Leta’s transition into preschool has been bittersweet, and every morning when we drop her off she becomes inconsolable. I know a lot of kids her age have the same reaction when they are forced to make such a huge change, but with Leta, there was just as much of a chance that she’d shove us out the door with the sole of her high-top Converse and tell us to go away. She’s done that multiple times when we’re among a large group of kids, like at Little Gym or hanging out with the family, she’s physically pushed me out of the room, I guess because I’m crowding her? Cramping her toddler-style? Seriously? It’s not like I was going to walk over, lick my index finger, and then use it to wipe a booger off her cheek, all right there in front of her friends. Even though if you take a look around, every kid in the room has got some foreign substance smeared from their nose up into their hair AND THEY’RE WALKING AROUND AS IF IT ISN’T A BIG DEAL.
I’m sorry, but you do not get to be embarrassed by your parents if you are totally okay hanging out with a worm of snot wiggling around on your upper lip.
So when we decided to put Leta into pre school we were all, maybe she’ll immediately love it, right? And then I handed Jon the bong so I could go stick my face in a jar of goldfish crackers. We had to have been high to have even considered that line of reasoning, because when has anything with Leta ever been easy? We have this picture of her when she’s only about two minutes old, and the doctors had put her on the scale to weigh her, and she’s gripping the side of it with her right hand so forcibly that her knuckles are turning red, and she looks like she’s about to pull herself up and over the side so that she can run up and punch me in the face. Like we had taken her from the womb without her permission, and now we’ve gone and made her mad.
And three years later she’s still not over it.
I suffered separation anxiety when my mother sent me to preschool, anxiety so bad that I cried for nearly two months straight and the teachers got so fed up that they made me sit outside the classroom with my face pressed to the wall until I stopped crying. And I think my memories of that experience are what’s making this so hard for me, because I know what Leta is feeling when she sees me walking away. She’s terrified, for no good reason, and she doesn’t understand why I’m doing this to her. And there’s nothing you can say to her to calm her down, she’s not going to hear it, just like I didn’t hear it. I couldn’t hear anything over the deafening pitch of Wanting My Mother.
So my mom and I have been exchanging phone calls every day this week to talk about Leta’s progress, and although it hurts her to think about what Leta’s going through, I can hear a sinister satisfaction in her voice, like NOW YOU KNOW HOW IT FEELS. And the only way I know how to deal with that tone is to take a few jabs back at her, and this morning as I was giving her the update I told her that because she had abandoned me so cruelly those many years ago, because she had so coldly left me crying at the school house door, I have been messed up ever since. It’s her fault that I vote Democrat.
“Right,” she said, an audible grumble stirring in her gut. “It’s my fault you are so f’ed up.”
I just want to make a permanent record of this, that today, June 7, 2007, the Avon World Sales Leader used a partial version of the f-word. And she is going to have to show this weblog entry to God on judgment day.