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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

T minus 2 weeks and counting

I know the emotional angst of sending your child to Kindergarten is a universal experience.

Yup, I appreciate that and all.

But looking at our girl, in her new-for-school pink faux suede boots with the fringe holding her well-worn security blanket (uncreatively called "yellow") thumb in her mouth, pleased as punch with her new backpack but needing the downtime of a practiced introvert each day, usually in the form of snuggling and cuddling, I am conflicted.

Of course I know that Ella is ready for school. I can see it. Her mind is eager to learn, her little girl spirit is ready for some adventure. She is all about having friends and spending time with them. She is even a great candidate for public school because she loves desks, projects, order and even rules. She and Maya fight all the time now and I can see they need some time apart.


She is our baby. The one we just brought home from the hospital a mere 5 years ago (or was it 5 minutes ago?). All day away from home? I vacillate between feeling like the McGraw school is full of lovely educators who will help us shape our precious girl's mind and feeling like they are a children-hungry institution who can't be satisfied with 1/2 a day and they need them for 6 whole hours, 5 days a week.

Also, being married to a school schedule isn't my cup of tea. Suddenly I feel like our family lives in a box- we cannot just plan things in the middle of the week as we are accustomed with Sandi's every-other-weekend work schedule. And when is she going to see Brady who lives 40 minutes away and will also be in school ALL DAY LONG? I mean, hey, what about our macaroni & cheese lunches with Maya hitting Anna and Anna telling dirty potty jokes that make the big kids laugh and Ange and I trying to drink our coffee and instead getting up 100 times during each meal. When are we supposed to do THAT?


There will be all that time alone with Maya. We can move with Maya at her pace, instead of constantly splitting the difference in speed, style and temperament between the two girls. And Maya will be in preschool 2 days (potty training and underwear-wearing pending) so there will be some KIDLESS TIME. For me to work, to run, to write, to (don't strike me down) have a quiet cup of coffee with Sandi. Maybe even a nap. (Ok, who am I kidding?)

So I put on a brave face and I make it all sound so exciting for Ella that she is doing this great thing, that she is so big, and I tuck my heartache away that our girl's bubble of an existence where people are (almost) always nice, people act in love, and the world is a good place will likely be shattered within the first few months. There is the dreaded word: mainstream. But we can't keep her at home in the bubble forever right? We would cast her impotent to live her life. No, I tell myself, our job is to let her live- go freely- and teach her along the way. We can fight the "mainstream" by teaching her that she can be her own person, not just who her peers think she should be, that she can have her own ideas and desires. The step into public school sometimes feels so much like saying, "Here, go be taught the way that someone out there has determined is best for EVERYONE. Ignore your own personal methods and ambitions. Behave well and do what you are told. You can be creative later."

Yes, she will experience failure. Yes, she will get her feelings hurt, and eventually, her heart broken. Yes, she will be afraid sometimes. Yes, she will grow up. Yes, she will get her legs under her and run forward into the world, leaving us, sometimes, behind. And, yes, she may even get her creativity and her spirit squashed a little and it is our job to teach her to adovocate for them.

If I stop trying to prevent all these things from happening, and instead embrace her life in all its shades as I'm learning to embrace my own, then maybe, just maybe, I will be ready in 2 weeks time.

They had a teddy bear picnic today to get the kids excited about meeting kids in their class. They played on their new playground. They decorated teddy bears and could bring one for company.

This is Ella with her best bud Skyler to her right and her preschool friend Haley to her left.

Haley told me when I picked them up that Ella cried a little for me after I left. I wanted to tear up the school registration paperwork and learn all I could about homeschooling. And the medication I would need to take to make that possible for me to carry out.

I tell Ella all the time that being brave is being afraid about something and doing it anyway. Perhaps it's time I took my own advice.

1 comment:

Jeannine said...

well put mom, you rock! and to you miss ella... congratulations kindergarden girl!!

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