Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Deep Blue Funk - Not Adoption Related

I’ve been feeling really, really sad the last few days, and I haven’t been able to put my finger on exactly why. It’s a pervasive sadness that has pretty much clouded the last few days.

Last night, after work, Husband and I were floating in the pool. (I was just floating, Husband was recovering from 100 laps he had swum before I got home from work.) (Husband has an exercise addiction, have I mentioned this before?)

Anyway, I was floating in the pool, an activity that normally makes me serene/calm/blissful. (Despite my utter gracelessness in all other physical pursuits (for example, I believe I am the only girl in the history of my highschool to ever have been cut from the junior varsity tennis team), I have a bizarre buoyancy that allows me to float effortlessly. Once, when I was on a scuba diving resort course in St. Lucia, and the dive master had to strap an extra 10, and then 15 pounds of weight to my weight belt in order to keep me from floating to the surface, he said, “my lady, my float-y lady, you will nevah evah drown.”)

But, last night I was floating in the pool and instead of feeling blissful, I felt like bursting into tears. I wondered what was wrong with me. When I got out of the pool I felt completely exhausted and I just wanted to fall asleep – it was 7:45 PM…

But, this morning, I put my finger on what has me in the deep blue funk:

Gabriel is “graduating” from his private kindergarten tomorrow night. Gabe has been at this care center since he was 10 weeks old. Almost all of his teachers from each stage of his life are still at the center. These women have cared for my son during the day with amazing love and affection. They have helped us to raise our son and form him, from the drooling 10 week old baby I brought them in May of 2000, to the smart, funny, inquisitive little person that he is today.

Gabe’s first word was “mama” – and his second word was “dada” – but, his third word was “mimi” – his name for his favorite caregiver as an infant. He has long since learned to pronounce “Jami” correctly, and I cannot remember the last time he called her “mimi” – but, she has remained close to him, and Dave and I have become close to her and her husband, and part of me now worries that, without the daily connectivity of the center, we will lose track of these people who have been so important in my son’s life – in my life – honestly, without these women, I would not have been able to finish law school. They gave me support and reassurance and encouragement to keep going. I was secure in knowing that Gabe was on campus with me, and safe with people who cared for him. I feel a debt of gratitude to these women that I cannot entirely express.

On the day that Gabriel moved from the “toddler” area of the center to the “pre-school” area of the school, I physically had to pick him up and take him to the new room, because he had run out of the new pre-school room, straight for his toddler room. As I held him and walked him back to the pre-school room, his arms stretched out and he screamed, hysterically, SIPRA! SIPRA! SIPRA! (This was his toddler caregiver.) Sipra stood in the hallway and cried. I cried, Gabe cried. THAT was just my reaction for Gabe “moving” up from one wing of the center to another. I can’t imagine what tomorrow will be like (for me. I’m sure Gabe will be just fine).

On the morning of September 11, I was sitting in a class on Trusts and Estates that began at 8:00AM. At 9:00 AM the professor needed a cigarette break, and it was at that point we came to know what had happened a few minutes earlier, and we were all watching NBC’s Today Show as the second plane hit the twin towers. Later, while we were still glued to the TV, I don’t know what time, but, after the plane had hit the pentagon, the Dean of Students came to look for me, and another student, K~, whose daughter was also at the campus center. “They are going to close campus, and the center just called looking for you, “ the dean said. “Go get your babies before they make the announcement, so you don’t get caught up in the rush to get off campus.” (I have never understood the University’s reasons for closing down campus – to this day I think someone made a threat that has not been disclosed.)

I ran across campus to get my son. He was the last child in the room, and Sipra was holding him on her lap, rocking him, singing to him. I looked at her. She looked at me. We both looked at Gabe who had dumped red juice all over his white crawler. We hugged my son between us and we cried. We shared our grief and our mutual love for a little boy in dirty clothes…

I think what I am most afraid of is what public school might do to my child. He is smart and funny, and I don’t know what to attribute these characteristics to – a happy serendipity of genetics and environment? But, above all, my son is kind-hearted, and I think the women at the center are as responsible for that as Husband and I are. I worry that public school will grind down the gentle nature of Gabriel’s soul. And this terrifies me.

And that is, ultimately, this is why I am sad right now. I am scared that I am taking my son from the care of loving lambs and handing him into the care of tigers…I can assure you I will be a complete mess come next September, when I have to put him on a school bus for the first time… :-(

LM

7 Comments:

Blogger Space Mom said...

Sending soime hugs. We moved the girls from one daycare to another and I felt ill at the time, but they are happy in their new place. In 2007, S goes to kindergarten, and we will see what life is like!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006 12:07:00 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

What a blessing you've had in his daycare all these years. Just want to reassure you, my kids have always had kind and loving teachers in public school. But it definitely helps if you can get in the classroom a little every week so you can see for yourself what the teacher/kids are like.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006 1:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Patricia said...

I think it is hard for everyone when their child moves on, because it always means they will be exposed to a bigger, scarier environment, and that their innocence and sweetness may start to erode. Which, undoubtedly, has to happen at some time.

My son is a year older, so he began kindergarten this year. Fortunately, he is still a kind good-hearted boy. They can handle more than we realize.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006 2:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Patricia said...

I think it is hard for everyone when their child moves on, because it always means they will be exposed to a bigger, scarier environment, and that their innocence and sweetness may start to erode. Which, undoubtedly, has to happen at some time.

My son is a year older, so he began kindergarten this year. Fortunately, he is still a kind good-hearted boy. They can handle more than we realize.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006 2:24:00 PM  
Blogger Danielle said...

I am feeling your pain. But know that we have started our children out in a loving home and they will continue to know that it is safe with us. They will rely on us. And honestly, you can't be with our kids and not want to love them. It's those damn little twerps that scare the S+++ out of me. Little kids are cruel. But we have huge arms that can hug our kids and wipe their tears to make it better. Every one needs to learn how crappy people can be. I miss you and love you. Long over due for a visit. D

Tuesday, June 06, 2006 6:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Duchess said...

I have no experience with this at all...just here and sending love...wish I could float in the pool with you and have a margarita.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006 7:26:00 PM  
Anonymous anya said...

Thing is, you are losing that community/those women too. So its a triple issue: your baby boy is growing up, you are both leaving the warm embrace of what you already know and love, and he is going into the unknown. Don't be so sure that you are going toward tigers though - I went to public school and some of the most caring adults in my life (other than may parents) were there...in fact I have remained in contact with some of them.

Thursday, June 08, 2006 8:18:00 AM  

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