Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Work: System Failure

I was thinking that today I'd write about how I felt as I drove away after dropping Big E off for her first day of first grade.  Last year, when I left her on her first day of kindergarten I bent down to kiss her before I dashed off to work and was struck by a brief but distinct glimmer of her infant-self in her face.  She was my baby, but just for an instant.  I wept the whole way to work...and I was planning to reflect on a similarly poignant moment today.

We all know where planning gets you.

When I drove away from Big E's school today, I was overcome not with a wave of nostalgia or pang of separation anxiety, but with a tornado of full-fledged panic.  Due to a mix-up with the school's morning care program, when I drove away, it was with Big E in the back seat.

I apologized profusely to every higher-up that I encountered as I darted between clumps of teenagers, six-year-old in tow.  I gathered up a makeshift collection of art supplies, grabbed an abandoned picture book and brought Big E to my morning classes with me.  She colored quietly while I worked through my first day spiel to my new classes and by the time I was done, my panic was pretty well tamped down.  Save for some mild disapprobation from my boss, we had survived the worst case scenario.

Until, that is, we got her back to school, where she burst into tears upon entering the main office.  After a very kind secretary pried her from around my leg, calmed her and set off with her down the hall to the first grade, I finally made that solo drive to work.

I didn't think about how much she'd grown, like I'd planned to.  I thought about how messy it all was.  It didn't matter that I'd confirmed and reconfirmed my childcare arrangement, that the night before I'd talked her through the day that I thought she'd have as she started first grade, not even that I really looked like a competent professional when I left the house that morning.  It's all subject to change.  

Embarking on this year of balance, I'd planned to somehow subvert this kind of chaos.  If today is any indication, that will not be the case.  All I can do is try not to let the inevitable messes tip the scale.
Another panicked mother was nice enough to take this as we both hyperventilated and tried to figure out how to work around the missing childcare.

1 comment:

  1. oh my god. What happened with the childcare?! (Well, it was a first-day of school everyone will remember.) You taught high school courses...on the first day of school...with a 1st grader in tow. You deserve a pay increase should give yourself an "A" for adaptablility. And, btw - nice first day of school outfits! STRESS!!!!