I just got the shaft. Ripped off, cheated like I cannot recall having been shafted in the past.
Last night I carefully selected my "business casual" outfit as the invitation required. I took out Addie's fanciest dress and rubbed at the little ice cream marks she acquired at her cousin's first communion celebration last weekend. Today we intended to look a lovely as possible.
After Addie and I were all polished up this morning and I dropped the girls off at school, I had an hour to kill before arriving at the junior kindergarten Mother's Day Tea at Addie's school. I reminisced about the first and only other such event I attended 5 years ago when Cate and her class hosted. I remember nearly every minute of it - the kids riled up to have their mothers at school, yet trying their best to keep with the prim and reserved theme of the celebration. I remember the songs they sang at choppy speeds and varied volumes and I remember the first time I was presented with the shrinky dink pin she made that I still wear on my purple trench coat. I remember chatting with the mothers beforehand as we awaited our escorts and getting to know them better as our tea and muffins were served, laughing and marveling at all the things that make us one as mothers.
Today's event with Addie was front loaded with that memory, with the fact that it would be my last opportunity for tea at school as she is my youngest. She did so spectacular at the winter concert, that I dared to form a few expectations this time. There were things programmed into her device that I was to resist peeking at. I expected to cry, to be torn between taking photos and just soaking it in without electronics between me and my amazing girl. I looked forward to chatting with some moms I haven't had much chance to get to know this year.
When we arrived, Addie came to get me in the hall, as the other kids got their mothers. But Addie headed for the door instead of back to her classroom. She thought it was time to go. Finally, I coaxed her back to the room.
We were to sit at the little tables the kids sit at and put on our paper MOM crowns that they worked on for us (the symmetry and organization of jewels on mine made it clear that Addie had little to do with making it). When I found our spot, I saw Addie's special ed teacher and her speech therapist talking and adjusting her communication device. I thought - wow, this is going to be some shindig, if she has not one, but 2 assistants for this.
Our table was right next to the buffet of muffins and cookies. Very difficult for Addie to resist. She flirted with taking one and raced around the room a bit as the other mother/kindergartner pairs found their spots. I managed to get her settled in on my lap, but could tell by her fidgeting, that this would be a short-lived position. When she wrestled away, things were beginning. I stayed in my seat.
Addie left the room. The special ed teacher and the SLP were gone. It was then that I realized with a start that I was on duty. I jumped up and left the room to go find Addie in the hall, missing the welcome the classroom teacher was giving at that moment.
The kids were then lined up to sing their songs. Addie was the leader - she was to hit the button with the recorded song on her device to cue the other kids to begin. But no one had turned the volume up, so the kids did not hear it. The teacher had to start them off. So while Addie still hit the button, it had no purpose, it did not start the singing off. It became just a gesture.
After the songs there was a short slide show, which I missed most of as I tried to distract Addie to stay and watch, to keep the humming and growling she does a bit quieter so the other moms could work up the tears of sentiment that I had planned on shedding.
During the rest of it, I chased Addie, took things out of her hands, tried to engage her in something that would not have her getting in the way of others posing for photos, that would not have her leaving the room, that would be safe for her.
She may have practiced the songs with the class and teachers, but no one practiced with her what she should do when all routine is routed out of the morning and replaced with what seems like a party, but a party with a lot of rules that weren't adapted for her understanding. She did not have a clue what to do. And though Addie has an aide with her at all times at school, this hour was deemed aide free as I discovered on my own. I guess because I was going to be there.
So I didn't cry any tears of pride or love or general gush. I didn't get to know other mothers, I didn't etch another sweet memory to line up next to the first one.
I sweated, I chased, I hushed, I clenched my jaw...all in front of the other mothers. Where I expected to chat about things we have in common, instead I demonstrated all that's different for us to the lot of them at once.
In short, it sucked. For both Addie and I.
I trust I will find healthy perspective of this eventually, but I'm not even going to try looking for it for a few hours.