Well, my girl started school last week, and she did great!
She was excited to start the first grade, and I was so happy that the transition went so smoothly. I shouldn’t have been so quick to make that assessment, I guess, because for Avery it seems that the second week is harder than the first.
After a lot of crying and begging and pleading for me to let her stay home, we got in the car and headed to school. I thought I just need to establish the routine, and that would help her. She got more and more upset as we got close to the car line, so I thought, maybe I should walk in with her just this once. We walked into the school, and she began to cling to me. I talked to her Kindergarten teacher, thinking that she would perk up if she got to see Mrs. Phillips and that would remind her that she loves this place and she is well loved and well cared for here. Nope.
We walked to the cafeteria and Mrs. Phillips introduced her to some older girls who would look for her each morning and get her to the classroom. Nope. I talked to her friend Joey from her class last year and thought maybe she would enjoy sitting with him. Nope. I sat her down at the table and said my goodbyes, realizing that my presence wasn’t making it any better. At this point, she is physically not letting me go and her face is red and swollen with tears and she is desperate for me. I relinquished her into the hands of a kind teacher who was looking on, and I left my baby.
I am sure that by now she is doing fine in her classroom and has forgotten all about the morning drama, but I haven’t. I feel like my heart has been torn out, and I just want to rescue her. If I thought it were the right thing to do, I would cancel everything I had planned for today and do just that. But I think I have to let her face the hard things and realize that she is strong enough to handle them. I want her to know that I will always be there if she needs me, but I don’t want to cripple her by allowing fear to rule her decisions. I know from my own experience, that giving in to fear only makes the fear more powerful and all-consuming, but it is a tough line to walk to show compassion and empathy for your child’s hurting heart but hold back from rescuing them from feeling any pain.
So, here I am sitting at my desk pretending to work and all I really want to do is give my girl a big hug.
Oh, and today was this boy’s first day of 3-year-old preschool as well.
He said to me without a care in the world, “Bye, Mom. Pick me up after lunch” and walked right into his class on his own.
My heart just can’t contain all of the the love I have for them.