Thursday, December 21, 2006


The class Christmas party

Sometimes, I worry about silly things for no reason. I can work myself into a pretty good lather over them, too. (Stunning revelation, no?)

For the better part of a week, I've been angsting over Tristan's class Christmas party. The angst reached a fever pitch last night, with me near tears in the dollar store. I was having a massive inadequacy attack, worried that all the other mothers would be sending Martha-esque frosted snowman cupcakes and stained glass candycane cookies, while my best effort was some popcorn and pretzels in a holiday-themed tin.

My anxiety was ratcheted even further into the stratosphere by the fact that I had volunteered and been accepted to be one of the special mom helpers for the day. Not only would I be sending a treat unworthy of the other class mothers, but I'd get to see it all live and in-person.

(The volunteer thing itself has layers upon layers of misery and guilt woven into it. I continue to feel disconnected from Tristan's school because I neither drop him off - Beloved does that - nor pick him up. The guilt, oh the guilt, of being a working mother. I ply Beloved with questions to gauge Tristan's interactions with the other kids, his opinions of the other parents, his thoughts on the teachers, and he generally shrugs nonchalantly and says "I dunno, fine I guess," to every question I ask. Further, a not-insubstantial part of my joy at being pregnant was the whole year of maternity leave, where I envisioned myself able to drop off Tristan regularly, and even volunteer occasionally in his classroom. It was one of the most painful ideas to let go of after the miscarriage. Layers upon layers of misery, I tell you!)

So, ask me how it was... (pause)

WONDERFUL! Oh, what a great morning it was.

I got there early. I either missed or didn't get the notice that said to be there for ten, but the teacher welcomed me to stay for the whole morning. I was a part of circle time, got a preview of their Christmas songs during the last rehearsal, and helped with their printing books. When the other mommies arrived, we helped hand out treats and clean up afterward.

It was great to have insight into Tristan's day and his interactions with the teacher and the other students. I was more worried about his socialization this year than his learning, but I can see he's doing just fine at both. He is neither the quickest nor the slowest, the most obediant nor the least. He does seem a little bit bored, but he was obviously so proud to have me in the class for the day.

I now have a much greater understanding and respect for his relationship with John, the child who has become his best friend. John's parents were sending some mixed signals earlier this year when they complained about an incident with Tristan, which I thought at the time was a ridiculously overprotective reaction on their part.

However, it appears John might have some sort of developmental delay, just a minor one but one that is fairly obvious after just a few minutes of watching him. I find it sweet that Tristan has singled this boy out of all the others to be his friend, but even moreso, I was touched when John was crying and upset and the teacher asked him if having Tristan come and sit by him would be a comfort. John said yes, and immediately settled down once Tristan was there. Tristan spoke to Johnny in a soft and kind voice, reassuring him that he would have a wonderful time once the party started.

I left feeling wonderful about Tristan, about his teacher, and about myself. It was one of those rare touchstone moments, when you get concrete validation that you must be doing something right.

Oh, and the angst about the treats to share? Yes, there was one tray of lovely frosted cookies, and a few goodie bags stuffed by overachieving parents. But I had to laugh as one little girl pulled an unopened bag of potato chips out of her backpack to share, and another a bag of leftover halloween treats. Looks like I'm in good company in the lazy mothering club!