This Friday is Animals first day of school. I have been waiting for this day since I had to leave him and go back to work. It's so exciting and nerve wrecking.
Being a mom has made me so much more sympathetic to parents. I thought one of the reasons parents liked me was that I "got it", and I kind of did, theoretically. Being a parent is what I thought, I just didn't realize what it actually felt like. I know we're all different, but the all consuming love, anxiety, exhaustion, joy, and responsibility we feel for our children is more or less the same.
A little example is, I don't want my son full of empty calories and chemicals and hormones, so I shop and cook accordingly. I have my reasons. Maybe you have other priorities, for your own reasons. I have never respected parenting styles and choices more.
Not to say I don't have judgemental moments, when a kid brings in a hot dog from AM PM for lunch. Once upon a childless life, I would think to myself, I would never feed my kid that and I certainly wouldn't send it in a school lunch.
Now, I shake that judgement away. I don't know why they sent that. Maybe it's their kids favorite and they begged for it and the exhausted parent gave in. Maybe they forgot their kid's lunch and had no time to run home or stop somewhere else. Maybe they don't have money till payday, but they do have a gas card. Maybe it's none of my business, because their child is happy and I know their parents love that child. Before being a mom I would have let my personal beliefs slam the judgement book shut. Now I know better.
Last Friday we had a school visit planned, so Animal could get familiar and so we could meet with the director (my boss). I was so nervous. So anxious that I couldn't sleep, could hardly breath from the weight of that anxiety on my chest. How would he do? Would I be able to control him in this sort of situation?
I know it's a great school (because I work there). I know it's going to be a wonderful experience and that he is going to grow and learn so much. However, when I look at him I can't help but see a baby. I very energetic, emotional baby. Not a small boy.
Even though I see a baby, that's not who he is anymore. He is a small boy, and he is ready. (If he wasn't going to be in my class) I would be one of those moms crying outside the school on the first day. I always imagined what that must feel like.
But now I know.