Saturday, September 09, 2006

Oprah, Bon Bons, and the Pool Man

It seems that much has been written about the children going back to school, so I thought I too, should jump on the bandwagon.

From the time my children were in pre-school, everytime they'd start a new school, (elementary, middle, and high school) I would cry like a little baby.

I wonder why my oldest wouldn't let me take him to his first day of college?

My kids would look at me like I just lost my mind...and in the midst of my sobbing I would explain ..."one day when you become a mom, you'll understand"...

(For some reason, my two boys never really appreciated that statement).

But for a mom (since I'm a mom, I can't speak for dads), the ritual of sending your baby out into the world is heartwrenching.

At least in pre-school, I knew they would still be nurtured for the couple of hours they were there...learning songs, reading books, and fingerpainting. So I suppose that sending them to kindergarten was the hardest. No longer would they be so coddled and cuddled.

What if my baby needs a hug? What if he has to go to the bathroom? What if falls and splits his head open?

With each passing year, this task of dropping them off to the "wolves" became a little easier. In elementary school, I became involved in PTA and volunteered in the classroom, so I would see what both the teachers and my kids were up to.

You can imagine how much my children loved having me around (stifling their independence and freedom to cause havoc and mayhem).

But I was a stay-a-home mom and therefore my duties were to make sure I sufficiently embarrassed my children all through their growing up years.

Now, what most women won't tell you, is that they're secretly thrilled when the children go off to school...THAT'S heard me!

And why, you ask? Well, duh, why do you think?

That's when we get right down to the business of crackin' open the champagne, eating bon-bons, "engaging" with the pool man, taking bubble baths, watching Oprah and Dr. Phil, and let's not forget, All My Children.

Without Oprah, afterall, how would I know which books to read, or makeup to wear, or how to make my man... you know..."satisfied".

When my youngest entered high school, I knew that my school volunteering days were coming to an end.

Because, here's the deal folks...and listen carefully...

No matter how cool you think you are?


This seems to be a tough one for us baby boomers to swallow. Afterall, we were the generation who invented cool.

We had Dylan, the Beatles, and Springsteen. We knew how to dress and keep our bodies looking young. I made sure I watched MTV, knew the latest bands, and all about pop culture.

But, to no avail. Because every generation, just like the one before, must be different from their parents.

They must work their way toward independence and self-actualization.

They must not conform to the ways of the adults around them (although they all conform to eachother...ever notice that every generation of teenagers all look alike?).

So, what's a volunteering mom to do when those days are over? Well, I can only speak for myself, of course.

I wave goodbye to my children as they drive off to school. I lay around in p.j.'s, watching Rosie on the View...waiting for the pool man to arrive.

Okay, not really, but it sure makes for a better story than the real one.

I still get a little pang when my kid's drive off. But now I drive off too. I've gone back to work in a field I'm passionate about.

And, although I don't eat bon bons, I do admit to eating icecream every night. I've figured out what make-up to wear, and even how to satisfy my man without watching Oprah.

Life meanders and changes, slowly and quickly, all at the same time.

Sometimes, I long for the days of holding my children's hands as I gently passed them over to big world.

But the day comes when you must let go.

And there's nothing Oprah, or even the pool man can do,

to mend the little hole in your heart that's created

when that time arrives.


Regina Clare Jane said...

It's so funny how you posted about this today, c-m, and I just posted on my blog about letting my husband go off to Hong Kong by himself has been such a challenge for me, exactly like letting your child go to school for the first time! Since I never had children, my husband is the only one that qualifies as a child for me and I have a tendency to over-do the mothering thing- after all, he is only 48!
OK- enough about me! That was a great post as usual, c-m!

Mia said...

Great post! I never looked at this way, always being the child and so far never the parent :D.

cheated are the clouds said...

Cruisin you really crack me up with your insight and humour, Us guys said we could not wait for the kids to go to school, but in reality we were sad to see them start to grow up and become independant, it's just a guy thing to look releived they are leaving for school, it is only a cover up

Wishing I was a said...

