I'm not sure when it happened. It totally snuck up on me, caught me by surprise, and brought a tear to my eye. I have become that mother.
You know the one: she paces the living room floor waiting for that glimpse of her child after the first day of school. She frets over him making a friend, eating his lunch, getting on the right bus. She chews her nails thinking of the wrong words he may use (Irish words or phrases that are now second nature and stand out in American contexts). She sees him on the bus, leaving for the day, and her heart breaks at his enthusiasm and vulnerability and joy at going to school, knowing that someday - perhaps someday soon - his naivete will be shattered by reality: school sucks. Kids can be mean. Still ten years to go.
Yep, that was me as the boy experienced his first day of American elementary school yesterday. I was a wreck. But the boy was a trooper. I got a little bit sick to my stomach. He ate breakfast and the school lunch AND his brown bag lunch. I cried a little bit. He laughed and jumped and smiled, telling us about his bus adventure and the one girl who wasn't so keen on him hugging her.
The Boy : A+
Mommy : F
The strange thing is, we've always really promoted independence and resourcefulness and thick skins in our little family. We never really worried much about him as a baby or small child. I don't think it was really till we moved overseas - and I saw that he really was just a wee lad and still vulnerable and innocent and prone to heartbreak - that I started to fret. And now that we're back, we're all having to start over. Back in our homeland, where us adults were born and reared and should recognize and remember everything, we're having to relearn the whole system. And that causes me, a fussy mummy and a stressed wife, to worry just a bit more about how everyone is doing and if we'll all succeed.
So far, the first big test of school and boys, my son is a success. His mom, on the other hand, could use some work. Must study and research and give myself a few pop quizzes over the next semester or two. After all, we'll be doing this all over again back in Ireland next year.