The day my daughter started preschool it hit me like a ton of dirty diapers. Holy shit, I’m a parent. A mom. I never truly felt like a mom until my husband and I dropped her off at her new school that day. It was the first time either one of us had to get her up, cleaned, dressed, and fed by a certain time … and then hand her over to someone else. Before the start of school we had it easy—Natalia had been at home for nearly two years with either myself, my husband, or a nanny. So this is what it feels like to say goodbye to your little kid every morning. It blows. Well, that first day did anyway.
I swear Natalia defiantly put her chin up in the air as she walked by us to get to her new teacher. Who does that two-year-old little munchkin think she is anyway? So smug. So confident. So smart. I bet she would’ve flicked us off if she knew how. Why wasn’t she crying? Even whining a little bit? Where’s the tearful goodbye you see in the movies? I was proud of her but also a little ticked off. My husband and I stood there like two idiots. When we got back into the car neither one of us could look at each other. I knew he was crying. I was trying not too. What a pair of pussies.
Two people who never thought they’d have a kid now had one tough little cookie. Three months into preschool and Natalia can’t get enough of it. She would live there if we let her. My husband drops her off and I pick her up. Whether she’s coming or going she has that same goofy grin on her face each time. And so do I. I finally feel like a mom. So everyday I drop what I’m doing to rush and get my daughter. I wait with all the other nervous overdressed moms and dads who chat about stupid stuff to impressive the other parents. But once I spot my daughter’s pig tails in the lineup of other snot-nosed kids it’s worth it. She’s looking right at me, grinning as if she’d won a truck full of Elmo dolls. If someone ever told me I’d be carpooling a “mini me” to school each day I’d would’ve told them to down another hallucinogenic. That ain’t happening to me. But it did. And I’m glad.
From The Moxie Report, November 23, 2008