Yesterday was the first day of school. E1 started a brand new school, transitioning from private to public. She went from 21 kids in the grade to 21 kids in her class. She went from carpool to riding the bus. She went from the familiar to the unfamiliar.
8:00 am: As we entered the new school we were greeted by smiles, welcomes, cheery faces, and how are yous. The energy was positive, upbeat, wonderful. Through the sound system they played "We are Family." I was in heaven. I felt as if our neighborhood school was the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. I spent ALL day telling people how E1 did great at drop off, the new school was wonderful, and I was so pleased with our decision to switch schools.
3:30 pm: E1's face is sad. Really sad. Tears are quietly streaming down her face and I see this through the window pane of the school bus. As she gets off the bus, parents around say, "Oh no" as E1 falls into my arms in this dramatic hysteria. "I HATE SCHOOL. I'M NEVER GOING BACK. EVERYONE IS MEAN." E1 is crying hysterically saying this over and over and over as we walk the longest three minutes home. I am crumbling inside. I am about to fall apart myself when I remember I am the damn mom and have to figure this shit out.
E1's day was a straight up cluster fuck. Whatever could go wrong went wrong. As I listened to each part of the day we discussed how she could have changed the outcome using different words, standing up for herself, asking for help, etc. While all this was going on texts from family and friends are coming in asking how the day went and receiving the text "terrible." Poor E1. She was heartbroken and I was feeling the most immense amount of guilt.
Later in that day I spoke to the teacher. Son of a bitch. I am that mom and she is that kid. Fuck.
The teacher is a gift from G-d. She offered up some changes and E1 was prepared to go back for day two.
Day two: E1 woke up and I reminded her today was a new day and that quite frankly it was going to be better because it couldn't get any worse. She left for school with no tears and I prayed.
3:20 pm: Two moms at the bus stop asked me how I was doing, if E1 was ok, and how terrible they felt that she was so upset yesterday. And now we are that family around the corner - the family with the new kid, the family with the kid crying. FUCK.
These moms and other moms took E1's crying as a learning opportunity for their children. The neighborhood bus stop moms told me how they spoke to their children about how terrified E1 must have been being the new kid. They said not talking to her is the same as being mean and they had a responsibility to make her feel welcome. And now I am choked up at the bus stop, overwhelmed by the kindness of strangers, the kindness of neighbors, and feeling assured once again we made the right decision to switch schools.
3:30 pm: E1 JUMPS off the bus and with her ENORMOUS toothless SMILE and exclaims, " I HAD THE BEST DAY EVER. I LOVE MY SCHOOL." She introduces me to her new friend in her class that rides the bus too and begins to tell me how GREAT her day was.
With yesterday behind us, the present being just that - a present, I look forward to her bright future.
It definitely takes a village and I am proud to be "that family" in this terrific village.