My baby is starting Kindergarten in less than two days. I would be lying if I said I am totally fine with it. I mean, I am FINE with it, but I am sending my youngest to school. Now, I have two school aged kids. While some days feel like FOREVER, the collective years have flown by.
In the past 5 years, I have watched my little baby turn into a free, artistic, opinionated, fun-loving, and at times rebellious little girl. Ana has a great sense of humor and often makes Scott and I laugh just by her silly thoughts. [Both Scott and I think we are comedic genius’, so she gets that from me (or him), or me. :)] Unfortunately, we were given the impression MANY times that her preschool teachers didn’t like or appreciate her sense of humor, and while no one wants to be the parents of that child in the classroom, I am so proud of her for sticking to her true self and a little horrified that she wouldn’t listen.
As the summer progressed, and she slowly got older, I watched my free-bird, try a little harder to please. She thinks outside the box and sees the world in her own way, but at times, I saw her take the easy road, to keep peace. I am her mom, I completely get it. She gets that from me. Darn! I wish I was stronger. Seeing this trait in Ana, I started worrying about her entering school. I used to do the same thing in school, I learned exactly what my teachers wanted and then I did it. I mean, good grades matter, successful people have good grades. Despite those good grades, I am still an unemployed 33-year-old who didn’t get an interview. Did they really do anything for me? Today, it feels like a big fat no.
Once again, Courtney, remember that she is not you. Ana is her own person, despite what you see. [For the record, I am not one of those people who refer to themselves in the third person.]
Anyway, last night as I was filling out the school paperwork, while sipping(chugging) my first glass of wine in MONTHS, when I got to the “What do you want me to know about your child line” I wrote, Ana is creative, smart, and unorganized. She will need help, but don’t crush her spirit.
As I read this aloud to my husband, he flashed me the look. The look of “You didn’t just write that. You didn’t just make us THOSE parents. Seriously. However, whatever you think is best because I know if I say anything right now you are going to throw those papers and pen at me and then I will have to complete the mountain of paperwork. Despite that fact that I am sure the wine has already gone to your head, I support you, because I am tired.”
“Sounds right,” Scott actually said shaking his head, drinking his beer.
Now, if I was one of those writers that only tells you about my good mothering skills, the story would end. Oh, how I wish the story would end right here, right now, but it doesn’t.
Along with back to school night, Ana was given her first homework assignment (Oh, I am glad I did not procrastinate on the paperwork for once, because this would have been a TERRIBLE discovery Sunday night at 9!) The poster is a LARGE “All about me” fake newspaper. It has taken us ALL day to make it look like it is done. As I was taking a shower, Ana decided to do it all by herself, and her brother was her micromanager.
“Ana, what are you doing?”
“My homework,” she said proudly, head down looking at her masterpiece.
“Um, why did you draw a picture of yourself? We are supposed to put a photograph there.”
“But it looks just like me,” her face, fell with disappointment, tears in her eyes, and my stomach flopped.
I looked at her drawing. Of course it looks like her! She drew big eyes, a huge smile, short hair, and her favorite Cinderella dress. Her self-portrait looked more like her than any photograph. I looked at the assignment again, there were no directions. There was no place instructing a photograph. This is her homework, her assignment, it’s time to let her do it herself. It will not be the prettiest poster on the wall, but it will be hers. We are those parents who make their kids do their own homework.
I smiled. “You are so right! You did a beautiful job on your portrait.” She smiled and continued to work in her perfect little Ana world.
Note to self: Let her go. And don’t crush her spirit.