1st day of school

All posts tagged 1st day of school

New adventures

Published September 16, 2015 by hrhdana

She woke up nervous.

“How will I know my new friends’ names? How will I know the rules? Will my teacher be nice? What if I don’t like their lunch?”

As soon as her eyes opened she was spitting questions at me. It was the first day of Pre-K. I kissed her furrowed brow and reassured her that everyone else would be new too. I told her that the teachers would play games so everyone could learn each other’s names. I told her that it would all be okay. It was an adventure.

She was unconvinced.

I helped her get her uniform on. She was quieter than usual.

“Will you stay with me today Mommy?”

“Mommies can’t stay at school baby girl. But I will drop you off today and I will pick you up later. You are a champion babygirl. You will be fine.”
Pre-K started on a Wednesday. I took the day off from work and we got there super early. My little likes to explore quietly in new situations. I got there early enough that she was the first kid in her classroom. The teacher was still putting things in to their places and making last minute adjustments to her bulletin boards.

“Please ignore us. I just wanted to give her a chance to explore before everyone came.”

The teacher smiled. She understood. She didn’t crowd my lil bit. She let her do her thing. We walked around looking at all of the different centers. We noticed the numbers in each center. “Four kids can play here Mommy. How will she pick which four?”

The teacher explained how free choice time would work. Nia seemed satisfied.

Kids started arriving with their parents. Nia and I were reading a book in the quiet area. She left me to explore her new classmates. She introduced herself to some kids and just jumped in playing with some others. The teacher called all of the kids to the rug. I stepped outside to answer her Dad’s call wondering how it was going. I stepped back in and my throat got tight. Looking at my little miracle sitting on the rug with the other kids in her uniform was emotional for me. She was listening so intently to the story. She was engaged. It was going to be okay. It was all going to be fine.

The teacher announced that it was time for adults to leave. I watched Nia’s face crack. It was easy to be brave knowing I was a few steps away but now I was leaving. She started sobbing. I went to her. I reminded her that, “Mommies always come back.” I whispered affirmations in her ear. “You are a champion. You are excellence. You can do anything. You are not afraid. Mommies ALWAYS come back.” She sobbed. “I just want you to stay. Can you please stay? Can you just hold me? Can you please stay Mommy? Please? Please? Please?” I knew that the longer I stayed the more upset she would become.

I made eye contact with the teacher who walked over to take her from me. I peeled her arms and legs off of me and with one last, “Mommies always come back. I’ll be back Nia,” I walked out of the classroom, out of the school and cried. Yes.  I cried. Hard. I know I have to encourage her to fly. I know that there will be times when I need to give her a little push to use those wings. I do it. It’s part of the job. But I am certain that it will NEVER be easy to walk away when she is literally begging me to stay. When I know that going back will comfort her even as it stifles her growth. Because that last part is the key. She has to grow. And I have to step away sometimes for that to happen.

At a new park she stays by my side, cautious. She will not interact with the kids she doesn’t know. She stays close to what is familiar. But if I leave, even if I only absent myself outside of the gate to a bench she will tentatively engage the other kids. She will explore the new slides and climbing structures. She will move forward. My presence keeps her frozen in place, close to the familiar. My distance helps her hurl herself into new situations. And she thrives in those new situations.

The first day of Pre-K was a half day. My Mom came with me to pick her up. As we walked in to the classroom she came running to us. She hugged us tight and introduced my Mom to her teacher. As we left the school she was quiet. She firmly held my Mom’s hand on one side and mine on the other. “How was school Lil Bit?” “It was good. I made friends. I like my teacher. But Mommy.”  “Yes love.” “I don’t need to go back there. Okay? I’ll go to work with  you tomorrow.”

I reminded her that school was HER job. She needed to come back the next day and keep learning everything that she could. She was quiet.

