Five and a half years ago, she was born. I was bad at pregnancy. I was bad at giving birth. In the end she was born via emergency c-section while I was under general anesthesia. Breastfeeding didn’t work out. Lots of people–not everyone, but lots of people–said I was doing it wrong. But I was her mother, and I was the person who cared about her the most, so even when I did it wrong, I was paying attention.
I didn’t know how it would be. Unless you grew up with younger siblings, so much younger that you were given some responsibility for them, you don’t know. Not with the first one. It all blindsides you. You’re swimming along, happily the center of your own personal universe, and then bam. You aren’t.
It was hard for me. I wasn’t good at being pregnant, the way I thought I’d be. I wasn’t good at giving birth or breastfeeding. But I tried my hardest for this little girl. Every mom knows how it is: no eating, sleeping, bathing, or eliminating of your own is more important than the baby’s tiniest whim. You forget yourself. For years, you are no one but the one who takes care of that child.
“Kindergarten,” I said early on. “Some day she’ll go to kindergarten, and I can be myself again.”
A couple weeks ago, I bought Mimi’s kindergarten supplies. It wasn’t the way I’d thought it would be, because what is? Nope, I had gone to Wal-Mart for a prescription, but the pharmacy was closed for lunch and the school supply lists were right there, so I snatched it all up in a rushed moment of irritation.
How many things that were supposed to be sacred end up happening in a rushed moment of irritation?
So here it comes. We’re having our last couple weeks of Mimi Before Kindergarten. Our last couple weeks of desperately going somewhere, ANYWHERE, to make the morning pass. Our last couple weeks of me being the person she spends most of her time with. Our last couple weeks when I’m always there to roar into place–in theory, at least–when the world doesn’t treat her the way it should.
I’ve looked forward to it for five and a half years, and now, I am losing my shit. Requesting a bus stop in front of our house. Deciding to pick her up after school, because the bus ride is too long to do twice a day. Requesting a school change to make that drive shorter–getting irritated because the other school has uniforms, so she won’t be able to express her precious snowflake self–getting denied for the school change, and having mixed feelings about it. Stalking her teacher on Facebook. Trying to get her vaccination records together. Trying to figure out how the HELL to get a doctor to see her, with the state health insurance. Crying at midnight because I was afraid of the bus in kindergarten, and what if she’s afraid, too?
And at the same time, wondering how I’ll survive these last couple weeks of being Not Myself, and more importantly, how I’ll survive what comes after them. Because holy cow. I’ve been Not Myself for five and a half years. I’m not sure anymore how to go about being anyone else.