Love Trips: We’re Going to Be Okay
We've been forced to accept change despite our pleas for sameness.
Welcome to Love Trips, a weekly column where Sujeiry shares relationship stumbles and (hopefully) wins. Subscribe to get full access to her love stories (it’s like a telenovela!), including audio posts.
He grips the bottom of my t-shirt, pulling it so it stretches and snaps back as he walks inside. The older gentleman coaxes him in. I bend over, hold back tears and say, “It’s ok, bub,” and stop myself from singing the lullaby that I sang to him when I decided to leave his father.
“It’s ok, it’s ok, my little boy…”
I stand straight, readjust my mustard, leopard print tee, and muster the strength of a million moms that have done this before. Only this isn’t like I imagined it would be. It’s the first day of Kindergarten and, for his protection, Evan must wear a mask for 6 consecutive hours. He will meet his teachers and classmates, but will not see their faces.
My drop-off experience is also tainted. On day one, I am limited to the school building foyer. On day two, I hand over my son, Evan, and watch as a female staff member walks him from the front of the school building to the school cafeteria in the back. I watch as he melts down because their 2-minute interaction isn’t enough for Evan to have the familiarity he needs to feel safe. And I need that also. I hate that I haven’t met his teachers. I hate that I haven’t seen the inside of his classroom. And when Evan walked away from me that first day of school with a stranger (I don’t even know his name), sobbing through his white Elmo mask, I thought, how fucking traumatizing.
For me, transition has always been that way. From Evan being left alone in a cafeteria with a group of unfamiliar faces to accepting that I had to restart my life as a single mom at 40 years old, we have been forced to accept change despite our pleas for sameness. Evan didn’t want to go to a new school. I didn’t want my relationship with his father to crumble. Yet here we are.
And just like Evan has to suck up his boogers and wipe away tears without my comforting song, I have to swallow my anger and heartache when I hear my son mention her name.
For his protection, I pretend that it doesn’t affect me because he’s innocent and doesn’t understand that the woman he mentions was his dad’s mistress and now partner. I have to close my eyes and push away visions of the silk pillow, because that memory leads me to imagine them in bed together, fucking their brains out.
I snap out of it. Watching Evan turn back at me, big drops of tears soaking his mask, breaks me apart because I can’t do anything about it, just like I can’t do anything about him being with her. And as I walk away from Evan and from the anger that is often at the brink of boiling over, I stop and breathe. I tuck in my mustard, leopard print tee, walk away, and muster the strength not to break again. I stand in the September sun and sing in a whisper, ““It’s ok, it’s ok, my little boy. We’re going to be ok.”