I thought about it being Rodeo Day at the preschool and I hoped that Jackson wouldn't be the only one in his class not dressed like a cowboy. Or if he was, that he wouldn't care. He had a pair of boots when he was a toddler, but his feet were too wide for them and I could hardly wedge them in. He would need the Stride Rite version of cowboy boots and I just didn't feel motivated to buy them for a one day thing. This is heresy in Texas but what can I say? I dressed Jackson in a t-shirt with guitars on it and explained that at the rodeo there are country music singers and they play guitars. So there! We were legit!
On my way to the meeting I decided to stop by Jackson's future elementary school and pick up his kindergarten registration packet. I called Curtis and told him what I was doing. "I'm about to go in our kid's school for the first time. Take this in with me!" I'm not sure he really went there mentally or emotionally. In fact, he didn't.
I pulled up behind a dad carrying in a special lunch for his kid. I didn't know where I was going, so I followed him happily. I was smiling and in a good mood. He opened the door and there it was - the inside of the school! My eyes took it all in. I guess I expected it to look like my old elementary but it was much lighter inside.
I stood in line behind the dad at the front desk and when it came my turn, I said, "Can I have a kindergarten registration packet, please?" The ladies behind the desk were very nice and explained how this would work. I said, "Okay, thanks so much!" in an overly chipper tone and waltzed out of the school. Happily. Cheerfully.
Halfway down the sidewalk my throat started getting a wicked lump in it. No! And my nose started to sniff uncontrollably. I made it to my car before my eyes gave it away. Before I was out of the school zone, I was crying like an idiot.
People, I could not have been more shocked. I wasn't even thinking sentimental thoughts and it just hit me. I can only imagine what kind of blubbering fool I'm going to be when he actually starts. Maybe I'll get it out of my system before then. Curt will probably be the one having a public catharsis. He's been known to go years between crying sessions and then let it all out in front of large groups.
The only thing I could do was call my mother. We talked about how maternal love is so deep in your subconscious that it can just smack you upside the head out of nowhere. Actually, we discussed it in more elegant terms but I can't remember how my mom said it. She told me she had cried the same tears the first time she went to my school back in the day. It's a good thing I really like my mama because emotionally, we are the same person.
Later when I picked up Jackson the first thing he said to me was not, "Why wasn't I dressed like a cowboy?" but "Why didn't you come to Rodeo Day?"
"Baby, I had a meeting today. I'm so sorry. I didn't know I was supposed to be there."
"Why didn't Daddy come? No one was there for me."
Shoot me now.
I thought he was going to start crying. I felt like dirt. Lower than dirt. Pond scum.
I knew parents could come, but I did not grasp that this was one of the events they should come to. Like, last week there was a petting zoo that we could come to to take pictures. And this week - at least for my child - it was a should scenario.
Help me, Jesus. I just ruined my son's childhood.
We got in the car and Jackson asked if we could get frozen yogurt. That would require getting my very-fragile-after-school toddler in and out of the car an additional time, so I remained silent. "Mommy, can we go to Sonic?"
Yes! What do you want? A banana shake? Certainly! A little cheeseburger? Why, yes! With a Cherry Coke and a side of grace for Mommy? That sounds perfect.