The movie “The Lion King” came on TV this morning. As that powerful opening music began to hum and the image of that brilliant rising sun fired up on-screen I couldn’t help but think, there is irony in this–“The Circle of Life–as I was busily wiping strawberries off of cheeks and putting on backpacks and robotically velcro-ing shoes. Today was your first day of school. Okay, a two’s program, and I was going with you as I will be for the next few classes, but still, we were on the cusp of a rite passing. Of (eventual) independence. Of joining the backbone of our child-rearing society for the next twenty-some-odd years. All this to the music: “From the day we arrive on the planet, and blinking, step into the sun…”
How so very important!
Then, I thought, hurry up, you idiot. Brush your teeth, you have terrible coffee breath.
Class is friggin’ forty-five minutes. They are just going to play.
Oh, how so not very important.
Music continued to boom from the screen.
–“There’s more to see than can ever be seen, More to do than can ever be done.”–
I thought, No, this IS big! They’re going to school! They’re going to learn! My babies, growing up, how…how crazy is this…how cool…how scary…how strange…
And then, you threw a fit, Baby Boy, because you wanted to take your giant ride-on tractor with you in the car. And I said, no, you can’t take that with you. No, you can’t take that to school. No, you can’t take that in the car. No, that is dangerous. Mommy cannot drive with that. No. Too big. No. Sorry, buddy. No. You will get a booboo. No. We are going in the car. We are going in the car. Come on, in the car. Come on, in the car. In the car. In the car. Into the car. Let’s go. We will ride the tractor when we get back. We will ride the tractor when we get back. Bye tractor. Bye. Bye tractor. See you when we get back. Bye. Oh, bye tractor. Nice tractor. Yeah. Love that. Love that tractor. Best tractor ever. Yeah. Bye tractor. Bye. Bye. You want a sticker? Here. Here. Here. Here’s a sticker. Here. Take Elmo.
At that time any trace of grander thoughts in this ever turning head of mine (maybe it’s like one of those lotto bowls with all the random balls spinning?) had been trumped by this: How can they start school when I can’t even get us out the door?
Dressing had already been a fiasco. I can’t let you out of the house like that! I’d said, several times. We’d settled on summer pants and a thick, winter sweatshirt for you, Baby Boy. For you, Baby Girl, your favorite chicken sweater (and it’s called that, because it has a giant embroidered chicken on the back.) It was 72 degrees out and quite warm in the sun, but people say “pick your battles,” and clothing was not going to mine.
Once at school I thought, why is this happening??? as, Baby Girl, your little face turned purple. Why is she so upset, I’m right here, I’m right here! You were not happy to be there, Baby Girl. And as much I knew why–you don’t like changes, you like your routine, it takes a little for you to warm up to new people and situations–I thought oh, I feel so bad for my baby. I thought how shy I was growing up. How quiet I could be which was often mistaken for something else–aloof maybe?–(when no, it was scared.) I thought I want her to have more confidence than me. I thought you are thinking way too much about someone who is not even two.
When you did warm up and start playing, I thought, yeah!, then you picked up a magnet and put it in your mouth and almost choked on the letter “o.” Oooh…
On the drive home, I glanced back at you in the rearview mirror, Baby Girl, and thought, today was not your day. I thought, each time will get better. I thought, that’s what I need to tell myself. I thought, no, it will.
And, I thought, that “o” might have been a zero.
(And, I kind of want chinese food.)
When I pulled into the garage it was around 11:00 a.m. I opened your doors and there you guys were fast asleep.
I mean, out cold.
Your old nap time used to be around 1, but lately you haven’t been napping, and I’ve been pulling my hair out feeling so frustrated I MEAN relishing our time together thinking on my feet about what fun-filled afternoon activity next could we do!
I thought of Nanny saying that when I was your age, I used to nap earlier, from 11-1…
I carried you upstairs one at a time. Un-velcroed your shoes as we walked. Slid you onto your beds, both as limp as two little rag dolls.
I thought maybe that’s it, maybe they’ll like to sleep earlier in the day, just like their Mama…
I thought I want to be called “Mama,” like Forrest Gump’s mom…
I shut the door, walked out, and thought of the song “The Circle of Life.”
I thought, that’s a good song.