A new mother, five week old strapped to her abdomen, stood nearby as I spoke to another returning preschool mother as we all three watched our little ones play.
My anxious hackles were actually down, since my daughter had had a few play dates with this other mother’s daughter between the end of last school year and the beginning of this one. I knew her well enough that conversation seemed to come easily – a small miracle for me with nearly anyone other than family or close friends.
Seeing this new mother navigate a newbie preschooler with infant in tow brought me back to my own first experience with preschool – a time otherwise known as the year that shall not be named.
What a difference between the easy, breezy tenor of today and the hell on earth that nearly every morning was as I unwittingly struggled with postpartum and getting three children out of the house each morning.
Forgive me as I recite the Virginia Slims cigarette commercial catch phrase.
I try to tell myself that as I ease my muscles down from the twitchy edge.
I try to remember that time – only to make any morning issue seem that much easier now.
I try to recall just enough to vindicate my survival – not send me down the path of PTSD.
And I try to share the short version of my story, not to scare young mothers or one up them, but to provide a sympathetic show of support. Even if it’s just a knowing smile to show them they are not alone, that they are not the only one who struggles with such pedestrian endeavors.
And to remind myself that yes, I have come a long way.