As we walk around the blacktop, her little hand in mine, I can feel her body tense up.
She was fine all morning, but the reality is here.
We stop and she looks at me. Her new haircut frames her face in the light perfectly and it hits me how completely I know her, how intimate we are without words.
Her eyes tell me all the fears she carries right below the surface.
“Nobody will be my friend.”
“I’ll miss you.”
“I don’t like this.”
I smile at her and then squeeze her hand gently three times in mine.
“I love you.”
She squeezes back four.
“I love you too.”
We walk more. Both of us look forward, lost in our own thoughts and emotions.
Does she know how I feel, I wonder? Are my eyes telling her all the fears I carry close?
“I don’t want to be alone all day.”
“I’m going to miss you.”
“I don’t like this.”
Before I know it, her teacher is playing a harmonica and signaling it is time to lineup. I stand back with all the other parents.
She stares at me from the line and I ask if she wants a kiss. She makes fishy lips and we both laugh.
I walk over, give her a quick hug and kiss, and then stand back to watch her walk to her new classroom.
I follow her like a lost puppy and then I’m temporarily struck.
My little sidekick is going away.
She won’t be with me most of the day anymore.
I’m going to be alone.
I really, really don’t like this.
When we get to the door, I watch her teacher. He stands on his knees so he is at eye level, he takes her hand into his and he welcomes her with so much kindness and genuine love.
His words from an e-mail the night before pop into my head: “I will do my best to take good care of your hearts, and then you will come and pick them up at the end of day.”
I take a deep breath and I let it go slowly.
I don’t cry. I don’t even feel sad anymore.
Before I have time to really examine my feelings, this wonderful teacher invites all the parents to walk in and see the children at their desks.
My girl is in the front row, paying attention to him talking and she is perfectly at home there. The classroom is warm, inviting and feels so right.
This is good.
If you’re unfamiliar with Waldorf school, entering first grade is huge. This class will be together until they leave the school in eighth grade. I really couldn’t have asked for a better environment for my sweet, sensitive girl.
This is going to be wonderful.
I walk out and actually feel excited.
For us both.
She will learn to read.
I will learn to run.
She will learn to knit.
I will learn to write a book.
She will learn how to be out in the world and make friends.
I will learn how to have goals and reach for them again.
It’s going to be a good year for us both and I’m really happy.
The first day of Waldorf school includes an opening day ceremony where the eighth graders welcome the first graders with a rose. We are at a new campus this year that only goes up to fourth grade, my son’s class.
When I found out my boy would be handing his sister a rose, it was as if the universe was giving me a gigantic hug.
We all head to the tiny outdoor amphitheater. So many familiar faces, hugs and smiles. The ceremony begins with the teachers and staff singing a lovely song about harmony and unity.
Then my son’s gorgeous teacher, who I adore beyond words, strums the guitar and leads the entire school in singing:
“From you I receive
To you I give
Together we share
By this we live”
As we all sing, my sweet boy hands his sister a beautiful white rose and they walk together across the stage. I feel giddy, silly and almost break into hysterical laughter.
My life is shifting in so many ways right now and this one moment, one rose given to another, seems to symbolize all that is good and wonderful in my life.
The ceremony is over and I get in my car. I have friends to see, errands to run and freedom to feel.
I’m opening myself up to what might be. I’m saying yes to opportunities, allowing myself to be vulnerable and releasing all the anxieties that hold me back.
This is scary, but it is going to be amazing.