Every morning my three-year-old daughter and I watch the bus go by and every morning my daughter asks the same question, “Mama can I go to school today?” Immediately my heart drops because I know she’s not going to like my answer, “No, hunny, not today.” I quickly reply and divert her attention to something else.
After many similar mornings which usually include a three-year-old style tantrum, I decided, it’s time for school. As soon as we made the decision, we found a school, we visited and just like that she was enrolled. Actually, her first day is tomorrow and wouldn’t you know I’ve changed my mind about the whole thing.
I think it’s due to the flashback of my first day, of first grade. I clearly remember boarding the big, yellow cheese wagon (school bus) and sitting in the second seat on the left. Unknown to myself, this was not my seat. As soon as my legs hit the stiff plastic bench I was greeted by a punch to the stomach. Tears immediately were brought to my eyes but the overall feeling was confusion. There was no one sitting there, why couldn’t I?
I’ll never forget as the older boy’s blue eyes bobbed out of his head as he yelled at me. His disheveled blonde hair that sat too high on his head, sat stiffly, which reminded me of a helmet. But perhaps I was experiencing hair distortion from the tears pooling in my eyes.
Either way, a rush of emotions has been swirling inside of me since we’ve made the decision to send her off to school. Even though she will be attending pre-school for a few short hours two times a week, I can’t help but think of all the encounters she may have that will leave her as confused as I was on that bus ride. Back then I can’t even remember if I told my mom what happened. I do remember the bus driver pulling over and coming to my rescue. She did pull him to the front seat and did her fair share of yelling. All I really remember was that I shouldn’t sit in that seat, ever again and trust me I didn’t.
I can’t help but wonder what experiences my daughter will have during her first week at pre-school. I hope it’s nothing as quite as disturbing as my first week. I just have to remember that these encounters help mold us into the people we become. I just have to hope that my daughter will be molded without experiencing a physical altercation on her first day.