We headed out right on time and were thwarted by the traffic even before we made it to the highway. As we inched our way north C’s anxiety became palpable. I’m not sure she could tell we were going to be late, but she could definitely feel my own stress level rise. I kept flashing back to the countless times I’d walked into the classroom late as a child. The eyes watching you make your way to your seat, the feeling that you had to catch up before the day had even started.
Obviously the repercussions for being late to preschool are not quite the same as being late to High School science, but the longer it took us to finally get there the later I was going to be getting to work, and the less time I’d be able to take to get C settled in her new classroom.
Once we passed the charred remains of the burning car that had been holding up traffic we made good time, but not good enough to allow us to arrive before the start. I screeched into the parking lot at daycare, handed Little L to the caregiver, calling instructions over my shoulder, and pealed out of there again.
In the end we were only 15 minutes late, and I accompanied C into the colorful classroom. She stayed glued to my side as we put her things in the cubby and explored the toys. Finally I exchanged my hand for some baby dolls, gave her a last kiss, and left my baby. For the first time since we brought Little L home C didn’t look all that big and grown up and it took a lot of effort to keep myself from running back in to scoop her up screaming that she was way too little to go to school.