When I was a kid, I couldn't wait for school to start. I remember going to "Federals" (anyone remember this department store?) for new clothes and to Kresgee's for supplies. The first day of school was full of anxiety mixed with excitement...what teacher did I get, were any of my friends in my class...who would I set next to... Back then we didn't get to sit anywhere we wanted but were assigned seats alphabetically by last name. Does anyone remember the "cloak room"? Honest, that's what we called the back of each classroom where we hung our coats. No lockers, no bookbags, no backpacks...imagine that! Over the years, I've had many nightmares centered in the cloakroom. The one I've had over and over is...I go to take my coat off and realize that I forgot to put my skirt on and am standing in my slip.
OK, here's a story from probably 1953. My very first day of kindergarden I took a bus to school. It's the only time I can remember taking a bus and I only did it this one time. (don't know why...) Anyway, I remember that my classroom in Broadway school, now demolished, had access through a window. It opended like a french door and there were steps leading into the room off of the window sill. Hey, I don't make this stuff up...
I don't remember the actual bus ride home, just that when the door opened and I stepped onto the sidewalk, I didn't recognize anything! Panic set in and I started walking to my left...sobbing with every step. It didn't take long for a lady to come out of her house and say "Little girl, are you lost?" At the same time I heard my name being called from behind me. Turning around, I saw my mother. I ran toward her, sobbing "mommy...mommy", I can still hear my voice. When I reached her, she grabbed me by the arms and said "Stop your crying...why didn't you just wait here until I came?" What?? No one told me to wait...no one told me what to do if I got off the bus and my mom wasn't there... Somehow, this was my fault. I said "but you weren't here...you weren't here...I was scared" and her reply was "You should have waited."
I never took the bus again. I walked to and from school. I know, you're saying, "yeah...when I was a kid I had to walk a MILE...in the snow and rain..." No really, I did.
So, let's take a look at what I learned from this experience.
- 1st, I am NEVER late. Ask anyone who knows me...I'm early to a fault.
- 2nd, always have a backup plan.
- 3rd, know where you are going and how to get back.
- 4th, don't trust your mom to be there for you
When I became a mom I always tried to take any experience my sons had and look at it from their point of view. What they think is earthshaking may to me be nothing...but my reaction may be what they remember...
When David was in about 5-6 grade, he got a horrible haircut. I let him go to the barber by himself...my bad. He was so upset with the GI butch cut that he didn't want to go to a concert that his class was having that night. I talked him into going and told him that at the end of the last song, where all the kids threw their cowboy hats into the air, he could keep his on. When we got to the school, I went into the room where all the kids were waiting and told them to leave his hat alone or deal with me. (I was playing the piano for the concert, so the kids knew me)
It all went fine that night but in the morning I found him sitting in the basement, crying that he didn't want to go to school...the kids would make fun of him... I told him...OK...you can stay home today, but you have to go tomorrow. Next morning, he went to school. As a mom, I felt so sad that I couldn't shield him from the pain we would suffer at the hands of his classmates. At the end of school he came literally bounding into the house..."Mom, the girls loved my new haircut! They kept rubbing it!" End of story...
Moral of the story...your kids grow up too fast and you don't have a second chance.