Wednesday, September 4, 2013

First Day of School 2013

Dear Em,
You woke up yesterday looking kind of timid. In fact, you crawled back into bed three or four times before deciding you were definitely ready to face the day. I totally understood in a way you can't unless you have experienced it. Yesterday was your first day of school for 2013 (remember 2012?), & you were starting a new class.

You are a little bundle of sunshine, & one of the things we're most proud of you for is your willingness to make sure everyone feels included...that is once you feel included. We've often watched you standing on the sidelines when you're in situations where you don't know anyone else. You stand staring at the other little kids, a fearful longing to belong clearly showing on your face. "What is she doing," your daddy asks. "Why doesn't she just introduce herself & ask if she can play." I don't know if he can quite understand that fearful longing, but I do. Gatherings of any type have always given me a little anxiety when I don't know anyone. I too have stood on the sides, nervously looking in, afraid to take that first step. I've looked at the group of people in front of me & felt like I was the only new one. I've felt like the odd one out when in reality most people probably don't know each other. It's hard to put yourself out there. What if you don't connect with anyone?

This is the look I see on your face when you approach new groups. I know it well. Some people may be shocked by that, because I hide it in the roles I've taken. Over the years, I've chosen roles that force me to put myself out there (resident assistant, mentor, sales representative, facilitator). Somehow, being expected to be the first to put yourself out there takes some of the edge off. You'll see.

But back to you at 3.5. In order to get you out of bed & ready to face the day, I reminded you of all of the things about this new step that you were familiar with. We know some of your classmates from a previous class. We know your new teachers. We know & adore the new building you will be in.

You entered your classroom with a timid face & clung to my side for the first few moments. Then I saw your body relax as you were greeted by your teachers & classmates. In the middle of talking to your teacher, I noticed you were no longer by my side. You had gone to one of the tables to play doll house with some of your new classmates. It was then I knew you were going to be just fine.

You barely said goodbye to me as I left your classroom, & when I came back to pick you up you groaned. "No! I'm not ready to leave yet." Is it possible for your words to break my heart & fill my heart with joy at the same moment? As much as I was bummed not to be the bright spot in your day, I was so thrilled to find that you loved your new classroom, new teachers, new classmates...& new group so much. It made my heart so happy to see that after one day you already felt like you fit (maybe you're less like me than I thought).

You're a sunshine this year, & it's clear that your days in this new classroom are going to be full of just that. I can't believe next year you'll be starting pre-k. I feel like since the moment you were born, we've been traveling through time in warp speed. As much as I don't expect it to slow down, I think this is going to be your best year yet.

I love you so,

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