Charlie’s first day: Good mommy, bad wife

Charlie’s first day: Good mommy, bad wife

Welp. We did it.

First day of preschool drop-off for Charlie, my 3-year-old with an extra chromosome and extra personality. It was not at all what I expected.

Apparently, I don’t do well on days of first events.

Three-plus years ago, I remember snapping at The Husband while I lay in the hospital bed like a harpooned whale, waiting to be taken to surgery to deliver Charlie via emergency C-section. The Husband was wearing the most God-awful navy sweatpants that were a good four inches too long for his 6-foot-1 frame, so he had pegged and rolled them. Yep. Just like eighth grade. I was appalled and spent a good portion of the morning rolling my eyes at his get-up. I realize now, it was an excellent distraction from the screaming and sobbing I had tamped down inside.

Apparently, I channel nerves via judgment. And I did it again this morning.

As we stood in Charlie’s preschool classroom, knowing full well it was time to leave, The Husband looked traumatized, horrified and nasally. I looked like I felt: once relaxed, now slightly perturbed.

His red-rimmed eyes followed our firstborn’s every move. I ran interference between Emma and the classroom toys, which kept me busy even though she was still clutching her bowl of pancakes in one hand an hour after we handed it to her.

“OK, time to go!” I said, a little too energetically, a little too chirpily. I was hoping I could project easy-breezy-farewells onto The Husband. No good.

“Don’t let him see you cry,” I implored, opting for what I really wanted to say. I was annoyed at myself for feeling annoyed by his tears and emotion.

The whole thing reminded me of high school graduation, when I found myself surrounded by weeping girls and emotionally hugging boys (opportunistic, no?). The scene was weird and awkward. Was I supposed to be crying, too? I didn’t feel sad. I felt ready. Like this morning.

Charlie is going to love school. I know this. I had my meltdown back when I first peered at the teacher’s proposed daily schedule for the kids, which involved a lot of structure and following directions. But I’ve had several months to adjust, much like the gap between getting accepted into school and watching my Dad drive away from me and the university, 800 miles from home.

Did my Dad get choked up? Did I? I remember watching him go and feeling a palpable beginning in my life. Not an ending. My Dad was heading back to Massachusetts, not out of my life. Charlie is beginning his school career, not abandoning his family. He will rock it.

And The Husband and I will continue to balance each other, for better or worse, pegged pants or not.

Full disclosure: My “good mommy” status may have waned a bit. I may or may not have taken the $5 Grammie sent Charlie for his first day of school and procured an iced pumpkin latte immediately after drop-off. I’ll pay you back, kid.


  1. Oh, i am with the hubs: I cry ALL THE DAMN TIME. I always want to be that cool cucumber, but no dice.

    • Maureen Wallace says:

      Haha! Dawn, I honestly think I would be more of a mess if The Husband was less of a mess, if that makes any sense. Basically, I’m just a horrible wife.

  2. maureen, the husband is the softee in our household. He’s so bad he cries for strangers. Thank God for him though, he’s the cook .

    • Maureen Wallace says:

      I gotta let The Husband know that I will be better able to deal with his emotions if he starts cooking. THANK YOU for this life-changing revelation, Sue!! (And seriously? Thanks for always being such a huge support. You are my Internet mom since my Earth mom hates the Internet!)

  3. Paco, smile because you’ve both successfully endured the first of many episodes of terror and triumph! For me letting my first born, just for those brief few hours at school, was the single toughest thing I’ve ever had to do and so I congratulate you and The Husband!

    Does it get easier? Hell no. Will you always trip over your emotions? With irritating regularity. Is there some relief somewhere? Yes, everyday with the smile Charlie gives you at the end of school.

    PS: Iced pumpkin lattes are a blessing.

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