I took my son to his first day of “school” today. Actually, it was half of a half-day, more of a parent-teacher meet n’ greet and let-the-kids-touch-everything to get everyone familiar sort of deal. I didn’t feel worried at all about sending Aiven to school because he adapts well to new situations and I know he needs to spend time around other kids. Besides, my husband and I work from home and I fear our son is getting sick of us.
About a week ago, we started getting inundated with emails from his school: class schedules, after-school programs, PTO meetings, holiday calendars, orientations, donation requests… I’m surprised there wasn’t a parent-teacher conference in there. Or maybe there was. I just had to tune it all out to stay sane (also known as denial). People: the kid’s not even 2! Is this normal or overkill? I have no idea because I am new to this whole school thing.
The day finally arrived that we had to take Aiven to school and introduce him to his teachers (kippah: check; family photo: check; change of clothes: check). As we were walking in, we bumped into another mom who mentioned she had heard of me. I panicked. What? How? Am I that notorious? Actually, she had heard about me because I had missed a parent networking event. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off being one of my all-time favorite movies, I could just imagine them repeating my name over and over, drumming it into everyone’s heads that I was probably playing hookie. I wish she had heard about me in the sense of “Hey, this super cool mom just moved into town; let’s bake her a cake!”
But then it kind of went from meh to oy. The next mom I met heard my name and asked, “You are the blogger, right?” Just then, my naivete smacked me upside the head. Did I really believe I had even a sliver of anonymity left? What was I thinking? “They will know EVERYTHING about me!” I complained to my husband. “Will they judge me?” I whined. Duh, of course they will. Sigh. “I know nothing about them–I’m at a disadvantage,” I kvetched again. “Disadvantage for what exactly?” my husband pointed out.
(Have you noticed that my son’s first day at school became all about me? Maybe I should retake that narcissism test my husband gave me one day when he wasn’t getting his way.)
So why this reaction to being outed as a blogger? I think it’s because I have always felt like the odd one out. I have never been part of the popular crowd–quite the opposite. In high school my ostracism got to the point that my bullies formed a club, People Against Cara Y, to better orchestrate my utter humiliation. It was the first SuperPAC. So please forgive me if Aiven’s school brings up bad memories. Twenty years later and my insecurities rise to the surface like the scum of fresh made chicken soup: dirty and unwelcome. Thankfully, this insecure, self-conscious adult has learned a thing or two since high school about how to cope with anxiety: A good bottle of red.
I love writing. I am not good at censoring myself, and yet I am realizing that I may need to find a way or my son could pay the price. Lord knows I’ve already paid dearly myself. I can live with the consequences of being a blogger, but I don’t feel as comfortable subjecting my son to them. I really don’t want to piss off my fellow parents, Aiven’s teachers, or the school. Of course I want the other parents to like me, but more importantly, I want them to like my son, invite him over for play-dates, and buy him awesome birthday presents. I would be devastated if he were rejected or ostracized because of me. Have I already done him harm by sharing my stories? Will the other moms get to know me beyond my writing or is it too late to make my first impression? And how will I be able to keep to myself all the profound ups and downs of Aiven’s first year in school?