Thursday, August 21, 2014
Day 41 of 100 Days of Good Karma.
The kids and I went to Connor’s Kindergarten orientation. Parents crowded into the school’s gymnasium and sat in rows of metal folding chairs.
While I listened to instructions on dress codes, and what kind of snacks to bring, Hannah and Connor took turns playing with my phone or doodling in my notebook.
I tried not to touch anything or breathe too close to other people.
I also tried not to think about the inevitable day when one or the other child first comes down with a bug that I somehow have to a) nurse them through and b) not catch myself.
Crowded places make me nervous these days. My immune system is taking a serious hit from the chemotherapy and I can’t think of a germier place than an elementary school.
The presentation ended and the crowd filed out of the gymnasium towards their respective classrooms for more orientation instructions.
I herded the kids into the restroom, delaying the conversation I was about to have with Connor’s teacher for a few more minutes.
Connor was fascinated with the school. It is, after all, a place designed with little people in mind.
“Mommy, look!” Connor pointed to a set of water fountains built into the wall. “They’re little! And I can reach!”
I caught the eye of another parent, a pretty blonde woman, standing nearby. We both chuckled.
“I think they made it that way on purpose, buddy,” I said.
He wasn’t listening. He was too busy mooning over the little water fountains.
“Come on, Connor,” I said. “We get to go see your classroom now.”
“Yup. Let’s go.”
I don’t think his feet touched the floor the whole walk there.
When we got to the classroom Connor’s teacher was standing in the doorway greeting parents as they came in.
“Go ahead and find your seat,” she said, gesturing to the room.
Connor almost went nuclear when he found his name printed on a colorful name card taped to one of the desks.
“That’s my name! Mommy, this is my chair!”
“That’s awesome, buddy,” I said, catching the teacher’s attention. “I’ll be right back, okay? Stay here.”
Connor’s teacher and I stepped into the hallway. I very briefly explained about being diagnosed with breast cancer and told her I’d already contacted the school counselor explaining the situation.
She blinked in that involuntary ‘what the fuck do I say now’ way I’ve become all too familiar with.
I felt bad for dropping the big ‘C’ on her during orientation, but, really there’s never a good time to talk about cancer.
I’ve found brief is better, and she recovered quickly. She recommended a parent teacher conference with the school counselor in the near future and I agreed.
Back in the classroom, I took a seat next to Hannah and Connor in a chair three sizes too small for my adult butt. I listened to further explanation of the coming school year.
As I filled out forms (using my own pen — I couldn’t bring myself to touch the pens left out for public use), I mentally scratched another unpleasant task off my cancer related To Do list.
Oh, and I snuck side glances at Connor.
It keeps hitting me.
He isn’t a baby anymore.
He’s a kid now.
I’m not sure when that happened, but I swear it was overnight.
When first diagnosed, one of the monumental milestones I was terrified of missing was being able to walk Connor to his first day of school.
Today’s silver lining: Now that the day is just around the corner, I am so unbelievably grateful to be here to see it.
What’s your silver lining today? I love comments!