I picked up my children from school today.
It might sound weird but this is a HUGE deal because it happens once in a blue moon. I work approximately 30 km from home, I live in the east, work in the south-east Trinidad and I need to get to work at 8:15 en punto. (“Late minutes” are a big deal for teachers). So today I left work on bank time, decided to give grandma a rest and picked up my children unknowing to them.
Needless to say they were shocked but oh gosh is the reaction that warmed my heart…Mam’zelle squealed Mummyyyy!!! and ran to me with a big hug then ran back to tell her friends that I was her mummy, telling these poor girl children my WHOLE name by title oui, like I was a stranger! She was so proud, it was as though she got a new toy that came out first on the market, yelling Bye Miss! and grabbing my hand like I was on parade. Now granted if I were to pick her up every day, this probably wouldn’t be the usual reception but still…I was nearly moved to tears!….so she got a sno-cone for her efforts…:D.
Because of birthday parties I know my son’s friends more and when they see my hair they know I’m his mother (he told me they recognise me by my hair, I dunno why! Dreadlocks so popular now! These boys so strange…) Anyway, so they ran and told him I came because allyuh hear nah…looking for a bald head lil boy in a courtyard of bald head lil boys running amok each wearing the same thing is to strain yuh eye….doh even bother. His reaction wasn’t much of a shock but his eyes opened wide because he simply wanted to know where his sno-cone was. I still got my hug in front de pardners and I felt like a bite-up shilling so he got a sno-cone reward as well. 😉
I felt so strange walking around with them in the grocery afterward, hearing their chatter, seeing them TOGETHER in their uniforms because it’s not something that happens every day. By the time I get to grandma’s they are usually dressed, fed and waiting so I felt a pang of guilt like wow, I’m missing out on this. As simple as it might seem, my children in their uniforms, fresh out their classrooms, interacting with their friends, talking about their day is a big deal because it’s a large part of their daily lives. They usually give me the run-down in the car on the way home but it’s not “in the moment” you know?
I began the justification to remind myself of the reason why this cannot happen every day: well birds gotta fly, fish gotta swim, kids gotta eat and being in the middle, both mummy and daddy have to work. So this element of time is a definite sacrifice. Clearly I cannot drop my children to school six o clock in the morning and then pick them up at five in the evening, but I have seen it happen as I pass various primary schools on my way to work. I’m certain my guilt cannot compare to single parents in particular, who have their kids in school in the east but have to reach Port-of-Spain for eight am and must reach back to the school before the “afternoon curfew”. I am also definitely fortunate and thankful for the help of grandmas from since my gremlinz were born and I had to head out to work soon thereafter. However the guilt still persists somewhere in the back of my mind. I wonder if they see other mummies and wonder why I can’t pick them up too or when they have these half day events in school they wonder why I can’t attend. After a long day of teaching, scolding, listening to and dealing with other people’s children and their issues/challenges and then hopping into my car to zombify myself on the nation’s roads, I have to have an extra store of energy for my gremlinz to ensure that I am present when they need me to be (although often times I am mentally absent because I am drained and husband more so). It has to be done otherwise this guilt will continue to eat me alive.