I thought I was prepared. I thought I anticipated those things that could go wrong and dampen the excitement of the first day of school. Silly mom... All it took was a shoe that didn't fit right, then a brush that was missing. Soon my happy, excited little girl was in tears. It took all we had to try and get those tears to stop, and when we finally succeeded they started back up again when Zoe thought she might be late on her first day. Finally Zach took a weepy girl and they started the walk to school, leaving an emotional and sad mother behind. Sad because my girls first morning back to school was rougher than it should of been. Sad because, for the first time, I didn't get my "back to school" pictures. Sad because, with the drama, I didn't get to properly say my "goodbyes" and "have a great first day" like I wanted to. I felt like I failed my daughter.
I was eager to go and pick up my new second grader and see how her day ended up. She had a good day. She made a new friend. Her teacher was nice. "She was very good today," her teacher said. "She's a quiet little girl, isn't she?"
What?? Zoe? Quiet? Um, no.... I've never, ever, known her to be quiet. It occurred to me then, that we hadn't acknowledged enough how difficult the move and all that it entails has been on her. Zoe has always been our resilient child, the one we never worried about fitting in with others. She is sensitive, cries easily, so it never really occurred to me that she may have been scared or nervous. She would always tell us if she were, so this time I never thought about it. Perhaps the tears weren't because of not liking the shoes or fear of being late, but stemmed from something else. Something I hadn't anticipated from this child.
My little girl is growing up. She is coming out of the stage where I knew always what she was thinking, when she was scared, because she would tell me. Sigh. Parenting just got a little bit harder.
We did take Zoe to the bookstore for her "back to school book." She picked out another Junie B. Jones book. She was happy, for a while. The stress of the day came back again later and she had a melt down of emotions. This morning was a little better. Things still weren't as smooth as we would like, that will take time I guess. I will have to remind myself often to be more aware of the things she's not telling us. Both Zach and I need to be better at seeing the whole picture, try to see it how Zoe sees it.
Isn't that what we always need to be doing? Seeing all people through eyes without boundaries, to try and see what they aren't showing us, to better understand why they react the way they react? We never stop trying to figure things out, do we?
Her Daddy finally was able to coax a smile from her.