Cheers to the tears, AND the ice cream!

Baleboosteh said...

Great post as usual CM!

I have another off to school next year....wooo hooo!! 2 down, one to go.

I am actually looking forward to the 3 of them going to school in a way, I can then get a job, but, on the other hand, they are only little for a short time...I would hate to wish that away.

Wendy said...

When I realized I was no longer "with it" I admit it was crushing. But you're right, as usual. Great post.

kasamba said...

Oh, I so know what you mean!
My son went off to Yeshiva and although Mr Kasamba and I made a big show of fighting over his room (he wanted a gym- I wanted a sewing room) to show our son how much we're going to miss him- I fell to pieces when he actually left.
But I can't say I don't enjoy that the house is really quiet now!

torontopearl said...

...and if you have no pool, and thus no pool man, what's left? The gardener?

I've heard myself yell at my kids "Oh, grow up already!" and then I think, "What the hell did I just say?"

As it is, all our children grow up so quickly; sometimes the parents take a bit longer to do so. ;)

Chana said...

dang, woman!

you know every one of my weak spots!!

(btw there was an article in our paper today... about visiting childhood homes! I thought of you, of course!!)

Robbie said...

But, you know you've done a good job when the kids get the same pangs when they say goodbye...

cruisin-mom said...

RCJ: It's hard to "let go" of anyone we love.

Mia: yep, perspective changes when you become the parent.

Cheated: I kinda figured it was a cover up :)

Wishing: Thanks!

Balaboosteh: it does go by fast...we want them to grow up, and then wish they were little again.

Wendy: tell me about is crushing.

kasamba: yes, the quiet must be nice (and deafening)

T.P.: Yeah, i've found myself yelling the same thing...trouble is? they listened.

Chana: sorry, I keep hitting your weak spots! Funny about the article!

Robbie: Okay, wiping the tears away...I hope that's true someday.

Stacey said...

I had a horrible time dropping my oldest (who's now almost 5) off to her first day of preschool and watching her in my rear-view mirror as I pulled away. My heart was ripped from my chest. I cried so hard.

I dread the day my youngest goes to preschool. That day is coming quick (in Jan). Truly, they grow up toooo fast. :(

Congrats on going back to work! We need to celebrate -- with a box of bon-bons!

Claire said...

What a lovely post! You always have such interesting things to say!


Ralphie said...

Good stuff, CM. Although I am big fat crybaby, I am reserving my tears for when my girls go off to college. Or out on their first dates. Whichever comes first.

cruisin-mom said...

Stacey: I can imagine how hard you cried...I remember that day very well.
Forget the bon bons...I want that chocolate cake!

Claire: thank you...that makes me feel good.

Ralphie: They can't date til they're 30, right?

Jack's Shack said...

Stacey: I can imagine how hard you cried

And then her tears burst into flames. Oops, that was the river.

cruisin-mom said...

Jack: bad jack, bad

Head over heel said...

Beautifully written. Even though I am only in the stage of dropping my little one off at day care - I can totally agree with you. It broke my heart when he started to cry when I dropped him off. By now it eased down to a pull in the heart when he sometimes starts to cry again.

Stacey said...

Oh, whatever! (Jack is such a dweeb)!

cruisin-mom said...

HOH: sometimes they know just how to tug at our heart strings, don't they?

Stacey: you said it, not I!!!

Jack's Shack said...

The truth hurts, doesn't it.

Sweettooth120 said...

AW! Great Post. Dropping both kids off at school wasn't as sad or difficult as I thought it would be for the kids (mommy was shouting hooray.) My son gave me a kiss goodbye and ran to join his friends. My daughter gave her teacher a big hug and ran to join her friends (yep, she forgot to kiss me goodbye.)

cruisin-mom said...

S.T.: I'm glad it went easy for's always better when the kids run off happily.