Ms. B. starts her first day of Middle School today. I think I’m more nervous than she is: Will she find all of her classes okay? Will she figure out how to work her locker combination? Will she figure out the busses okay? I was so anxious and frazzled this morning that it wasn’t until I was almost to my office that I realized I had forgotten to put on makeup. Ms. B. seemed pretty relaxed about it all. Her only concern that she wasn’t going to go to the bus stop until she saw some other kids there: She didn’t want to stand there alone.
I still remember my first day of Middle School: My straight hair had been newly permed, so my hair was at its maximum ‘fluff.’ I probably painstakingly curled my bangs. Ms. B., on the other hand, took great pains to make sure her thick wavy hair was pin straight, her new bangs brushed to the side just so. I wore a blue button down shirt with gold flecks and a khaki mini skirt. Ms. B. wore a blue paisley racer back tank and denim cutoffs.
The first time Ms. B. walked to school by herself, way back on the first day of fourth grade, I secretly followed her a block behind, just to make sure she made it okay. Kind of lame, I know. She never looked back, so she never even knew I was there, which was probably for the best. How embarassing would it be to know that your mom stalked you in the morning. I couldn’t do the same here. I had to leave the house before Ms. B. did to get the Peanut to daycare in time for breakfast. I asked D. to stay behind so he could text me a play-by-play of the bus stop, which he did, so I could hear who made the bus, and who dared to sprint back to their house for some forgotten item and missed it, and breathe easy knowing that Ms. B. was in the first group. I’m not sure Ms. B. knew D was there, watching through the front door, texting me.
It’s really so stereotypical of my relationship with Ms. B. She famously asked me to drop her off at the corner on her first day of Kindergarten. I didn’t oblige that first day, but did for the rest of the school year, anxiously watching her from my parked car until she was in the building each morning. Spoiler Alert: She made it into the building for Kindergarten every day JUST fine. Virtually from birth, Ms. B. has always been telling me, “I got this. I’ll take it from here.” I inwardly panic (“DO you? Do you really know what you’re doing? Are you SURE you don’t need me?”) while outside I try to take deep breaths and encourage her to give it a shot, knowing that her confidence and independence are skills that will drive me crazy now, but will serve her well as an adult.
But that doesn’t mean I won’t be sitting in my car (or telling D. to sit in his car), parked down at the end of the block, watching just to make sure, ready to swoop in if she needs me.