We came home from a magical vacation at the beach last month and we have entered an entire new universe, called ‘Life with a kindergartner’. That’s right, Bean went to Kindergarten and while it has only been 2 short weeks, we have done a lot of living in those short weeks.
Bean is shy. You would never know it once you know her, once you know her, she is a pistol but she is shy and she gets nervous walking into the unknown. I understand it fully and when I witness her shrinking back, my heart wants to leap out of my chest and smother her with comfort until she is brave.
When I was a child, I was painfully shy. PAINFULLY. I hid behind my Fathers’ legs, well into Jr. high. The most vivid example I have was church. We went to a small Mennonite church of maybe 50. I knew everyone, they were my family. Each Sunday, after Sunday school we would file up into the front pew and when it was our turn each class would stand up, turn around, face the congregation and say their memory verse. I always knew my verse. Yet every time my class stood and turned around, I would slide down in the pew and shut my eyes, there was nothing that could get me to stand and turn around. NOTHING.
This year, as we walked to the Kindergarten preview, Logan ran excitably up the sidewalk.
As we neared the school, her babbling got frantic and high pitched and I could feel her nervousness radiating off of her like heat from pavement in the dead of summer. When they finally called us all in, she turned and sprinted down the sidewalk, away from the school, calling out “I am NOT going to Kindergarten”. Uh Oh.
I caught her and hand in hand, with Grammy by her side, we walked in and met her teacher. The rest of the week, she struggled with going in and there was not a morning where both of us did not share a short tear but she went in and once she crossed the doorway, she was fine.
The next week came and I would like to say it was all behind us but now my sweet husband was dropping her off and I am afraid she gave that poor man HELL. Every Day, she gave him HELL. Each night she would be filled with remorse and yet every morning she would turn into a frantic tiger cub, screaming and clawing to be free.
At the end of the week, it ended, in a tantrum that woke the neighbors from their slumber. She ran away from home (with a bag I packed for her). She stomped and screamed across the front porch, giving her pent up anxiety the release it needed. She screamed as loudly as she could and finally she slumped onto the front porch step and whispered that she wanted to stay home.
Somewhere in the hug that followed she let it go. She let go of the frustration and the anger that she could find no outlet for at the age of 5. She is still nervous each morning but she knows its OK, she squeezes our hand extra hard, she holds onto our hugs an extra second or so and then she walks into Kindergarten with a braveness that I worked decades to find.