I've been reading about this for two weeks now. Child goes to school. Child leaves mom or dad at home. Mom or dad goes crazy and has a meltdown. Not a real full-blown meltdown, but more like "I miss my Billy!" or "I miss my Susie!" kind of meltdown.
I remember being a bit overwhelmed when Jeni went to kindergarten. It was, I suppose, a perfectly natural reaction. Standing on the playground with dozens of other parents, I realized that I was not alone. There were others who held that same wet gleam in their eyes as I did. It was, after all, that moment when most of us had to let go of our children for the very first time. Entrusting them with somebody else, even if it was only for a couple hours of the day.
I admit I shed some tears on that first day of school when we dropped off Jeni and I did it again when we dropped off Aly at pre-school. I don't recall doing it again after that, but I do remember a fair number of times when Lois and I dropped off the girls in those first couple of weeks and I gulped a lot as I watched them both start to cry as we headed for the doorway. Sometimes it seems like it was just the other day.
Fast forward 7 years.
Last week while Jeni was busy doing all her drawing in math class, she also managed to miss a class because her schedule was changed and nobody told her. That was something that worried her because she didn't want that becoming a part of her permanent school record. In her first 6 years of school she prided herself because she had only missed 3 days of school because she was sick. The idea of getting zapped on her attendance record for a mistake that the school made really bothered her. So Lois said that they would go in this past Monday and see what they could do to clear it up.
I wasn't there, but the way I heard it told was Jeni was absolutely embarrassed to show up at school with her mom. Outside, as they walked up to the school building, Jeni walked with head held down and two feet back and to the left. Noticing this, Lois stopped and asked Jeni if she was embarrassed to be seen with her mom.
"No." Jeni said. Although she stopped exactly two feet behind her mom.
Lois came home later that evening and told me, "My oldest daughter doesn't want her Mommy anymore."
This morning when we dropped the girls off at school I asked Jeni if I could walk her in. All I heard was a sharp "NO!" as she slammed the car door. I'm not sure who's having a meltdown, but I'm pretty sure it's not me.