Parenting Makes You...The Parent
The first happened as I was watching a truly inspiring television program called Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County. (Kids: As you read this as adults, I strongly encourage you to somehow get access to this program to witness the genius that was reality television in the year 2004. It will make you think highly of your mother.) I first watched this show as a 24 year old single girl, living in an apartment. By the middle of that first season, I was falling in love with my future husband. Fast forward eight years and I decided to rewatch the series to keep me entertained while doing dishes.
Lauren, the main girl character, was leaving for college in the episode I watched last week. I vaguely remembered seeing it the first time around and remembered thinking about my own leaving for college experience. But you know what I saw this time? I saw HER PARENTS. I saw her mom crying and I couldn't believe it when I teared up myself. I tried to imagine the moment of Bella leaving for school, which is thankfully still far away in 2027. But it's coming and that is daunting.
Somehow, I am no longer the about-to-go-to-college kid myself. How did that happen? I am the parent. I actually see the parents in the tv shows about teenagers and college kids, and am more curious about them than the kids. I think like a parent. I relate to the parents.
And then the second moment. It was preschool orientation for the parents one evening and it was going to take place at the school. As I was rushing to get ready, I honestly had a moment where I wasn't sure what to wear. Because what does a mom wear to a school thing? Old people clothes, right? Like mom clothes? Do I own mom clothes?
I knew this was ridiculous and I was absolutely overthinking it, but I also knew that my usual ripped jeans and tank top were perhaps not the right look for the occasion. So I wore some clothes that seemed reasonable for a mom to wear. For a parent to wear. For a grown-up to wear.
Because that's who I am now: a mom, a parent, a grown-up. Still me. But different.
* * * * *
Bella did great with her first day of preschool today, but I knew she would. School will be such a good experience for my social butterfly. I had no reservations or even nervousness about sending her and she walked into her classroom without so much as a backward glance or a "Bye, mommy!" This is how she has always been so I wasn't surprised, but it is still a bit startling to me how new situations do not faze her at all. So I didn't think I'd cry over dropping her off at preschool and I was right.
After drop-off, Oliver & I went home and I had a FANTASTICALLY AWESOME hour and a half while Oliver napped. To be home! And doing my own thing! My favorite!
At pick-up time, the teacher reported it was her best first day with a preschool class ever. She praised the class up and down and told us what they did, including that she read them a book called The Kissing Hand, which is about a little raccoon who is nervous about going to school and would rather stay home with his mama. To comfort him, the mom takes her son's hand and kisses it and tells him that if he gets lonely at school he can press his hand to his face feel the warmth. Bella's teacher then said the kids did an art project and made the parents our own "kissing hands" to comfort us during this time of transition, while we adjust to being separated, and we could find those kissing hands in their cubbies.
Well, guess what happened then?
I almost cried.
As much as I knew I wouldn't cry at drop-off, I also knew I would still cry at some point.
Ah, parenting. Gets me every time.