I was a mess heading out the door on that cold January morning. I had mapquested the location of the class and packed the diaper bag the night before. I had stared into my closet for far too long picking out the perfect “mom” attire for the day.
I put on Jackson’s jacket and loaded him into the rear facing car seat, that he was quickly becoming too big for. Those days it was so much work to get out the door.
I got to class 15 minutes early, so I sat in my car and watched as the moms from the previous class left and I waited. Staring a my phone while the minutes ticked by. Losing my nerve to try something new.
I watched another SUV pull up and a mom get out and head into the building. I got Jack out of the car and headed in. I followed the signs to the toddler music class, thinking that it was silly to be so nervous about a toddler music class.
And yet I was, I always am, ridiculously nervous about new situations, new groups of people. Now that I was a new mom it seemed to be worse. I felt like everywhere I went the moms all knew each other. At the park I would see them clustered together chatting and drinking coffee. I would see them in the mall laughing and pushing strollers. I always felt like the odd girl out, the only one of my friends who went the SAHM route, I was perpetually lonely Monday through Friday.
So at a recommendation of a friend I signed Jack and I up for a Music Together Class. She mentioned how much her son loved it and that she had made so many friends there.
I had hope, as I walked down that small hallway in the church, past the preschool to the room at the end where a group of moms and toddlers sat on carpet squares.
I hung up my jacket and my bag and sat down on a carpet square holding Jack on my lap like a shield. Toddlers make great shields in that everyone likes them and no one judges there dirty faces or lack of social skills.
Teacher Andrea welcomed us to class, with the hello song and Jack sat and listened and crawled around the room. He didn’t participate much in those early classes other than to listen and crawl around the classroom. Some days he was more interested in the stack chairs that sat at the back of the class. On a few occasions he spent more time chewing on instruments than making music with them.
And on that first day I remember thinking that there was something therapeutic about the clapping of my hands to the “Hello, song” and in singing “Mr. Rabbit”.
At the end of class I began the task of gathering up our stuff sippy cups, shoes, jackets and our new CD and book, when a mom approached me and asked how old Jackson was.
I said he was 14 months and I learned that her twins were just a week older than Jack. We talked for a minute and I discovered that they napped at the same time Jack did, which in those days was something that seemed so crucial to friendship. And she invited me for a play date. And while a play date seems like something so small, to a new mom it’s huge.
And from that first class, came so much. Jack and I became music together regulars. I made a great friend who we continued to take music class with. I watched as those 3 kids, who were once the little ones in the class grow into the “big kids”. I watched first steps and learning to talk and watching them dance and interact and seeing their personalities blossom.
I gained so much from those classes. When days were hard it was those silly moments during free dance that would always make me laugh and smile. It was knowing that when I walked into class I had a friend there who was in the same place I was, who would know immediately by the look on my face how the day had been. It was those music Cd’s that I played endlessly when Jack fussed in the car while we hunted for a new home.
And I guess that is why I’m finding it so hard to let go of Music Together. Next week we will have our last class, as Jack has decided that he no longer wants to go to music class. And while I know I could push him to do one more session, I don’t want it to become something we fight about.
Today in the car I asked him for the last time if he still wanted to take music and he said, “No, I don’t want to go anymore.” and when I asked why he said, “I just don’t. But I still like going to Mom-Mom’s and Nana’s and school”.
And I guess that is his way of saying he’s outgrown it. There was a time when he was so little that it was hard to believe that this day would come. That it was possible for him to outgrow anything especially a kids activity. And yet here we are.
It’s all apart of this bittersweet business of growing up. And on Monday when we sing the goodbye song I know there will be tears in my eyes, as we say goodbye to Teacher Andrea and Music Together.