First day of preschool
“WHY CAN’T I STAY HOME with you?” I whine at my mom from the back seat of her car.
“Because I said so, Matty.” Mom sounds annoyed, but I don’t care. I’m not happy either. She woke me up and made me change out of my Optimus Prime pajamas to put on itchy stiff clothes and shoes that make my feet heavy.
I always get pancakes with chocolate chips for breakfast. Dad makes the best, but Mom’s are okay. I told her that, too, but she still made me eat cold cereal instead. She said we didn’t have time for pancakes, because I had to go to school. She never made me go to school before.
Mom says going to school is exciting. That I’m a big boy now. It doesn’t feel exciting, but rather like I’m being punished. Mom only tells me I’m being a big boy when she wants me to do something I don’t really want to do.
Mom pulls the car into a parking lot in front of a pink building with flowers painted all over it. I hate pink, and flowers are for girls. A big lady in a purple dress is standing outside the door. Her smile is too big for her face and her hair is short like my dad’s. Ladies aren’t supposed to have short hair. Short hair is for boys. I don’t like her. I don’t like pink buildings. I don’t like wearing heavy, clunky shoes with laces that keep coming untied and try to trip me. I want pancakes that have chocolate chips inside them. I want my Optimus Prime Pajamas. This is not exciting. This is punishment. Being a big boy sucks.
My mom opens her door and walks over to open mine. She starts to unbuckle my car seat. Big boys don’t sit in car seats. My butt still fits in my seat, which means my mom is wrong.
“Okay, Matty, it’s time to go in and meet your teacher, make new friends.” She helps me climb out of my seat, grabs my new backpack, and we walk up to the crazy purple lady with boy hair.
“Welcome! Welcome! Who do we have here?” The lady in the purple dress squats down and brings her face level with mine.
Her breath is hot on my face, and it smells bad.
I’m not staying.
I try to back away, but Mom tightens her grip on my hand and stops me from getting very far.
“This is Mathew. He’s a little nervous about his first day,” Mom lies with a laugh.
The lady laughs too, then turns her horrible breath back to me. “Hello, Mathew, my name is Mrs. Mitchy, and I think we are going to be the best of friends.”
I’d rather not do that at all.
Mom and Mrs. Mitchy talk for a really long time, then my mom leaves, and Mrs. Mitchy makes me follow her inside. The inside looks better than the outside does, but I’m still going to leave. The first chance I get, I’m making a run for it. The inside is every color, and there are toys everywhere. There are toys for both boys and girls. I was worried they were going to make me play with dolls, like my cousin Kailee always makes me do when we are at her house.
I spot some blocks in the corner, and some of the anger about my mom leaving me here evaporates. I walk over and play with the blocks. They are heavier than the blocks I have at my house, but they are bigger too. They are all the same boring color, not all the colors like mine are, but that’s okay.
“Wanna be my friend?”
A boy stands over me. I continue to play with my blocks and choose not to talk to him.
“My name is Steve. Do you like dinosaurs?” This kid is annoying.
“I like dinosaurs sometimes.”
His face splits into a grin and he sits down next to me. “Wanna play dinosaurs with me? You can be a T-rex, and I’ll be a raptor, because raptors are my favorites!”
“Okay. Can I play blocks with you?”
“No,” I say again.
“Why not?” He frowns.
“Because I don’t want to be your friend, and I want you to go away.”
He scrunches up like he’s about to cry, but I don’t have to worry about if he’s gonna tell on me or not, because at that very moment I look up and see her.
Mrs. Mitchy is talking to a pretty lady with long brown hair in a white dress with blue flowers all over it. The pretty lady is smiling and hugging a little girl to her side. The little girl has beautiful brown hair like her mom. She’s in a fluffy pink dress, and she has matching pink bows in her hair. I guess pink isn’t so bad if she likes to wear it. She isn’t smiling like her mom. She’s hiding behind her mom’s dress. She looks like she wants to run away too.
I don’t want her to run away.
I stand up and leave the blocks and the annoying dinosaur boy. I walk up to the brown-haired girl and her mom. She sees me getting closer, because I can see her eyes pinned on me. She has pretty blue eyes. Blue is my favorite color. I walk all the way up to her, and she stops hiding behind her mom’s dress.
“Hi, my name is Mathew. What’s your name?”
She looks down and mumbles something I don’t hear. Her mom and Mrs. Mitchy stop talking and watch us.
“This is Tabitha,” her mom answers for her as she gently nudges her forward.
“Are you scared?” I ask her.
She shakes her head.
“Then why are you sad?”
“I don’t want my mommy to leave,” she whispers back but keeps her eyes cast down.
“My mom left me here too.”
She looks up. “She did?”
“Yep,” I say in my big boy voice. “Do you want to play blocks with me, Tabitha?”
She smiles and nods. I reach out and grab her hand in mine. Mrs. Mitchy and her mom are smiling down at us. Her mom’s eyes glisten with tears, but she’s smiling. Tabitha and I walk toward the blocks. Steve isn’t there anymore, and I’m glad because I don’t want to share her with anyone. I let go of her hand once we’re both sitting on the floor with the blocks
Preschool isn’t so bad now. I don’t even care my mom left, or that I had to eat cold cereal instead of pancakes. I don’t even care that Mrs. Mitchy has a boy haircut.
Because Tabitha is here, and I love Tabitha.
“Do you wanna be my best friend?” I ask her.
She gives me her pretty smile, and her blue eyes sparkle with happiness. She nods, and I decide that today is probably the best day of my life. I never want to go home, because she’s here, and I wanna keep her forever.