I left her crying, again, screaming in the arms of one of her teachers, having just pried her fingers from their encircled grip of my leg. "I love you. Goodbye." I didn't look back but I heard her, even after the other teacher gently closed the classroom door.
An open bag of Cheetos sat on the passenger seat, a remnant from last night's errand. The trip had been exciting for E, so unaccustomed is she to evening activities. Her day is much shorter, now. She ate Cheetos and alternated between being difficult about her unhappiness and manic about her temporary release from that evil place called kindergarten. It was a long twenty minutes last night in Target.
I drove to work, eating Cheetos, keeping my face too busy to cry. I had the out-of-body clarity to think that if I had a stomachache later, I'd be able to blame it on the disgusting breakfast and not on the soul-crumbling anxiety.
The lovely husband picked her up today, and reports say she skipped out of the building. Who knows how much of that was happiness and how much of that was relief and how much of that was release, but tonight the complaints shifted. Her milk tastes funny in the aluminum canteen. Her PE teacher made her remove her necklace; and what's my plan for keeping her feeling safe on PE days? Those two girls speak to each other in a common foreign language all day long and so she doesn't know how to become friends with them.
But also, for the first time: she and A. colored together, twice! She and R. built sandcastles in the sandbox and made a playdate to build more sandcastles tomorrow.
She fell asleep without crying.
But not before she promised me, again, that she will. absolutely. for. sure. cry tomorrow morning at drop-off.
I don't want to jinx anything, but it's maybe a little bit possibly possible that we're beginning to think about almost being a little bit okay.
What I do know for certain is this: I do not have the fortitude for that many more desperate tear-filled drop-offs.