“Gosh, I didn’t expect to cry,” a mom said, wiping her eyes as we walked out out of the school cafeteria after the kindergarten holiday show.
“Yeah, I know,” I mumbled, grateful it was dark so she couldn’t see my own dry ones. I actually had expected to tear up, had packed extra Kleenex, but it never happened.
Maybe because I was too apprehensive. Sophie looked worried, too, as she waited on the risers before the concert started. (Once it did start I couldn’t get close enough to get a good picture.) Maybe because the place was so freaking packed you couldn’t move, maybe because I was distracted by the endlessly fascinating task of watching the odd music teacher, or maybe because I feel like an interloper.
That’s it. Interloper. I got the usual phony hello from the principal as I ran Sophie into her classroom, then watched as another teacher had to nudge her (in a not very friendly fashion, I thought) toward her group, when she strayed — just enough that I was likely the only one to notice, but still.
I don’t mean to whine. Sophie rocked it. She mouthed along to the songs, sat up and down when she was supposed to, and didn’t sneeze (a big worry — she’s got a runny nose and I had visions of a “snot alert” from the stage.) Of course, for Sophie all rocking it really meant was that she didn’t bolt from the stage when she saw her family, looking for a hug. Luckily, Annabelle found a spot on the floor right in front of where Sophie was sitting, and (trained from her own kindergarten experience) did the hand movements for Sophie to copy.
But I just couldn’t get past the anxiety and the fluorescent lights and the Flip camera to get a good cry in, and I didn’t realize why til we were walking to the car, just after talking to the weepy mom.
Next year, Sophie might not be in school with that weepy mom’s little girl. She might not have the luxury Annabelle has — of hanging out in second grade with the BFFs she made in kindergarten. Sophie might be held back, or forced to go to another school (if the principal has her way) and flush! There goes the community we’ve been building for her. I’m hesitant to embrace it, for fear it’s an illusion, just as my mom (understandably) worries that Sophie’s not really making any friends.
That so much of this is for show.
Is this kindergarten experience for show, just something to make me feel good? I have evidence to the contrary, I do. I know it. Sophie’s where she should be.
For the moment….