Kindergarten Sucks

In Family by Matt Mooney

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Blonde hair poured over the top of the purple, floral-covered backpack that swallowed up most of the rest of her, until her legs peeked out from the skirt she had laid out with precision the night before.

This would be her outfit for the first day of kindergarten.

She has chosen her own clothes since sometime around two. Ginny long ago decided to pick her battles and clothes didn’t make the list. We felt a bit a sheepish in her Punky Brewster stage but she has developed quite the eye for fashion over three years of fine-tuning.

You see the way I can think on one aspect of this little girl? One thing I like about her. She picks out her own clothes!

And the world expects me to just drop her off from 7:45 to 3:00 at some place filled with common kids and teachers I’ve never met? I don’t trust my friends. How the $%z^* did it become okay to hand off your offspring into the arms of someone you met last week at a school picnic? I didn’t even meet her. Ginny did. And she is a horrible judge of people. She trusts everyone and wants to bake them cookies. I’m not there. I’m not getting there. And though most people see it the other way around, I think this distrust of everything called a person is what makes me such a wonderful gift to my wife and my family.

“Be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” (Matt. 10:6)

I slithered all over that school: shook hands with principal, smiled and feigned joy at volunteering with the PTO president, eyeballed the janitor, lingered and looked at the teacher awkwardly long.

We were the last people to leave the breakfast they hosted. Ginny looked bewildered to see me work the room like a vote-seeker. I typically hone in on one person in big groups—too tired to care about people I’ll never see again. But Leverett Elementary school is gonna know me.

Call me “Hazel’s dad.” Not Matt and certainly not Mr. Mooney. Use the moniker that associates me with her in your feeble mind.

I’m a newly-minted watchdog dad. Whatever allows me to be on campus without getting arrested … I’ll do it.

Cause I played a part in making her. I’ve built my whole life around trying to be home at lunch with her. I’ve scheduled appointments at just the time where I could stop in and watch her gymnastics class. She is mine and I am not ready for her to be a Leverett Lion.

But she is ready. And so I let her go.

I am looking forward to Friday.

Photo (Flickr CC) by Robert S. Donovan

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Matt Mooney
Matt and his wife Ginny founded 99 Balloons, an organization working alongside persons with disability locally and globally. Many know Matt through the story of his son, Eliot, whose 99 days on this earth were commemorated with 99 balloons. He is the author of the book, A Story Unfinished. Matt lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas, where he busies himself raising Eliot's siblings—Hazel, Anders and Lena.
Matt Mooney

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