Feeling Her Child Vulnerability

Today Mackenzie starts first grade. I can remember my first day of first grade. I was so nervous – though I was always a nervous child.  I wore a green dress, white tights, and brown Holly Hobby shoes. I had some glue, crayons, and a few pencils in my pencil box.


When I received the list of items to buy for Mackenzie’s supplies I nearly fainted. This list was a page long. Once everything was purchased, it almost completely filled a Hefty bag. Unreal. But I guess that goes to show the limited funding schools have these days.


I had Mackenzie call her mother on Monday and ask her if we could drop off the supplies either Monday or Tuesday evening. She would be starting school on Friday morning and her mother has her on Thursdays.  I wanted to make sure she had all her belongings for the first day. Her mom did not want us to drop them off for some reason. Instead she said that she would pick them up on Wednesday about 5:30. Certainly, that was fine too.


The next day Mackenzie’s mom emailed Charlie and said that in the future he shouldn’t make Mackenzie call to ask things – that it was unfair to her. What? It was a simple questions about school supplies, what kind of fake complaint is that??


On Wednesday we sat here and waited…and waited. Charlie called her cell phone several times and she never answered. Finally she called at about 7:15 and said she was running late, could she stop by now. She arrived at about 7:45.


Thursday night our phone rings at about 8:15pm.  It was Mackenzie calling from her grandmother’s house.  She asked what bus she is supposed to take home. She was very anxious and was quite obviously seeking the reassurance that everything would go just fine. Charlie asked her why she wasn’t at home. Here, her bedtime is about 7:00-7:30. And even then she seems so tired by the end of the day. She said her mom had her ex boyfriend over and she couldn’t go home yet because he was there. This is the same ex who was living with her and moved out several months ago. Apparently they are still ‘friends’. Anyway, Mackenzie said she still had to take her bath and it was almost 8:30. She also said that she left her back pack at Daycare on Wednesday and didn’t go there Thursday because her aunt took her to Chuck E Cheese instead. So she will LITERALLY have to bring all of her things to school in a garbage bag!


When Charlie got off the phone, I just started crying. My chest even ached. I could sense Mackenzie’s anxiety and feelings of a lack of control. She is worried because her life is so chaotic and unstable. She hardly ever calls her father. But I know she did so tonight to get some reassurance. To make sure everything was going to be okay. Because she knows that when she is with us, things are dependable and she doesn’t need to worry. I just wish so much, for her sake, she could have that all the time.


I really feel she should be here Monday through Friday every week. She needs that. She is in school fulltime now. She needs consistency and a healthy life – one she can count on.  A six year old should not have to worry if things are going to be taken care of…if SHE is going to be taken care of. It just makes me so sad.


If she were my daughter, she would have been tucked into bed after a nice talk about how things are going to happen on her first day. She’d be bathed, fed, and her outfit would be out and hanging for her – ready for the next morning. Her lunch would be made. Her backpack all packed to go.


Am I controlling just because I want her to be raised the right way or because I care about her development and her future? Well, then I am controlling – so be it. Shoot me because I care!


People tell me that I need to stop caring so much about her and what happens with her. They say I have no way to change anything so worrying about her will only drive me nuts. They say I need to pull away and just let ‘her parents’ worry about it. And if they don’t care, why should I. I really am not sure how to do that. I don’t think I can.


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