This morning we went to Gymboree.
It is a bit like trying on your first suit. How you twist in front of the dressing-room mirror, unconvinced. Not because it doesn’t fit – it fits fine – but because you are not used to seeing yourself dressed that way.
And there is something of that walking alone into the cafeteria on the nail-biting, hair-twirling first day of high school feeling. How the nail biting is strictly figurative because on the outside you’re trying to be inconspicuous, to act like you know how it works, to not mess up.
And then you see the other moms on the playmats and you’re like, “Oh, my God, I forgot to bring a blanket. I have like three in the car. Do I go get one? I don’t know.” (You don’t go back to the car. You have a little changing mat in the diaper bag. It’s fine.)
And then you’re like, “Oh, my God, mine is the only kid wearing a sleeveless top. She’s going to freeze in here. I’m totally the derelict mother.” (But it’s not even cold. It’s fine.)
And then you’re singing songs about cuckoo clocks and colors and Gymbo the Clown. And then you’re holding onto a piece of one of those giant play parachutes, raising it up, drawing it down. And it really is fine.
It was fun. Alice was great. She was one of the only babies who didn’t all-out cry during the 45-minute session. But when the other children got too boisterous, she did make these nervous little yelps. It was sort of heartbreaking.
I can totally relate.
I was myself, and now I am myself with a daughter. I feel like it fits, like I can wear it well. But what that means on the day-to-day is a question that’s still being resolved.
I don’t know if we’re for Gymboree. But we might be, we could be. And that’s the point.