the school of independence…

August 6, 2012

“I am so excited mom…but I am a little nervous too.” she said while she shuffled around staring at her new chocolate boots and the chalk art on the ground.

“I know, me too.” I answered, staring at this girl of mine. “I think it’s always like that when you start something new.” I said with my you-got-this confidence voice.

Truth is- I’ve been a little more than a little nervous. My brow has stayed in the mother furrowed position.

Do you think she will be okay?

You know she has that funky way of processing…it probably means she’s brilliant or something, but that stuff never fits in school. I don’t even care if she’s brilliant or not, she’s so persistent, bossy, loving and can be so intense, and don’t forget her insane desire to do, be, make art…this kid needs to be heard, understood…seen. Awww hell, we all need that.

Do you think this was my big sign from the universe that I should homeschool? …oh God, I am not sure I can handle it.

We really should just save our pennies now for that magical middle school for girls that we can probably never afford.

…I am not even sure who I was talking to but my mind went on and on.

…and then I did the only thing I knew to do, I took her out for a girly day. A new uniform, a pixie hair cut, a big flower headband…and lots of fill-her-soul up stuff, friends, books, nature,and nail polish. Her excitement was building, she was so blissed out. So ready for the next step.

…and somewhere in the middle of all the soul filling I realized I was actually the one being taken to school. I didn’t see it but at some point she crawled out of my body and became her own person. I mean, my body doesn’t even keep her alive any more, she doesn’t have any trouble saying how she feels or asking for what she needs, and every skill that drove me crazy at age 3 turned out to be the best tricks in her bag to navigate life so far.

How did this happen? How did I get enrolled in the school of independence? What. The. What?

Ohhhh, I knew it. I know one day…

she will have a crappy teacher that may not get her

she may rock the hell out of her art show

she will figure out some boy/girl is just not for her or she may get dumped

she will have to stand up for herself or walk away

she will hate me when I tell her she can’t wear that trashy skirt

she will be wounded, and find a way to heal

she will be be brave and kind

she will stumble, make a horrible mistake and be sorry

she will put on the most perfect outfit and feel so full of every part of her beautiful body and self

she will wonder if she is enough

she will dance

she will feel alone and have to give what she needs to herself

she will drink too much and regret it…and then do it again

she will fail

she will triumph

she will love deeply, with all of her heart

…she will live her very own life.

…and there’s nothing I can do about it. …and that’s wonderful and terrifying. …and then I took a deep breath and looked around. I looked at her papa wrap his arms around her…and I looked at my friend Emily hold her Marie close…with the same look of confidence in her eyes. the same look of love.

…and every spot I looked held the same love she’ll need, the same love she knows, the love birth gave her, the love her soul has always held.

So I cursed the school under my breath knowing I have so many more classes to go to…but sat down in the love, remembering it has never left me either.

13 Responses to “the school of independence…”

  1. Maria Says:

    Once again, you put into words, what is in my heart…..thank you~

  2. I know just what you are saying. I hope first grade is a grand adventure for your baby.

  3. Amy Gouldman Says:

    So sweet. And I love that picture of Marie too.

  4. annie Says:

    I have these same thoughts about my baby, my boy, heading off to 1st grade in a few weeks. he is my wily, wonderful one that needs as much attention as he needs to do it on his own.
    And about that magical middle school for girls. save the pennies. it’s worth every single one. my girl is PUMPED UP for 6th grade. (and really, what girl is pumped up for 6th grade?!?!)

  5. rightmoon Says:

    beautiful. just…beautiful. thank you for this (and good luck with the next steps of the journey. she is loved, and it’s a powerful beast.)

  6. Diana Farmer, East Lansing, MI Says:

    Thank you, Patience! As an educator, as a teacher consultant, as a woman, a wife-to-be at 53, and as a daughter, your words are so remarkable.

  7. Gloria Says:

    If you think she will have crappy teachers, there is no way she will have anything but. Will each of her teacher match her perfectly, doubtful… will he/she give her an experience that will enrich her? Well that will be up to your point of view. Look for the good in all the teachers she has along the way. They all will give her gifts. It’s up to YOU to support her in finding those jewels. 🙂 She will need all of them to be who she will grow to be. And I bet that will be pretty amazing.

    • kindnessgirl Says:

      Oh, I agree Gloria! There is something in every experience for us…and you also do get what you put into exchanges. Perspective and attitude can change/shift everything.

      My challenge in life has always been the opposite- I see the sunny, hopeful side pretty well… it’s been in not advocating for myself or drawing boundaries and waiting until after every other option has been exhausted. Not knowing I had a voice or even an opinion… Or thinking that if only I was more pleasing, more agreeable, or always seeking some other perspective that would help me understand someone that things would eventually work out.. or that it was always my responsibility or my one way to be loved…be the bigger person was the model/slogan of my childhood.

      In some ways it gave me incredible gifts to interact with all different kinds of people and find goodness everywhere but other aspects made it damaging to a really sensitive kid. SOoooo now I wade through, trying not to project on my kid, and let her find her way AND at the same time offer the bits of wisdom and guidance I do know.

      Exhausting isn’t it?! …and so how life is. I so appreciate your words and insight. They are so true. I should also note…I think there will be some teachers my kid doesn’t get…and she may be the crappy one at times too. 🙂 It definitely goes both ways as we are all human.

      • Gloria Says:

        Oh that is such a great reply! You know what? It will be all be fine! I just retired from 36 years of teaching 1st grade and Kindergarten in June. I knew it was time to retire when I was unable to fit in the creative part of teaching- the thing that made me glow. There was not much time to allow children to create, explore and not have it be “tested”. I hope your daughter’s teacher is one of those special people that can combine it all like a wizard. But even if the teacher doesn’t, your daughter has a mom that “gets” her. And there is the biggest gift of all!

  8. So beautiful. My Jordan started a new, public school last year and as I drove away the first day I cried. Cried because I realized I didn’t know the teachers, the families, the kids, because she was in a new place I was scared for her, because I knew that it was out of my control. And, then I picked her up that first day and she smiled and said it was great. Each day got a bit easier, but those feelings will all flood back on Tuesday when 3rd grade starts!

  9. Cyn & Co. Says:

    Such a beautiful post! I must remember to always have Kleenex around when I read your posts.

    All those experiences you listed terrify me. I wish I could allow my daughters the impossible luxury of skipping all the bad and just having the good. And yet, it’s those ‘bad’ ones that make us able to truly cherish the good.

    She’s beautiful!!! And looking so ready to take on the world. How lucky she is to be so truly loved and cherished.

    I cursed the school under my breath too =P

  10. Amber Says:

    I’m so late to the party on this beautiful post, but I just wanted to thank you. And I also wanted to curse the school too, because it is hard, and it is unrelenting. It gives beautiful gifts, but not easily.

  11. Amelia Says:

    thank you.

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