First Day of School

(How can it be Wednesday already?  Those dragons are taking it out of me.  All the more reason to write.  Moving on….)

Last week was Tornado A’s first day of school.  I was a nervous wreck.  Not because I thought he would cry and never let me go, but because I was sure he would run off without a backward glance.

The week before, the school held an open house for the children to meet each other and the teachers.  As soon as we were in the classroom, Tornado A let go of my hand and ran over to the toys.  He was quick to engage other children in play.  I just stood back and watched him.  I was amused by the other parents because many were first-timers.  I could tell because they hovered around their children, trying to play with their children, introducing their children to other children, trying to get their children to play with other children.

“He’s ready,” said the teacher.  A woman who had worked in the office for all the years I had brought my boys to this school.

“And I’m not,” I said with a sigh.

“You’ll be fine.”

“I know.  But that’s my baby.”

We watched Tornado A for a few minutes.

“He certainly is comfortable.”

“He’s bright too.  So good luck.”  I smiled at the teacher.  She gave me an uncertain smile before being pulled away by a first-timer.

So when the first day happened, Tornado A was ready.  He was more than ready.  He was waiting.  “I go to school?!”

“Yes, and you won’t see Mommy for a long time.  Won’t that be fun?  Not seeing Mommy?” said the oldest child.  I wanted to spray him with a water gun.

“It’s going to be your first day.  You’re going to have so much fun at school!” I answered, shooting a don’t-you-dare-mess-with-your-brother look at Tornado E.

And after we dropped off the older boys, staying for the assembly, Tornado A wanted to be off, begging me to leave so he could go to school.  Finally I relented.  So we were going to be ten minutes early.  No big deal, right?

Then as I was about to make my left turn into the school parking lot, Tornado A vomited and vomited and vomited.  So instead of making my left turn, I did a U-turn and raced for home, five minutes down the street.  As soon as I was parked and out of the car, I yanked Tornado A out and tore off his clothes, whispering reassurances as he kept repeated “I threw up!”  I raced him upstairs and ran a quick bubble bath.  As the water ran, I ran downstairs and yanked the car seat out, which was the only thing he tagged other than his clothes.  I plopped Tornado A into the bath.  I raced to get clothes for him.  I got him crackers and some juice.  I scrubbed him off.  I dried him off.  I dressed him and ran him downstairs.  I placed him in his brother’s seat and said a prayer.  Hell, it was what I had at his age, and my mom drove a tiny two-door.  I got him back to school five minutes late.

I sent him into the class, explaining to the assistant teacher.  I grabbed a quick kiss and nudged him into the room.  I did it.

And I returned to an empty house.  With vomit-filled clothes and car seat.  Awesome.

And when I picked Tornado A up a few hours later, he ran to me.  I picked him up.  I wanted to say, “Did you miss me?!”

But instead, I said, “How was your day?”

Tornado A smiled and said, “This school is awesome!”

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