The Perfect Grandson goes to Kindergarten

No Telling

School supplies are bought, labeled, and stowed neatly in a backpack by the door. The Lightning McQueen lunchbox is packed and chilling in the fridge. New shorts and a shirt are folded in a pile with clean socks and a handkerchief on the ready.

Tomorrow morning, The Perfect Grandson goes to kindergarten.

He’s a little nervous, but more excited. His classroom looks like jungle with monkeys on the walls, counting bugs in jars, books everywhere. The alpha and omega of his day will rest in Mrs. Lovelady’s hands. He calls her “Miss Lovely” and I think that is a very, very good sign.

I have no doubt The Perfect Grandson will have a sterling day. He’ll come home, eat everything that’s not nailed down, and talk nonstop until he goes to bed. He’s a born-curious extrovert who makes friends on the fly and who craves the how and why of everything. School will be his other food.

Em, on the other hand, is a wreck. I suspect this milestone sneaked up on her like the dirty thief time can be and now here it is, tomorrow. In truth, she’s been weeping off and on for a week. Not because she’s worried or scared that her son will be worried or scared, but because his going to Big School marks the end of something. The beginning too, and that’s a long hall to look down for any mama. When I think about Em’s first day of kindergarten, I’m fairly sure it was yesterday that she went. Maybe the day before, but no longer ago than that.

It’s been 21 years since I walked my baby to her first real classroom. So I understand when Em says tomorrow is the beginning and the end. She’s right. It is.

As a teacher and his Mimi, though, I can’t help but be excited for him. Fresh crayons and sharp pencils and the whole big world to learn. I won’t spend a second worrying about him tomorrow – that’s his mama’s specialty. Besides, The Perfect Grandson doesn’t need hand-wringing. He’ll be having entirely too much fun.

UPDATE:  The day was a smashing success and the young scholar ate all his lunch. How could a boy with shoes as cool as those have a bad day?

Go Hug a Single Mama

No Telling

It’s true. You know, single mothers deserve a whole month of free spa days with paid vacation and an on-call nanny. It won’t happen, of course, but there should be a little something more than a card or an almost forgotten card and the celebration should last at least a week.

Single mothers work hard being everything to everyone all the time. It’s a tough job description that takes a special kind of woman to make it work. Most of my generation has taken a stab at single parenting at least once – some, several times. We never list that on our resumes, though. We should, because nothing says I Can Get Things Done like a single woman with a couple of kids, a job, a house to run, and at least one ex-somebody calling regularly to complain. Despite and because of it all, we manage to make the whole shebang run smoothly.

It’s no surprise. We’ve had generations of training. My grandmother was a war widow at 21 – five kids and no high school diploma. Make no mistake – just because there’s a box marked “widowed” on the form, that doesn’t mean the parenting is different. My mother has been married to my dad forever, but her marital status didn’t alter the fact that Dad was on the road most of the time and she was In Charge. Talk to any woman married in the late 50s and early 60s and they’ll tell you about single-parenting with or without the vows. Things were what they were in those days.

I’ve single-parented and now my daughter is, too. It’s not easy and sometimes it’s not fun, but it is what it is. Just tonight she managed to bathe afternoon play dirt and Ranch Dressing out of her son’s hair before the bedtime snuggle. Then she fixed the stopped up sink and repaired the disposal via googled instructions. If we find a wayward spider on the floor tonight, I imagine we’ll kill it ourselves.

Tomorrow’s our day – all of us out there loading the dishwasher and starting a pile of laundry and dragging out the trash now that the kids are in bed. We’re the queens of multitasking and the goddesses of Getting It Done. So bring on the macaroni necklaces and dandelions stolen from the neighbor’s yard – we’re ready to bask in the 24-hour glamor of Mother’s Day and we deserve all 1,440 minutes of it.