White Coat Underground

I’m not OK with this

This morning I woke up early, showered, and dressed. Then my wife and I woke up our daughter, who seeing it was dark did protest loudly. But we got her out of bed, and a few minutes later she was her usual happy loquacious self at the breakfast table.

We got her dressed in a navy dress with white polka dots and black patent leather shoes, straightened her hair, took some pictures, and got in the car. We parked about a half a block from the school and put her back pack on her. She wanted me to carry it because it was so heavy (sic). Then she wanted “uppy”—also a non-starter. A diminutive safety officer in an orange belt directed us to the Kindergarten rooms. We found a coat hook with her name, and a place at a table, also with her name (although not with the nickname she’s used to).

She was not too pleased. She was looking around at the other children and parents, and wanted to climb into my arms and go home and cuddle—and I wanted the very same thing. I’m not OK with this.

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She’s my little baby. She’s the one who crawls into my lap in the morning, pushing the paper out of the way so she can pretend to by a kitty cat, mewling and purring and demanding cuddles. She’s the one whom I take for bike rides and then collapse onto the couch with afterward while she begs for another ride and I beg her to let me nap. She’s not a big girl who goes to school by herself, eight hours a day, five days a week, to be bored, excited, scared, amused, comforted, and intrigued. I’m the center of her life, not some goddamned brick building with a bunch of strangers in it.

I’m not OK with this. Not one bit.

Comments

  1. #1 Cuttlefish
    September 10, 2009

    Dude, I have been there, it feels like just two days ago. First day of Kindergarten, and Daddy was the one in tears. Of course, one day ago, I was dropping her off at College. And yes, tears again.

    Enjoy every moment–even the ones that suck.

  2. #2 Bob O'H
    September 10, 2009

    You’ll get used to it, eventually. And she’ll be able to educate you about important stuff you should know.

  3. #3 Mandrake
    September 10, 2009

    Wow. This brings a lump into my throat. My daughters went to daycare. The first day I dropped off my oldest one, I had to get out of there quickly before anyone saw my tears. I cried in the car on the way to work.

    It definitely got easier for the second and third. First day of kindergarten didn’t seem so bad, either. But I’m expecting to be a mess when the oldest, now in seventh grade, goes to college. It makes me sad thinking about it.

    Your daughter’s life will continue to expand, but you’ll always be the center of it.

  4. #4 joemac53
    September 10, 2009

    Wait until you drop your last one off at college. I don’t like the empty nest one bit. It’s only been two weeks, but it isn’t getting any easier. When the older ones flew the coop, there was still one left at home.

    I am happy to report that the older ones live in the town they grew up in, and own their own (teenie) houses. I can be a pesky dad at their places. (need anything painted?)

  5. #5 Anon
    September 10, 2009
  6. #6 Ranson
    September 10, 2009

    It gets easier, I’m told. The boy is adapting better to his second year so far than he did the first. The girl has yet to reach real school, and that’ll be the test for me.

  7. #7 garth
    September 10, 2009

    oh my. i have gotten that same feeling dropping my daughter off at…day care, preschool, kindergarten, grammy’s house, friend’s house, beach, mall, elementary school, jr. high, and now high school. it never stops.

  8. #8 Strider
    September 10, 2009

    This big ol’ Kentuckian he-man’s gonna start cryin’ if’n you don’t shut yer word hole!

  9. #9 MikeB
    September 10, 2009

    My daughter has just started her second year at school, and loves it. Its hard the first time, but they are ready for it, and after six weeks of having to entertain her and her younger brother throughout the whole day – so am I!

  10. #10 george.w
    September 10, 2009

    I feel you there, man. It doesn’t get easier, sorry. Mine are all moved away and I can’t stop worrying about them.

  11. #11 D. C. Sessions
    September 10, 2009

    Enjoy every moment–even the ones that suck.

    Wiser advice never given.

    $DAUGHTER just took her MA and wrote her comps — now she’s ABD. And still my baby girl — I have that on excellent authority.

    Time to play “The Circle Game” again, Doctor.

