Monday, November 29, 2004

Even Moms have Firsts

I try as much as I can to enjoy all of my children’s firsts as they happen, and appreciate them individually. I stopped thinking of my own firsts… well, about 5 years ago while expecting my first child. Even the firsts I felt during pregnancy were more about her than me. Well, today, I had a first, and it was really cool.

My oldest daughter is in preschool three days a week. Her wonderful teacher, unfortunately, lost her grandfather this past weekend, and needed to attend the funeral this morning. Well, as life would have it, a substitute teacher was needed, and despite hours of calling, pleading, organizing, and rescheduling, I was the only option.

This was all figured out last night after dinner, but the full weight didn’t truly hit me until this morning. I walked into an empty classroom, with my daughter by my side, and realized that in about 10 minutes, parents would be arriving with their children. More importantly, the parents would then be leaving WITHOUT their children.

I had the help of two other mothers who were there as helpers, a job I had relished in the past, and had been scheduled to do this morning. I envied them in that moment. I appreciated their presence and silent support, but it didn’t change the fact that I was the one standing in front of 12 little kids waiting to rip me to shreds. Ok, so maybe they only wanted to hear stories, do art projects, and eat snacks, but their eyes told a different story.

First, fights over who got to change the date on the calendar and sing the “Days of the Week”, then arguments over whose turn it was for “Show and Tell”, followed closely by “That’s not how Mrs. Parsons does it”, and through it all was me, realizing I was going to have to stand in front of these little vultures and…..sing. I love to sing – alone in the shower, alone in the car, alone in the house. You see the problem.

Story time came and went with little fanfare. We read about firefighters. We talked about other adult jobs and what they entailed. We learned that Coldon’s dad is a firefighter, Jenna wants to be a veterinarian, and most of the Mommy’s “don’t have a job.” I opened my mouth in protest, but I was outnumbered. Instead, I smiled silently, patted their little heads, and asked them who brought them to school that morning. “Mom,” they all said. And who would pick them up? “Mom.”

It was a long day, and one of the biggest challenges of my life – certainly of my mom-life. It was crazy, unpredictable, and overwhelming. It was great. Overall it went well. I was happy with the end result, or maybe just that it ended. No one needed CPR, wounds tended, not even a Band-Aid. I cleaned the spilt juice. I zipped the coats and fitted the mittens. I emptied the trash and vacuumed the carpet. I walked out of the same empty classroom I had walked into 3 hours before, with my daughter again by my side, feeling proud of my first time as a substitute teacher.


Aussie Mama said...

Hi great site, thanks for calling past.

Jumperless said...

Wow, cool. Not sure I could handle that many kids. Nice blog BTW.