It was the fourth day of the new school year. I could feel the tension in the car as we drew nearer & nearer to the school.
So many thoughts filled her little mind. What would the new day bring? Would she remember where to go? What if she forgot?
As we pulled into a parking space, I turned around and could see her eyes filling with tears. In a quiet voice she whispered, “I just want to stay home with you.” My heart broke.
My Mama Bear voice was growling inside. I wanted to scream out, “Let’s Go Home.” Because just as badly as she didn’t want to go to school, I didn’t want her to go either.
She had no idea that I had been crying daily on my drive home alone. That I too was missing her, and wished I had just a little more time with her at home. And the unknowns of her school brought me great anxiety.
My baby was growing up, and we were both terrified.
So I mustered up as much courage that I could, and I looked her square in the eyes. I said, “Place your hand over your heart. Do you feel it beating?” She nodded. “Whenever you are scared I want you to place your hand on your heart and know that you are not alone. I am ALWAYS there.”
She gave me a giant hug. And even though everything wasn’t magically fixed, it felt somewhat better.
As we walked toward the school her grip tightened the closer we came to the building. She was worried I wasn’t going to walk her to her classroom.
I know it’s tradition for parents to do it on the first day only, but I couldn’t do that to her. She needed me.
As we walked down the hall, I could see her classmates lining the wall, staring up at me, eyes wide open. You could see the fear. Just like my daughter, they had so many questions swirling around in their minds.
Sometimes I think we fail to remember, that even though they are kids they still have legitimate fears. They may not know how to express what they are feeling, but it’s there.
Think about it.
Did you ever get nervous the first week at a new job? Did you ever have a freak out when you weren’t sure where to go when driving down the road? Ever cry or get upset because you lost something?
Sure. Because we are humans. We aren’t perfect, we don’t have it all together all the time, and we can’t expect that from our children either.
They are going to have their own personal battles. Battles that may not make sense to us or to others, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be addressed in the most loving of ways.
Good grief, as a child I wouldn’t go outside for a period of time because I was scared of birds. Yes, birds. But do you know what my sweet grandmother did?
Instead of chastising me and insisting I grow up, she gave me a squirt bottle. She filled it up, and told me to just spray water at the birds if I ever felt scared. Guess what? It worked. Because she was loving and understanding.
The world today is filled with so many expectations for our kids. The bar has been raised, their test scores are something taken very seriously at such a young age, they are expected to know everything so quickly.
Which is why it is our job as parents, to protect their childhood. To let them be little for as long as we possibly can. To let them still enjoy the magic that being a kid has to offer before it is all stripped away.
So let them wear the superhero cape to school, let them believe in magical creatures, and walk them to class when they ask. Before you know it they won’t need you anymore, and you will wish for those days back.
For now…let them be little.
**No birds were harmed in the making of this blog post.