Facebook is full of smiling faces holding signs that say “first day of…”. New clothes-clean book bags-shiny shoes, eager eyes and broad grins are in every post. Well, almost every post.
And then there is us. We put the D in dysfunction.
First, first day of high school and last first day of high school and 2nd grade—should make for happy pictures. Should.
Big boy is waaayyyy too big for his britches. He is sullen because I won’t let him go to waffle house before his last first day of high school. This is despite the come to jesus meeting last night about ‘work before play’ and ‘responsibilities’ and ‘respect’. He somehow missed every single aspect of the message. Or he somehow convinced himself that, as a senior, the message couldn’t possibly apply to HIM. So he’s pouting. His hair which girl calls PRINCE CHARMING hair is soaking wet and floppy. I make him remove his backward hat for the picture. He does a hair toss to get the hair out of his eyes. Lord. I am irritated
Girl, nervous about her first, first day of high school, is prancing around dramatically. Her jeans are so tight I am afraid they are going to literally bust the seams before she even makes it to school. She’s pouting now too because her brother put her up to asking if she could go to Waffle House to celebrate her first, first day of high school. And, since her brother would have to take her, she would pay for his. She obviously missed part of the come to jesus meeting notes too. My NO to Waffle House has her pouting too. I ask her to take off her 50 pound book bag for a first day of school picture so she doesn’t look like the hunchback of notre dame. That irked her. Which irked me.
“SMILE!” I growl.
Little, big girl doesn’t even make the first picture. She’s sitting on the potty screaming, “I am going to throw up! I am going to throw up!” as she tries to go poop-in-in. Of course she announces that has to poop-in-in as we get ready to head out the door. She’s a sitter and takes about 20 minutes to go poop-in-in on a good day. We don’t have 20 minutes and this isn’t a good day.
Happy first day.
Sullen boy and girl leave first even though they aren’t allowed to go to Waffle House and their school starts 30 minutes later than baby girls. Hopefully the jeans survived her climbing into the truck. I wouldn’t bet on it. If they did bust her brother wouldn’t have turned around to let her change. Evidently seniors get to school 30minutes early to sit in their cars until the first bell rings. It’s a ‘thing’. I was told. Sounds stupid to me but hey…what do I know…
Baby girl is in the back seat crying. Sobbing is a better description.
I forget my lunch, am barely dressed and pretty sure I forgot deodorant. I DID brush my teeth but in the chaos I used my daughter’s toothbrush. Gross. Regardless, I am in the car babbling to my baby girl about all the really cool things I remember about her classroom. It’s a lame attempt to distract her but it’s my only option at this point. I channel my inner pollyana to sound cheerful and upbeat. She’s not fooled.
We barely get out of the subdivision when BAM! We come to a complete stop. There are miles of cars. Evidently every parent in Oconee County has decided to drive their child to school today. Bumper to bumper traffic is so good for our fraying nerves. I keep babbling. She keeps crying.
It doesn’t get any better as we near the elementary school. Here every parent, grandparent and aunt and uncle decided to escort Sally Sue and Studly Sam to elementary school. I am not kidding. Cars are parked on both sides of the road. Cars are parked in the car rider line. Cars are parked in the middle of the school entrance. Seriously. Some dumb….well, some idiot, pulled up and parked right at the entrance where all the cars have to pass. Did they not consider that hundreds of parents would have to pass???? Obviously not. I want to cuss but can’t because I am still trying to be Miss Ray of Sunshine for my girl.
The car rider line is like an obstacle course. I can barely maneuver. Of course I have to talk the entire time about the cool things my little bug could expect to see in her classroom. If I dared take a moment to breath she would scream, “Keep talking! Keep talking!” Not so easy to do when you are dodging parked cars and entire families…no lie…2 parents, another adult, 3 older siblings all walking in one elementary school child. Of course they have to walk in the middle of the road since there is no room on either side due to the parked cars. And of course they are lolly-gagging like there aren’t 200 hundred cars stopped, waiting, for them to meander into the school building.
While stopped for the parade I watched another set of cars leap the curb to park in the grass. 2 sets of parents got out to walk a child in. 4 adults for 1 child. It didn’t look like a kindergartner either. Really people? They are going to school, not off to war.
Bug sees it too and askd, “Are you going to go in with me and take me to my class?”
“Oh no,” I say, “Only little kids get walked in,” I pray she won’t notice that the kids being escorted in is obviously in 5th grade “You are in second grade. You are a big girl so you can go in by yourself.”
“Oh….” Pure dejection. “I guess that’s true.”
I don’t add that if I walk her in today I’ll never get out of there alive. I’ll also have to walk her in every day for 2 weeks. We have to do this the hard way today to set the expectation.
“I wrote down your teachers name on a card. Look for her name over the door. Look at the card; when you see a match-when you see a name with the same letters on the card–that’s your classroom!”
We inch closer to the area where teachers are waiting to help kids with rational parents get out of the car. The closer we get the higher my voice gets and the faster tears fall from her eyes. I see her little fingers twisting and curling and twisting and curling. She’s wiggling nervously in the back seat. My heart it is my throat at her obvious terror. At this point there is nothing I can do to help.
A single car stands between us and the teacher helping get students out. I break out into a sweat. I start talking faster and faster about the couches in her classroom, the bright colors, the baskets, the huge watch on the wall…anything and everything.
It’s our turn. We pull up. Her favorite teacher opens the door. And she starts screaming, “I don’t want you, I don’t want you, I don’t want you…..”
The teacher, god bless her, says, “I Love you and we can do this.” She grabs the bugs book bag and tries to grab my hysterical child.
All hell breaks loose. Screaming and crying my darling daughter reaches up and grabs a handful of my hair with one hand and the seat back with another. She’s a big girl. When she doesn’t want to move there is no moving her. Current teacher yells to the next teacher in line “we need you!”
I pull up a notch. My head is cocked at a 90 degree angle since a clump is wadded up in my daughters sweaty hand. She’s still screaming. A second teacher tries to open the door, which of course, has locked since I had to move up. I can’t seem to get the unlock button to work. Oh how that is helping things.
I am trapped in a locked car with a screaming child who has a handful of my hair. 3 teachers are now gathered outside my car door trying to get in to get the screaming child out and I can’t seem to work the locking mechanism. Oh joy.
Finally. FINALLY I get the button to work. I push while they pull and my hysterical child pops out of the car. 3 teachers surround her. She’s still crying.
I don’t think my tires actually squealed as I drove away. I don’t think….I could be wrong. I definitely hit the gas with some force.
It is going to be a long day for both of us.
Happy first day.