O. M. G. I almost died. That’s not what I learned. It’s just a fact. If you’ve never had the pleasure of being on the parent end of a Meet the Teacher experience, let me enlighten you. This is not your grandma’s Open House. Or forget Grandma. It’s not even the kind from your own childhood. This is not Grab-a-School-Supply-List-and-be-Done. This is a whole “thing!” There was a welcome message from the principal and a program for incoming Kindergarten parents. (Side Note: The cool kids say “Kinder.” Apparently once you have a kid in elementary school, it’s a right of passage to drop the last syllable.) Anyway. Meet the Teacher was actually a week ago, but if you’ve ever started a school year with a little person you know that those last days of summer are anything but lazy. There’s excitement and anticipation and stuff to buy (dear Lord, the amount of stuff to buy!). Needless to say, I got busy. But alas…here’s what I learned:
1. I get overwhelmed in crowds. I know that seems odd. You’d think because I’m an extrovert, I love crowds. And I do when I’m standing in front of them speaking. But I’m also a professional people watcher. So when I’m in the middle of a lobby full of parents, students and their tiny siblings trying to listen to Chase’s mom tell me about her cruise, I can’t focus. All I see is the kid climbing behind the office desk and his mom chatting away like it’s not happening. I feel Brynna playing tag with Bo around my legs and hear Kaitlin whining that Brynna won’t stop running and listen to her story. It’s deafening. It’s what I imagine Hell feels like. That or being locked inside a Chuck E. Cheese.
2. The alphabet is sooooo long! Before we went to classrooms there was the aforementioned program designed to give new parents an overview of things we need to know. It was arranged in a cute little presentation called The ABC’s of Kindergarten. The Kindergarten teachers passed the microphone back and forth going over topics like Attendance, Birthdays, Conferences, Discipline… I was done before we got to G. They had completely lost me by Zzzz (the importance of getting plenty of rest).
3. Kindergarten teachers are saints. Or they should be. How does that work? Is it like knighting someone? Can I make nominations? Either way, God bless them. I mean that. Please, God, bless them. Otherwise it’s homeschool and my hair is really short. I don’t have much left to pull out.
4. I’m not ready for PTO. Just in general. Not for the perky parents. Not for the volunteer roles that require more time than some salaried positions. No offense if you’re a perky parent. I need you. I depend on you. I can’t sit through that board meeting so I need to know that you’re there lobbying for the justice (or length of lunch breaks) that our children deserve.
5. Kindergarten is a big deal. I sometimes forget that. I get caught up in the day-to-day and miss the big picture. I see what life looks like today and forget that it will never look the same again. It’s a big deal that she walks in to school alone. It’s a big deal that she wants to. It’s a big deal that she sees me smile and wave and let her walk away. It’s a big deal that she knows I trust her so she can learn to trust herself, too.