To start with, last Tuesday morning Ada had her first day of school. She was so excited that she ran for her shoes when I told her it was time to go. That never happens. So we drove off with her chattering in her car seat and me confident that she was about to take pre-school by storm. I pulled into the parking lot, fiddling with the satellite radio tuner so conveniently placed on the steering wheel of our new car. I cut in exactly here:
May you never take one single breath for granted.
God forbid love ever leave you empty handed.
I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean.
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens.
Promise me that you'll give faith a fighting chance.
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.
I hope you dance....I hope you dance.
Never having really listened to this song, it hit me in a whole new, very big way. The universe isn't exactly subtle - sometimes even I get it. I pulled into the parking space through eyes welling up. I did NOT want to cry on her first day of school but I did pause long enough to look at her in the rearview mirror. She was smiling and humming to herself, so sweet and so oblivious. I took her in then, drinking up every visual detail from how the sunlight brought out her red highlights just like mine to how she looked up and smiled at me with all the trust and love in the world. Then I put on a bigger than necessary smile and went through the motions of getting the kids out of the car.
Once we were inside she looked around, wide-eyed and mouth all hanging open. It was my first clue that my girl was getting overwhelmed. So I reached for the most comforting-for-her thing I could think of: a book. We read three books while waiting for her classroom to open up. Then the big moment came and the door opened. Ada jumped off the couch and ran toward the door. Then she stopped, dead in her tracks. She did a 180 on her heel and hid behind my left leg.
"She's feeling shy now", she said softly.
I stood like a deer in the headlights wondering how in the heck to handle this one. And, by the way, there is no guidance. I mean, there are volumes written but when the time really comes? Oh, mama. You. Are. On Your. Own. These are the moments I just hope I don't screw up.
First of all, since when is my daughter shy?
Second, when did she start referring to herself in the third person?
My usually confident girl held my hand as I coaxed her into the room with the promise of more stories. Maybe I should have left altogether. Maybe I should have forced her into the classroom and left. Instead, I stayed. As of this writing, I am the only parent who can't even get out of the room. I'm not disappointed or angry. I mostly feel just sad for her. I think this is the proverbial straw breaking the camels back.
I think my girl finally cried "Uncle!"
So we're taking it slow with pre-school. And luckily her teacher is very patient, kind and reassuring. I hope she is feeling more confident soon. In fact, on day three she is already settling in, blending in and closer to the girl I know. Mostly, I want to see my daughter feeling back to herself. I don't like it that she feels afraid and insecure.
It's not like that's all that's been going on. We are settling in to our new community and I'm finding that there are potential friends everywhere. It's a small place here and I see the same people over and over again. It's cool and exactly what I had hoped for. My daughters community could never be too big and I like that we had our first local playdates. Ingram nursed in the same room as a boy born almost exactly 24 hours before him while his mom, an internet friend, and I talked. Uncle Pat and Aunt Stephanie came to visit (by the way, you guys, Ada tells me about 6 times a day, "Uncle Pat and Aunt Stephanie just woke up!"). Trey was here on Sunday. Melissa and Dan will be here this weekend...we've been here a short time and already had more visitors than in SF (at this point anyway).
This guy is a milk-processing machine. He's seriously cute and smiles all the time. On purpose. Dang. I am in love. Like, serious love.
So tired. Long day, Tim's on call this week. I've hired a baby sitter so hopefully more to come later in the week.