Will it ever get old?
The last time I walked into an unfamiliar school clutching a folder filled with important personal information it was many years ago and I was on my way to a job interview. Today I once again walked from a visitors' parking lot to the locked front door of a new school. Years of parking in a staff lot and gaining unfettered access to the building have made me forget just how conspicuous, how anxiety-producing this activity can be.
It wasn't a long walk but I had enough time to reflect how much my life has changed. Here I was about to register my son for kindergarten, and yet I wanted to pinch myself to make sure this whole motherhood thing wasn't a dream. I guess when you spend two decades waiting and wanting a child, five years isn't quite enough time to make it feel real. (Of course, there are some sleepless nights and some days too, when I wish it felt a little less real.)
One would think that with all I've done on my own, something small like registering my son at the local public school would not throw me for a loop. But it did. Clearly, no matter how academically ready he is, I am not ready for kindergarten. I'm not ready for my little boy to have an ID number assigned to him. I'm not ready for him to have a school file that can be accessed by people who have never even met him.
It's all so harsh. So impersonal. Although I made the appointment as requested, I'm not ready to have my son screened for readiness by a stranger.* If he's not ready, what will they do? Make him go to summer school? Before kindergarten? Under penalty of law?
I don't want him to ride the bus.
Sign him up anyway. You can't do it later. Under penalty of law.
You can't pick him up? You're a what? Working mom? Oh.
Sign here for aftercare.
I'll think about it.
We have to know by March 1st. Under penalty of law.
I don't think I can do this. What's wrong with these people? Don't they know who he is? When they look at him, don't they see what I see? A baby bundled against the cold, sleeping as I rock his car seat gently from side to side while I wait to be driven home from the hospital? What's wrong with these people? Clearly they're not getting the picture...
*Ironically, I've conducted hundreds of these screenings in my career.