The next morning Nia was taking the school bus to school. I talked to her bus driver for 20 minutes the night before. I had questions. Was there a monitor on the bus? Did I need to send her car seat? How many kids are on the bus? Have you ever lost a kid? Do you know that I will hunt you down and skin you alive if you let someone bully my baby?

Okay so I didn’t say that last one but I promise you I was thinking it. Daddy talked up the bus with Nia getting her excited about her new adventure. The morning came and it was rainy. In my spirit that felt appropriate. What kind of Mom puts her 3 year old on the bus? What am I doing? Why don’t I change my hours at work so I can take her? What if something happens and I’m not there? I was the quiet one on Thursday morning. I was afraid to speak around the lump in my throat.

The bus came and she was so excited. We have been watching school buses forever and now she was FINALLY on one. She chattered excitedly as I boarded the bus behind her and buckled her in. She kissed me and made jokes with the bus driver as I snapped a quick picture. She waved and blew kisses as the bus pulled away. I stood, frozen, watching it leave, praying silently. Please protect her always Lord. Please keep her safe Father God. Please. Please. Please.

We survived. Both of us. We grew. Both of us.

I might have called the bus driver on his cell phone to make sure she got there safe. Don’t judge me.

This Mommy shit be hard ya’ll.

Nia

Learning while Mommying

Published September 12, 2014 by hrhdana

My daughter started school this week. For the first time in her life I sent her in to the company of strangers without me. It was terrifying but necessary. I have been blessed to have my Mom watch her since I returned to work after her birth and for 2 years and 11 months I didn’t worry one bit during the hours that I had to be away from her to make a living. I knew she was fine. I trust my Mom implicitly. I never worried. I was jealous. lol I wished I could be the one taking her to the park and teaching her songs and soaking up her kisses but I was never worried.  Sending my baby to someone I didn’t know was terrifying. Did I mention that already?

I had every intention of leaving her with my Mom until she started kindergarten. Maybe we would do a half day program or something when she was four but definitely not before then. But Nia (that’s my daughter) wanted to go to school. For 4 months she begged me to go to school. “I want to make friends mama. I’m big now mama. I want to learn things Mommy.” She was relentless. She would bat her beautiful, big brown eyes at me and plead with me. “Pwease can I go to school Mama? Pwease. Pwease. Pwease?”  “When you get bigger,” I would answer patiently. (I hope.) “But I AM bigga,” she would reply stretching her frame to illustrate her point. “I’m bigga NOW Mama.” I prayed about it. I watched her on the playground. She wanted to play but she didn’t know how to get in the game. I would help her. I would prompt her. “Go introduce yourself. Tell them your name and ask what their name is. ASK if you can play.” Kids were cool for the most part. She would get in the game and the joy, the absolute joy on her face was heart stopping.  It was time.

So we picked a school. It is the right combination of loving daycare and school prep. It’s located in a wonderful woman’s home. Nia’s god brother is in her class and her god mother has known the owner of the school for over 20 years.  We visited. Nia was excited. I was still terrified. I tried to hide it from Nia. I prayed continually. I asked 500 questions. I over-prepared. We got books from the library about school. We talked it up. We sang songs. We practiced independence. A week before she was scheduled to start Nia announced that she had, “changed my mind. I doan want to go to school.” Say what little girl? Huh? You are GOING to school. LOL I chalked it up to nerves. We talked about being nervous and how it’s okay to be scared when we do something new but it shouldn’t stop us from doing it. We painted pictures of the new adventures and friends that school would bring and how much she would love it. Nia was not convinced. “No school. I wanna stay with Mema.”

The first day we drove with Nia’s God parents and God brother so they could walk in together. She was excited to spend the day with him. He’s one of her favorite little people in the world. We walked in and she immediately changed her tune. “No Mama! Don’t leave me here! Pwease mama nooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!” she wailed. I held back tears. I calmed her down a little, said goodbye and left to the sounds of her crying and being held by her teacher. I had taken the day off so I went home and counted the hours until I could go and get her. When we walked in to the classroom she was sitting on the rug listening to a story. She looked over at me and my Mom (yes we BOTH went to get her-lol) but she didn’t react. She didn’t run to us. She didn’t smile. She just sat there and looked at us.  Her teacher brought her over to us and she submitted to our hugs and kisses. LOL My baby looked shell shocked.

