I have had Emmie's first day of Kindergarten outfit picked out in my mind for weeks. Not sure if it's
my active imagination or way of coping with the inevitable, but I could vividly picture her in it. She would be waving to me with her heart melting smile as she skipped into her class, her golden hair trailing behind her. All in slow motion, with a sweet soundtrack playing in the background, of course.
That did not happen. At all. None of it. And that's ok. Lately, more than ever, I've been much more aware of not placing expectations on the kids. We've heard it said, expectations breed resentment.. I am someone who is very aware of my wants and needs, likes and dislikes, hopes and fears. Emmie has all of those too, in her adorable pint size body. As it is becoming more and more apparent that she is my mini, several of those are similar, if not identical, to mine. I can relate when scraping noises bother her, because they bother me too. I can understand when she is shy and doesn't want to go up and start talking to someone by herself, because I have a hard time with that too. When she doesn't want anyone talking to her for the first 10 minutes she is awake, Its like looking into a mirror. Albeit, a much smaller one that cannot have coffee yet to help take the edge off. I am careful to not be dismissive just because it may be inconvenient. The saying "If you
don't listen to the little things, they won't come to you with the big things" echos in my mind. This is not to say that we allow her to react however she wants. This just means that I have made a much more intentional effort to respect her feelings as well. She is shy, but when someone says "Hello" we are working on still being polite and making eye contact with some kind of response back. She prefers dresses, and while right now it is a challenge because most of her dresses are not "twirly" enough, we choose her clothes together. As school starts, we will pick out the whole weeks worth of clothes on Sunday night to minimize the clothing battles in the morning when we are all tired. She is allowed to be quiet and reflective, or angry and upset as long as she chooses to express herself respectfully.
So, this morning when she did not want anything at all to do with the outfit I wanted her to wear, I listened to her. She was not rude or dismissive, but instead held up the one she wanted explaining "I'd feel so pretty in this!". While it was not at all what I had envisioned and my selfish inner voice wanted to argue her into the other outfit, I understood. I know very well how feeling good in an outfit, or even as simple as loving the choice of underwear that day, can make all the difference in your confidence. And goodness knows we both needed all the confidence we could get for today. When I wanted to have her hair a certain way, she had a much different picture in mind. We compromised, because it is her head after all. And I do have to say, she did a pretty good job with her own style shining through.
We headed off to the school with our heads, and hopes, high. They stayed that way even after getting out of the car. (This little girl is so loved. Both her big brothers wanted to walk her to class with me. Especially since Daddy had to work.) She had a pep in her step and her gorgeous smile spread across her face while walking down the sidewalk. Entering the building, her pace slowed. We scooted over to the side of the hall and said a quick prayer for peace and courage. She perked up some, though still gripping my hand tightly. We were the second ones in classroom, right behind her new friend! (We met a sweet family at open house and exchanged numbers. A few days ago we met up at the park so that our girls would know someone in school when they started today!) While the parents sat down at the table filling out paperwork, Emmie and her new friend played and twirled on the carpet, showing off the skirts that they had both chosen. (They passed the twirl test.) After the paperwork was done and I stood up, pushing the chair in, Emmie was instantly glued to my side. We talked with the teacher some more, taking advantage that there would only be 5 children in class today with the staggered entry. When it was finally past the time we should have left, I knelt down for a hug. Pulling away from it, her sad face looked up at me and tears started to silently roll down her cheeks. I shifted into super Mama drive and I reassured her she would do great and have so much fun. To remember all the amazing things she did today because I could not wait to hear all about them. As she slid over to grab a tissue for her tears, I fought back my own. My sweet, strong girl was trying to hold it together. I hugged her again and didn't want to draw it out any longer, so we said our goodbyes and headed out the door. I peeked back one last time (never look back, ugh!) and she melted. I motioned for her to come give me one more hug in the doorway. We dried her eyes together, said another prayer, and after another big hug and affirmations her teacher took her hand and she headed into the class. When they say all the feels, they mean all the feels. I am so excited for this next chapter for her. She is going to do so well and make so many new friends. I can't wait to read bigger books with her and see her style come out in her projects. But, right now, I am anxiously looking at the clock, willing it to move faster to the time I can run out the door to go pick her up and hear all about her first day. I love the times when our kids are being challenged in a controlled environment and you can almost see their character growing. But, I hate them too. I wanted to scoop her up as she whispered into my ear "When will you pick me up? I want to be with you, Mama!" and run out the door with her in my arms. We don't really need school, do we? Letting go is hard. So tonight, when she gets home, I'm not going to. We are getting her choice of treat and I am snuggling up with my little girl and holding on tightly as she tells me about all of the new things in her life. And thanking God all the while that I have her to miss.