Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Rising to the Occasion

On August 25th, I drove my little boy to the pre-school we have waited 3 years to get into.

On the way I had a mild to moderate anxiety attack. Traffic was terrible. If you live in Houston, then you know what I am talking about. And it just so happened that American Idol was having auditions that day as well. I mean seriously, on our first day of school?

The more I sat gridlocked on the freeway, the more panicked I became. I was going to be 'that mom' whose kid was late on the first day of school. We would have to walk in and have everyone stop and stare because we would be disrupting the classroom, I would get dirty looks from his teacher and the helpers...great.

So I frantically began communicating (because I am not going to say I was texting in my car and get dirty comments from you all, besides, we were not moving anyway, but still, I know...)with my husband, who was offshore, that I couldnt do this. I couldnt make this maddening drive back and forth, 30 miles each way, twice a day. That is a 120 miles a day on my car for those of you who do not like math. And about 3 hours in my car a day. I dont like my car that much.

I told him this didnt feel right.
I didnt care that it took 3 years to get in, I dont think he belongs there.
I am turning the car around and taking him back to his old school.
He has friends there.
LaLa is there, they should be together.
Gas was too much.
I dont want to get up at 530 every morning.
And on and on I went.
Until I got there.

The school was beautiful. It was just built and today was the first day the students would be using it. The new, bigger building was the reason that Kai was attending in the first place. It had allowed them to add extra classes to first three rooms. And our room was a last minute add when one of the teachers decided she would like to come back after being out for 2 years raising her daughter. I could kiss Ms. Tracie's feet every day for making that decision.

I exited the freeway and quickly the panic began again. How the hell do I get in there?? There was a huge, chain link fence surrounding the school all along the feeder road entrance. So slowly I drove further and there was a little side street, I turned because I didnt know what else to do. And if you know me, you know I am infamous for getting lost, TomTom and iPhone GPS and all...I get lost. Then I saw the sign that had The Rise School on it with the address and an arrow for parking. Turns out you have to make 3 right turns(thats almost a square for you geometrically challanged people, but I suppose it could be a triangle if the angles aligned right), anywho, 3 right turns and then you are finally in the parking lot of the school. Seemed I wasnt the only one that was late. There were mommies I knew, just arriving with their little ones. Shew. First wave of panic over. Well of course I drove down through the drive trying to find a close spot, which I should have known wasnt going to happen. Then all of a sudden, after taking that 4th right turn, I was on a little street that was taking me back to the feeder road I had started on. Of course it was. So I made the 3 right turns again to get back into the parking lot, now noticing the specialized high school for 'future' medical minded students and then, oddly, a psychiatric hospital. Ah, that explains the very tall chain link fence...back to parking lot I come. I suck it up and park in BFE. And if anyone can volunteer what goes through the mind of who designs these parking spots that are obviously made for a Smart Cars and not Toddler Toting SUVs and then stuffs them in a parking lot for a preschool, next to a YMCA day care, please do. Not to mention the signs in front of the spots that say 20 Minute Parking. Yeah, Ok, whatever.

I get Kai out of the car and carry him until we get to the covered sidewalk. I set him down so he can do the Big Boy Walk into school only holding mommy's hand. We get closer to the entrance and it is like the Grammy's or something. There are people out there with nice camera's taking pictures of you and your little one before you head into the school. We stop for a pose(thank goodness I looked skinny that day!)and then head in. I literally see 3 or 4 mommies I know before the door shuts behind me.

The rest of my anxiety slips away. I find out where his room is, which just happens to be very close to front doors. So I take him in. His classroom is beautiful. Everything is shiny and new. All the toys are new. All the kids have a 3 tiered cubby with their name on it. Thankfully Jessica was there the day before and informed that Kai was not Kia and that he was a boy, so his name was changed on his cubby and the pink decorative paper was replaced with a boy color. I met his teacher. She was great. Then I kind of stepped aside as other parents were bringing their little ones in. Turns out our room was mostly 'new' students that had just gotten in. There were a couple of seasoned veterans in there, one of them being my friend Jessica's little girl, so I was happy to have a mom Ive known since before Kai was born in his room. I actually met her when I was pregnant with Kai and she told me about Rise. I stood back and watched. They had Kai sit at a table with other kids and they brought out the snack cart. Thankfully they had graham crackers, one of the two crunchy things he will actually eat. Some of the kids were crying, some of the mommies were crying. I stood there smiling. I snapped a few shots with my phone and a few with my camera and the teacher was also taking pictures.

He was comfortable. I was happy. This was the right choice.

Sorry, I know its blurry, but I am at work, so I am limited to photos