My eldest is about to start kindergarten. She has all her supplies, and her new school clothes. We are going to get her hair trimmed and buy her new shoes. I’ve got her bus pick up and drop off times, we went to orientation, we are all set.
She asks me every day how many days left until she starts school. She cannot wait to ride the bus, eat in the cafeteria, and explore her new playground. She is so excited. I am so excited for her.
I am also scared.
I’ve done my best to encourage her to love herself. I’ve tried so hard to teach her that, while not everyone is kind, we can choose to be kind to everyone.
I’ve tried to help her see how it doesn’t matter what others think of us, as long as we are happy with the way we act and the way we treat people, as long as we love the clothes we are wearing or the backpack we have, it’s okay if someone else doesn’t like it. That their opinion doesn’t take away from who we are and what we like.
I’ve tried to instill confidence in her. To give her a shield (or ten) against the onslaught of negativity I know the world is waiting to throw at her. I’ve tried to take negative experiences for her and turn them into teaching moments.
I’ve tried to help her learn that friends are nice to each other, that you don’t have to play with someone who is choosing to be unkind to you. That it’s okay to say “You are not being nice, and I don’t want to play anymore.”
I’ve tried so hard to make sure that she only keeps the best parts of me and the best parts of her daddy, and left all our insecurities and faults behind.
I’ve done everything I can.
But when she gets on that bus in a little over a week, will she remember?
Will someone make fun on her on her first day? Will they make my baby cry? Have I taught her enough, along with her dad and grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins and preschool teachers, to let it roll off her back and keep on shining?
When she chooses kindness, will the other kids in her class reciprocate?
What about the older kids? Will they be nice to her? This is the first time she will be at a school with kids who are older than her. And ten year olds must seem pretty huge when you’re five.
Have I done enough? Have I given her enough? Have I loved her enough?
I watched her at orientation last week – she had almost every child in that classroom gathered around her to play a game she had gotten started with two children while the grownups wandered around the classroom, trying not to cry. (Okay, maybe just me, but still.)
I think she may have two best friends already, and school hasn’t even started.
She’s informed me she wants to ride the bus the first day, that she doesn’t need me to walk her to class.
She says she doesn’t need me.
She says, “Mommy, it will be fine!”
She is creative and beautiful and intelligent. And she KNOWS it. She KNOWS.
She is a confident little social butterfly who loves everyone she meets and thinks she is beautiful and thinks she is funny and thinks she is nice and smart and good at art and is learning to read and SO proud of herself.
So I have to trust her. I have to believe that my baby is as ready as she can be. That what we have been able to teach her for the last five years is enough. That she will take the strength of our love with her, and thrive.
And, let’s face it.
She has always been strong. Certainly stronger than me.
Run, baby, run.
You’re going to be fine.