The subject line: "Parent's Day at the JCC!" How lovely I think, opening up the email. It's on a Monday. No problem, I remind myself, that is one of the reasons why my new job works so well for us, it is flexible, I can just switch my schedule around. "We will be roasting marshmallows" the email went on. Interesting choice. I pictured myself with Zachary in my lap sharing a snuggle and a gooey treat. A scrapbook worthy moment.
The day arrives. We walk into Zack's classroom, my expectations for a mommy & me day high. Here I am son, you may now demonstrate your affection and excitement to have mama in class with you....
Hey kiddo, where are you going? You hang out with Tony everyday. This is my time. Buddy... come on over here, we can do play dough together....buddy?
I am left clutching a paper cup of really bad coffee. I stand there looking on as other children seem thrilled to have mommy or daddy at school with them. They sit on their parent's lap and read a book, or present them with a handmade card created for the occasion. There was no card for me. Zachary ignores me. This is what I switched my schedule around for? The marshmallow "roasting" (really marshmallows over a fake fire, what did I expect?) was a bust too. I sat behind my son who huddled next to the cellophane flames, his back to me. Boo.
I reminded myself that this is not a personal slight. I should be happy that Zachary has friends and that he has found his independence. Right? Right?
Except I have this memory, this vivid memory of a toddler clamoring with joy when I arrived through the doors of the daycare center to pick him up at the end of the day. This toddler would drop whatever he was doing, and run to me, arms outstretched "mommy! mommy! mommy!" he would holler until I clasped him in a hug. There was no better feeling in the world. I knew that my superstar status would not last forever, and that Zack would grow up, forming friendships that would trump me from time to time, I just didn't expect to happen this soon. He isn't even five yet. I can only imagine what life is going to be like when he reaches his teen years, will I be totally invisible?
Ahh well, I think, shaking off the disappointment as I leave Zachary to enjoy the rest of his morning in peace, at least I came, at least I was there, even if he didn't act like he wanted me to be. He would have noticed if I hadn't showed up.
So I'll keep showing up.