  12. #12 big softie
    September 10, 2009

    You made my eyes tear up, Pal. They’ll always be our little girls, no matter how old we (and they) get.

  13. #13 24fps
    September 10, 2009

    I cried when both my wild girls went to kindergarten. At first I thought I would be used to it after the first one went, but no, the second one was just as hard. But even my 12 year old still needs to cuddle now and then, even if she doesn’t fit in my lap anymore, and her dad and I are still very much needed, even if she is more independent than ever. I don’t see my 8 yr old being much different, although she will argue with me when I tell her she’s my baby girl no matter how big she gets.

    I miss them at the end of every summer when I send them back to school. I don’t even want to think about how nuts I’ll be when they go to university….

  14. #14 D. C. Sessions
    September 10, 2009

    But even my 12 year old still needs to cuddle now and then, even if she doesn’t fit in my lap anymore

    Excellent!

    Rest easy — kids only “outgrow” the important things if they think they have to. My 24yo still likes to cuddle. Come to think of it, so do her older brothers.

  15. #15 Isis the Scientist
    September 10, 2009

    The Isis family sends their love to PalKid. They just keep getting bigger, don’t they?

  16. #16 John S. Wilkins
    September 10, 2009

    Boy are you in for a shock in eight or so years…

    Been there. The Daughter rings me nowadays from time to time.

  17. #17 Donna B.
    September 10, 2009

    My youngest, now 28, will still plop down in my lap on occasion for a cuddle. And there are few things that make me feel more comforted than a hug from my Dad. Yep, I’m still his little girl.

  18. #18 titmouse
    September 10, 2009

    Earlier this summer a mama duck lost all her ducklings but one. Then mama took off leaving her lonely teenage daughter to cope. She’d swim around the area near our little dock. We bonded –how could we not? Such a cute little gal.

    Know what’s worse than kindergarten? Duck hunting season. Started yesterday.

  19. #19 DLC
    September 11, 2009

    Unfortunately, one’s children cannot remain in that stage.

  20. #20 DLC
    September 11, 2009

    PS: but then, in the fullness of time, you’ll have grandchildren to spoil. And you will spoil them. And young Ms PalKid will say “Dad! stop spoiling them! ”
    And when she says it’s time to go home and leave Granpa Pal’s house, they’ll whine. And you’ll remember that first day of school, and maybe whine a bit yourself. Life’s like that.
    Make the best of it while you have it!

  21. #21 lorib
    September 11, 2009

    kindergarten is a big milestone. but seriously…i had to totally laugh at the parents who cried when dropping off their kids at preschool. i mean….it was 2 hours. time to get a coffee and then come back to pick them up. perspective. and look how cute she is all wrapped up in a bundle!!!!

  22. #22 BB
    September 11, 2009

    Just wait ’til the teen years hit.

  23. #23 Dianne
    September 11, 2009

    Try to remember that this is success. She’s going out in the world, learning to interact with others and be independent, among other cool things. But she’ll still play kitten and want bike rides for quite a long time.

  24. #24 24fps
    September 11, 2009

    The bike rides morph into other things, too – they’re not necessarily lost. I don’t tow the wild girls as I used to, but we still bike – and we can go further and faster. My daughters got me into martial arts, too, and now we do martial arts training together. My big girl just volunteered to be my running partner – she wants to learn to run cross-country and I want to get back into it.

    If you evolve with them, you find that there is the space to continue to have that kind of time together.

  25. #25 Josh
    September 11, 2009

    May I suggest homeschooling, for both your sakes. If you haven’t read any John Holt (How Children Learn, How Children Fail), do. Teenage Liberation Handbook is also good.

  26. #26 military wife
    September 12, 2009

    joemac53 | September 10, 2009 2:17 PM

    Will you adopt me? I’m 40 and all, but I do need a painter :-).

  27. #27 Joanna Holland
    September 13, 2009

    Awww, this made me tear up. My baby girl started Grade One this week (or First Grade as You Americans call it) and my baby boy will be three next week. It’s these kind of days that make me think about having a third.

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