Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Too gone for too long

So where was I? Oh, yes—the first week of preschool. It went okay, actually, except that apparently, naps do not hold the mystical sway at school that they hold for the Matic family at home, where they are coddled and catered to like the sanity-saving idols they, in fact, are. So Tuesday (his first day) was pretty good. Wednesday was harder, but on Thursday afternoon, D decided Dada was chopped liver, and he’d rather stay and flirt with Miss Lacey, thanks. Daddymatic said the look he got was along the lines of, “Listen, pal, I’ve been trying to get this yummy dish alone since nine this morning, so run along, won’t you?”

D doesn’t go to preschools on Fridays (yet), so he went to school with Daddymatic and took a nap in his office for almost 2 hours. The guys met me for the end of my company’s picnic at Thanksgiving Point where we rocked out at the “farm” exhibit with the goats, cows and chickens. He didn’t seem to be feeling well, but we were sure he’d be back in the swing by Monday.

Uh, no. Instead we got to stay home all week long with an extremely unhappy toddler. Out-freaking-standing. I actually had chafe marks from where he clung to my side like an oversized howling lemur for nearly all of his waking hours. Which, naturally, occurred some nights at regular 45-minute intervals.

The worst part about it is that as time wore on, I felt like I was going a little crazy. I felt less and less sorry for him and more and more general annoyance—not at him, of course, but at the whole situation. Nothing quite makes you feel like mother of the year like snapping at your toddler because he’s whining over feeling lousy and you, selfish jerk that you are, just. can’t. handle. any. more. whining. And then fighting with your spouse about, well, you know, everything. And worrying about your job, which is entering its second week but which may no longer be there if you don’t show up for it soon. Good times, people.

So needless to say, when my sweet little boy reappeared on Sunday afternoon, I felt reborn. Every smile he offered, every bite of food he ate, every step he took in pursuit of something fun, every word he spoke felt like a huge victory over the depression and anxiety of the previous week. It was like getting a wonderful present you did absolutely nothing to earn, and I have been trying to remember to be grateful for it.

I did remember to be grateful for this gift yesterday when Daddymatic was late coming to meet us at the preschool (like Miles’s parents, we are also a two-car but one-car-seat family right now). We were waiting almost a half hour out in the parking lot because they were trying to clean up the preschool, but I tried to shelve my annoyance and enjoy this amazing, wonderful kid, this kid who was so happy just exploring the inside of the car, playing peekaboo, and endlessly locking and unlocking the doors. I was so grateful for his health, certainly, but more so for his joy—and for my own joy which he so effortlessly resurrected.