Two things happen on the first day of kindergarten, September 1983.
Parents are invited to stay for the morning, and they sit beside their kids in a circle to begin the day. We go around sharing “fun things we do at home.” One mom teaches us what a “bear hug” is, and we all practice this new maneuver one pair at a time. When it's my turn, I freeze. I refuse to hug my mom in front of these strangers and won’t be bullied by the staff. She looks kinda bummed. I remember feeling badly about it. I still do.
The second act is different, although I wouldn’t necessarily say I redeemed myself. We’re in a circle again and are sharing songs we learned at home. A boy named Andrew opens with Twinkle Twinkle and suddenly everyone joins in. Whitney and her mom follow up with: “Baa Baa black sheep …” and soon it's a full chorus of “Yes sirs!” and smiles all around. This goes on for a bit. When it’s my turn, there's barely a pause before I strut into the center and belt out: “IF you think I’m sexy AAAAND you want my body, COME on baby let me know…”. There are gasps, daughters' eyes and ears are covered, adults exchange nervous smiles and some head shakes. The house is not “brought down” as I’d hoped. My mother looks somewhat mortified, but I know at that moment, deep down there is a swelling pride. A silent electricity. Her house wins. I don’t feel bad about it. I never do.
November 12th, 2016 is our Grand Opening. Our “first big day.” It will be a day of a thousand bear hugs. A thousand songs. It will be electric. Oakland Yard will not be a nursery rhyme kind of place. There will be no tidy circles. Dance, strut. Go on with your bad selves. Share your fun. Come be a part of this.
Saturday November 12th, 12-4PM. Bubbly, bites and bands. Free!
All joy. No regrets.
See you there, friends.