Dear Kindergarten Teacher: I Tried
My anxiety about Kindergarten is often mistaken for helicopter-momness. For not being able to let go. For sadness that my baby is old enough to navigate halls and lunch trays and playgrounds and academics. For wanting to put her in a bubble and protect her from the world.
That bubble burst moment she was born. She looked at us with those sparkling green eyes and gave us a snarky smirk as if to say Hello world! I'm here.
And that's how she enters every room - it's as if she needs to make sure that everyone knows that she is present. There is beauty in this chaos. This beautiful disaster that we call Lulu. And I want so desperately for her to remain loud and wild and carefree because I know the fierceness that lies within her fuels a fearlessness that will one day give her confidence to take on anything that the world throws her way. Like Middle School.
But she has to be at least a little compliant. Right?
I'm not afraid of Kindergarten (I've survived it once before). I'm confident that she is ready for the challenges that come with bus riding and sight-word learning and friend making and glue stick not eating.
But her intense zest for life gives me anxiety. It's what keeps me up at night. Is she going to be able to navigate her own spunkiness within the boundaries of classroom rules, color behavior charts, teacher instructions? She hasn't complied with any of my directions all summer so I'm not confident that she has the ability to comply without comment to the teacher's. For three days after the introduction call from the Kindergarten teacher, she called her by her first name. Because, that's her name, Mom and it doesn't make any sense that we call her by her last name when we were in Pre-K and could call the teacher by her first name.
Just last week she asked me how old she has to be before she can say bad words.
Sometimes I feel as if I'm already waving the white flag. And she's five.
But her unbridled excitement for what lies ahead in this unknown world of school gives me hope that she just might make it after all. I worry, not that she's ready, but that she's kind. That she's confident. That she's a good friend. That she's compliant.
Mostly I worry that she learns to filter her mouth because it's going to get her in trouble.
So, I'll just continue to pack her lunch. And help her with sight words. I'll continue to give her chores and directions. I'll make her look the person she's talking to in the eye. And encourage her to use her words intently - the good ones, not the bad ones. And I will pray. Because there is a power in prayer. And she needs them. She as in the teacher and Lulu.