Monday, September 26, 2011

Apologies to Maggie: Chapter 4

She knew it wasn't fair, even if she couldn't say the word right. "It not PAIR."  Maybe she didn't even understand the entire scope of the word. All she knew was every single day, a travesty was happening. Crimes against her were being made, and her silence was being bought with cookies and juice.

Yesterday, as she stood in the check-in line with her sister, her mother promised that one day, she too would get to go to school. Maybe even that night for Open House! Was this some kind of sick tease? Like the day her mother brought home the brand new Princess Dora backpack just for her? She thought the gift was nice, but it was what the gift promised that brought light to her eyes. If she was big enough for a backpack now, then certainly she must be big enough to gain access to whatever lie behind the door with the big shiny green apple donning a welcoming smile.

But no. Day in and day out she was given the stiff-arm at that oh-so-inviting door. "Your not big enough yet baby." "Soon love. Oh too soon you'll get to go."  Well it had been days, maybe even weeks, and still the same promise of "soon" was whispered into her ear. Like all lies, it stunk like coffee breath and spearmint chewing gum every time the words came out of her mother's mouth.

She didn't know what Open House meant. Maybe it meant it was finally her turn. That all those promises her mother made were finally going to happen for her. She put on her fancy new backpack and the rain boots she got for her birthday. The heat of the excitement made clothing unbearable, but she begrudgingly put them on, and a pink jacket to match her sister. No one would be mistaking her for some baby, she thought.

Open House was everything she had imagine preschool to be. There was music. There was dancing and cupcakes and sticky tape on EVERY SINGLE TABLE!  It was as if everything in the room had been designed just for her. Chairs were easy to sit in. She didn't have to shove a stool up to the sink to wash her hands. And SOAP, there was a gallon of it waiting for her to use.  She was ready for her new journey. A life of dance parties instead of naps. She glanced up at her mother with sheer gratitude.

The next day as her mother yelled to her sister to come get her hair fixed for Crazy Hair Day at school, she came skidding around the corner to get hers done first. She sat the stillest, ready to have the best hair in the entire class.  When she was convinced that her hair was, in fact, perfect, she ran to get her back pack. She even made sure her diaper was dry.  "All dry momma."

They loaded up into the car. She would not fight with her sister today. No. Now they were equals. She would even think about sharing a joke with her later. Whatever that meant. The entire ride to her new school was the longest 4 minutes of her two and one quarter years on this earth. Somehow she managed to contain herself.

The car pulled up to the door. This was new and somewhat confusing. Usually, they parked the car and walked up to the door. It must be special treatment for her first day, she thought. Her mother went around to open the door for her sister first. No biggie, she thought. She waited this long, what's another few seconds to get out of the car. Then things were starting to go wrong. Her mother was walking away from the car. "Wait!" she cried. Fear struck her so deep that she was unable to unfasten her car seat's 5-point safety harness (not that she ever could without her mother's help in the first place, but she didn't know that).

She looked out the window to see her mother coming back. A fleeting burst of hope was demolished with one pathetic, pitying look she had come to recognize after countless attempts at renegotiating nap time. Why was this happening? She was so distraught as the car started to pull away from the curb that the only intelligible words she could muster were "My sCOO. MY scoo. My scoo."

She protested the entire four minute drive home, demanding to speak to someone else in charge. She didn't care if Daddy wasn't home, she wanted answers and she wanted them now. And since four minutes was not long enough, and she had forgotten why she was so upset in the first place, she cried for another 38 minutes in the laundry room, just because she could.  She didn't know much, but she knew she wasn't going to take that juice as a payoff, maybe the cookie, but definitely not the juice.


  1. this post actually brought tears to my eyes...poor Maggie....but just a few years she will be saying "I DON'T WANT TO GO TO SCHOOL!!!!". Then you can revisit this post...maybe even in a (small) moment of vengence give her a copy....and remember when.

  2. Poor Maggie..that made me all weepy too!

    Heather G