. I got choked up a little!