Thursday, January 28, 2010

Community Ed Drop-Out

I've decided to drop out of my weekly community ed/ECFE class with AC. What kind of loser drops out of community ed class? I do. That's who.

This whole "semester" of class has been little more than heartache for me. I skipped the very first class, because I had my friend's pre-tummy tuck party to attend. When I went to the second class, during parenting time, the educator discussed the possibility of bringing in speakers. She mentioned the owner of a funeral home, who could speak to us on grief and explaining grief to children.

At that particular moment, I was overcome with my own community ed class-infused grief, and I sat staring blankly at the table. Secretly, I was thinking snide comments like, "How do you explain to your toddler that her family unit is dead?", but I really was in no mood for smiling. Much to my horror, the instructor must've seen the bizarre look on my face, and called my out by asking, "Did you have anything to add to the grief topic?". I found this to be a little more than rude: what if I was truly experiencing grief over a death in the family? Who was she to call me out on anything like that?

The past couple of classes have been rough for me, plus AC isn't enjoying them as much as she did last year, probably because she's already spent all day in "school", what we call her daycare, as it has a pre-school curriculum.

This week pushed me over the edge. The couple that reminds me of the Married Guy and his Wife both come to class, because two classes are held at the same time--one in the baby room and one in the big-kid room. The dad accompanies the kid in the big-kid room, the same room as AC. His kid decided to sit down next to AC to play Play-Doh, so here I was, one of the only mothers in the room without a wedding ring on, much less a baby daddy present, and I was stuck sitting next to the guy who reminds me of my Married Guy--the closest thing I have to an actual romance right now.

I cringed, sitting that close to him, because his physical resemblance to my Married Guy is just uncanny. Listening him talk to his son was gut-wrenching. I think that, to a newly divorced woman, hearing a man talk sweetly to his child is gut-wrenching. To a newly divorced woman sitting next to someone who strongly resembles someone she has feelings for while he talks sweetly to his child is near heartbreak.

In parenting class, the Married Guy look-alike and his wife sat together, and affectionately touched and teased each other. I kept tearing up, so I stared down at the table and tried to hold my eyes as wide open as I could, to prevent the tears from streaming down. After all, who the hell cries in the middle of ECFE class? If I broke down, it probably wouldn't be long until someone from child protective services showed up at my door, looking for evidence of my mental instability.

After class, it was time to put on coats, and AC broke down. In front of all of the parents and other children, she broke down, refused to put on her coat and screamed, "I don't want to go to Daddy's house! I want to go home!", over and over. I was so close to tears already that my own hot, salty tears did start streaming down my cheeks.

As I avoided eye contact with any of the other parents, I managed to wrestle AC into her coat, hat and boots, and pick her up to leave, as she continued to sob and scream. As we walked out into the below-zero freezing air, our tears both free-flowed down our cheeks and I pressed my cheek to hers, blending into one frozen tear that connected the two of us.

AC and I both cried the entire drive to her Daddy's house. She cried as he took her out of her car seat, and I looked away. When I got home, I crawled into my bed and cried some more. I could've spent the rest of the evening in that very same fetal position, until I got sick of crying and stumbled out of the bedroom to hunt down my bottle of prescribed Ambien, wait 20 minutes for it to kick in, then slip into the dark, dreamless, feeling-less sleepy relief it gives me from my feelings. Instead, I promised to meet some friends, so I had no choice but to haul my ass up and out.

The next day, I emailed the ECFE instructor and told her that we won't be back for the semester. As lame as it sounds, it's simply too painful, and since I get AC for only a matter of hours on those nights, I'd rather just be with her one-on-one, instead of blending our tears into one giant tear, frozen in time.

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