As of today, both kids are in nursery school. This seems amazing because it seems like just yesterday that I was, on my first day back from a six-week maternity leave, telling my boss that I was pregnant again. Not awkward at all.
Last year, at Cade’s nursery school orientation, I prepped like I was studying for midterms. I filled out all of the paperwork early, showed up with a spiral notebook for notes, and brought my own pen. I was ready. What I didn’t realize then is that there is “ready,” and there is READY. I, with my silly ball point pen, taking notes in a chair made for someone 3.5 feet tall, was nowhere near the kind of ready I needed to be.
The head teacher had packets of information for us all organized into a folder. I had heard from a neighbor that she was really organized. “Terrific!” I thought to myself. “Everything I need in one place. How thoughtful of her.” And then she asked us to turn to the page on emergency evacuation.
Teacher: You’ll see here that each child is required to have a backpack, which we will store here, in case of an emergency evacuation.
Me (to myself): Well, that’s probably a good idea.
Teacher: In case of an emergency in this building, we will evacuate to the church next door.
Me: Seems reasonable. She really IS organized.
Teacher: If the emergency is in the neighborhood, and we can’t stay at the church, we will relocate to the university, which is 5 miles away.
Me: I don’t know how you’re going to stuff 19 kids into your Hyundai Sonata, but okay…
Teacher: And if we can’t stay at the university, then we’ll head to the closest hospital.
Me: Wow, that seems kind of excessive, do we really need three…
Teacher: You’ll note on the backpack information sheet there are certain supplies that need to go inside. At least one day’s change of clothes, a jacket, bottled water, a day’s worth of food…
Me: Wait – how many days are we going to be incapacitated by this catastrophe? And I will be unable to retrieve my child for how long? What has happened to me? Where did I go?
Teacher: Please put the child’s name inside the backpack. Don’t put it outside, because kidnappers…
Me: And now there are KIDNAPPERS? Who are these bastards who take advantage of a state-wide disaster to snatch children? Sarin gas and large-scale bombings aren’t enough – now they are taking toddlers, too? Good God, the world we live in.
Teacher: On the form you’ll see a place for emergency contacts. I need your information, of course, but I’ll also need the contact information for a responsible party out of state. If there’s a regional attack, say from Philadelphia to DC…
Me: WHAT IS HAPPENING TO THE EASTERN SEABOARD??? IS IT SLIDING UNCONTROLLABLY INTO THE OCEAN??
I was prepared for nursery school. I was NOT prepared for Armageddon. This year, when I went to orientation for Grady, I had already braced myself for this speech. I sat back in my tiny chair and willed myself not to laugh as the teacher, quite eloquently, told the new parents about her emergency preparedness plans. I watched the blood drain out of their once-hopeful faces as they imagined the zombie apocalypse claiming humanity as we know it, the weight of civilization resting on their child’s tiny back (which also bore the weight of three granola bars, a bottle of water, and a Pull-Up). Shudder.
Seeing as this is my second year with the Most Organized Teacher in the History of the Universe, I’m no longer phased by the calamity that’s coming for us all. If the only life remaining this side of the Mississippi is in her hands, I can rest easy (or someone else can rest easy, because clearly I won’t have survived). When Judgement Day comes, I want this teacher in charge of my kids. If anybody can re-start civilization, it’s her.
I am now thinking my child’s school is woefully unprepared