The next day was worse. The teacher had to peel her off of me at drop off kicking, screaming, crying and begging me not to go. I cried my entire way to work. Wednesday and Thursday was more of the same. But in the afternoons when my Mom went to get her she never wanted to leave. She wanted to, “stay a little longer,” or “finish making this” So, she was engaged and liking it when she there. This went a LONG way to soothe my Mommy soul. Last night she and I had a conversation at bedtime. I told her that she is going to school. That is not going to change. She is going to go to school and I am going to go to work. It’s just the way that it is. BUT, I told her. You DO have a choice. You can choose to be sad and miserable every morning and cry or you can choose to make the best of it and have fun. When you feel sad just think about something fun that you get to do at school. She didn’t reply. I didn’t know if it made any sense. I didn’t know if it was over her little head. My kid is smart but she IS a toddler. I forget that often, because she is so smart. So I dropped it.

This morning as we approached the school she started getting herself worked up. I reminded her of her choice. I didn’t empathize as I had been all week. I was matter of fact about it. I rested her choice on her shoulders and let her know I was unaffected whichever way she chose. I watched my baby choose joy. I watched her physically shake off the sad and resolve NOT to cry. I watched her hug and kiss me and walk in to her classroom with dry eyes. I wanted to pump my fist. I am so proud of her. I hope today was her best day yet.

I also realized that as much as I might believe I was hiding my anxiety she probably felt it. She knew Mommy was scared and it fed her fears. I learn from being her Mommy every single day. Sometimes I have to travel down the wrong road for a while before I find my way but she is always watching me. She is always learning from me. I hope I’m teaching her that it’s okay to make a U-turn. It’s okay to be afraid and shoulder on. It’s okay to choose joy, even when you are nervous. And I hope I’m teaching her that she is loved no matter what she chooses.

This Mommy thing…the training is on the job huh? lol

Thanks for reading.

First day of school

Published September 10, 2013 by hrhdana

I sit

in your midst

silent

observant.

I am not bothered by the deluge of curses you spew.

I’m watching, listening, open to you.

First day of school.

No talk of

teachers,

classes,

passing,

or studying,

instead…

“I fucked that bitch in homie’s bathroom.

Everyone was there. I ain’t care.

She a hoe now.

Everyone knows.”

I turn away

ashamed

I try to guess your age.

15 maybe…

A group of girls this time…

I listen,

“I know I’ma fuck that bitch up!

Ain’t nothing change but the school year.

Suspend me!

I don’t fucking care!!”

First day of school

You are both

already failing.

I sit

in your midst

silent,

observant

and I wish.

I wish that my love was strong enough to

reach you,

break though,

gift you several clues.

I love you…

little boy lost

little girl angry.

I love you

in all of your possibility.

Your decisions to wallow in shit

wound me.

I know that children learn what they live

that knowledge makes me hurt even more for you.

Little boy…

testosterone  infused

confused

misguided by what you hear in music and on the news.

You equate manhood with

bedroom exploits

and violence.

I wish I could introduce you to real men.

I wish you could sit

in their midst

feast on knowledge

and their gentleness.

It would illustrate for you

how one dimensional

how shallow

how flat and full of lack

your definition of manhood is.

Little girl …

Angry,

lashing out

hurt,

misguided by multiple outlets undervaluing your worth.

You matter.

I wish I could teach you how much power you hold.

I wish I could show you so that you would know

how much more strength it takes

to walk away

the value in knowing you will live another day.

You matter.

I wish someone taught you that.

I wish you could hear me

believe me

feel me

because it’s true.

You

matter

and

I love you.