It was our oldest son’s first day of preschool. And for just one hour of actual class time it certainly was exciting, not to mention sweat-producing. Yes, you read it…I sweated on Joshua’s first day of preschool. Some moms might say this because they were concerned about their little guy feeling comfortable in the classroom, getting to know his teacher, and dealing with the first real separation between parent and child. But, as a mom of three kiddos 4 years and younger, I was sweating simply because the task of getting to and from preschool felt like hard labor.
I first felt the sweat dripping as I pushed our loaded stroller up the steep hill where we park our car. Joshua (then 4 years old) and Hannah (then 3 years old) were both very tired, so they were adding quite a bit of resistance while they held on to the stroller. And then came the packing – kids, keys, cargo. Packing the car looks a bit like this: Pile everyone in, remind them a few times to buckle up, and haul Abby (then 2 years old) in to her car seat. Then climb halfway into the back seat of a Toyota Corolla to make sure everyone is buckled properly, start the car and the air conditioning, and then work on the trunk. Stroller, diaper bag, and special activities all must be loaded up before I could finally sit down in the driver’s seat. Boy did that air conditioning feel heavenly!
Unpacking the car was just as tiring as packing it up. And this particular day was a bit out of the ordinary because I needed to bring all three little guys plus an activity bag but I could NOT bring a stroller. Ugh. Unpacking meant that I needed to shift a few things between bags before situating the hefty load on my shoulder. By the time I had climbed into the backseat of our Corolla for a second time – this time to unbuckle the kids – I was sweating again. And I still had to pick up Abby and cart her on my hip up a block, around the corner, and around the preschool building. My left bicep certainly had a workout!
Once we were inside the building I thought I might be okay but I became aware of the sweat once again while I squatted down to read Joshua a book, Abby and giant activity bag still on my hip and shoulder. And then it continued, along with a red face, while I climbed down a tight stairway, baby, Hannah, and bag in tow. And I’d like to say that I was cool as a cucumber after that, but with all the hefting and hauling to get everyone to the first day of preschool I knew that I’d have to do it all again in order to get everyone home.
As I walked into the fellowship hall, flushed and weighed down by a heavy load, I quickly became aware of different we were from the other families. For starters, I was the only parent heading downstairs with a child (or two) at my side. The rest of the parents were sans kiddos. Their children, as I soon found out, were in their preschool classes with Joshua or having their first day of school around the corner.
At first having the girls around was a good conversation starter, but after giving their names and ages the conversations came to an abrupt end. Very awkward. It’s a good thing
I had my the girls
had their activity bag. Having coloring books and play dough to unearth important
things to do always helps in these kinds of situations. Where is that rubber ducky, anyway?
Wait, doesn't every mom have a rubber duck her bag???
Wait, doesn't every mom have a rubber duck her bag???
The next thing I noticed as I perused the room was something that seemed like an obvious age gap between me and the other moms. Was it my imagination or did some of these parents look and act like they were my parents’ ages? Don’t get me wrong, my parents are not old. I have never thought of them as such. But it is a little strange when you’re sitting in a room full of people who are at least a decade older than you are (and it got stranger as Hannah spent the first couple months of the school year telling everyone who would listen that I was a ripe old age of 29). Would I ever have any credibility among these once career-driven, successful, and obviously sweat-proof women? Needless to say the awkwardness persisted and, much to my chagrin, so did the sweat.
I was thankful once the hour was over and I could trek back upstairs, kids and cargo in tow, to see how Joshua did. What a relief when his teacher said he did great even after the beginnings of what could have been a colossal meltdown upon me leaving the classroom. Praise the Lord for small victories!
Good report and all kids accounted for, we headed back out into the heat. Down the hill, around the corner, and into our little Corolla we went. The after-school grumpiness ensued from all three kids, not just the official preschooler. And the sweat continued as we drove home, unpacked the car, walked down the hill (screaming toddlers all walking in a neat little row along the stroller), and entered the familiar echo or our apartment building lobby. Was it just me or was it actually getting hotter?
Lunch made all things better…almost. And while the kids napped and rested during the afternoon, I wondered how the school year might progress. How will we manage the getting-out-the-door routine four days a week? How would this work in the winter time when I have to put everyone’s coats on to walk to the car, take them off to safely buckle into their seat belts, and put them back on in order to walk into the preschool building? Would all of this hub-bub be worthwhile?
But my two most pressing questions nothing to do with logistics. Would Joshua make any friends? And…will I ever stop sweating?!