Needless to say, after this failed attempt to raise excitement about school, I was pretty confident we would encounter more whining and clinging when it came time to drop her off at the doors on the first day. I prayed constantly, for six days, that she would be excited about school, that she would transition easily from car to teacher (the teachers come and get them out of the cars and walk them into school), that she would have a GREAT first day, and that her teacher would have all the energy, enthusiasm, and love that was needed to dote on all twelve little ones as they made such a big step towards independence. In addition to praying on my own, I talked and prayed with my big girl daily about school. We talked about what all they might do, about the friends that she would see at school, and about helping Ms. Donna. We prayed that God would help her to have lots of fun, that He would help her to make new friends, and that He would help Ms. Donna too.
D-day came. I woke early. I needed serious prayer time. God allowed baby girl to sleep in a little later than usual; so, after my quiet time, I had a few minutes one-on-one with my big preschooler. And she admitted to me that she was "a little scared of all those kids." I encouraged her as much as I could and then we prayed again. I spent too much time in prayer and left too little time for breakfast. A great breakfast plan dissolved into toast, grapes, and yogurt. I had to brush hair at the table, and true to form, we rushed out the door with just enough time to get to school...with toothbrushes in hand. Thank goodness for edible toothpaste that can be used on the go!
While waiting in the drop-off line, we chatted about how much fun she was going to have. Right before it was our turn to unload, I let her unbuckle and she gave me a big hug. And when Ms. Donna came to get her out of the car, big girl made me proud; in spite of being "a little scared," she got right out, held Ms. Donna's hand, and marched right on in that big school like the little over-comer that she is. One big answered prayer.
I woke up, had quiet time, and made another quick breakfast; this time it consisted of only toast and grapes. (My good intentions are short-lived.) We did at least have time for a Mommy and Me devotional and a quick prayer. Then it was time to get dressed. Whining began. She did not want to wear what I had picked out for her the night before. Because we were in a hurry, I made her wear it anyway. She did not want to wear the shoes I suggested. I gave in here and even assisted her in putting on the shoes of her choosing. But she kept whining until I finally asked, "Is something bothering you?" She shook her head yes. "What?" She pointed to her clothes. Oh my. We were on the downward spiral to a melt-down because she didn't want to wear what I picked out for her.
Moving out the door, she said she wanted me. So, I picked up all 40-plus pounds of her and carried my big four-year-old to the car. When I sat her down on the driveway so I could put my purse, my coffee, and her backpack in the Jeep, she said, "I want you." I said, "You always have me." She said, "I want you at school." I, of course, explained that mommies can't go to school, but I would be picking her up in just a little while. She then said she wanted to stay home with me. Of course. If mommy can't go to school, then just stay home with mommy. Perfect logic. I then began a lengthy explanation of all the reasons she should go to school...that it is good for her to get away from mommy for a little while, and make new friends, and that this is where God wanted her right now, and that sometimes He asks us to do things we don't want to do so we can share His love with people, and that He could use her to share His love with the kids and teachers at her school. I'm finding this all very humorous as I type it because...she was beginning to cry quite loudly, so I'm sure she only heard about half of what I said. And I'm sure what she did hear had very little effect on her since logic has very little influence on any of us when we are scared and upset. The fact that my words had very little effect was made evident by her refusal to sit in her car seat and her struggle against my attempts to buckle her. When she finally realized I was unbending, she quit fighting against me and just cried a real brokenhearted, heart-breaking cry.
I then walked around to buckle baby girl and get in my seat. Big girl cried on and reached her little hands up from the back seat to me in the front. I reached back and squeezed hers as I backed out of the driveway. I explained that she was also probably tired and that made going to school harder for her, and that I didn't like to go anywhere when I was tired either. That seemed to distract her, because she stopped crying long enough to say, "Really?" I asked if she would like to call daddy and talk to him. Yes. Well, daddy (as I found out later) had left his phone in the truck and didn't answer. How 'bout Nana? Yes. And she answered. Big girl slowly started to talk a little bit, but about the time she was starting to recover, we got to school. She got off the phone with Nana and started crying again. She unbuckled and wrapped her little arms around my neck so tightly that when Ms. Donna came to get her, she had to pull her off me and carry her and her backpack into the school. I looked at the director, who holds the door open each morning and mouthed, "Should I go?" And she waved me on.
Poor baby girl. I have neglected her in this story. Because I pretty much neglected her throughout this whole morning fiasco. She peeped from her seat, "Why didn't ---- want to go to school?" I don't know, baby girl, I don't know. I drove by daddy's work site to tell him about the morning and ask him to pray for our girl. And I started praying. Among other things, "Lord, please give her a good friend that she will be comfortable with, someone she will want to spend time with, someone that she will look forward to seeing each day at school." I had already been praying that God would give her friends from good Christian homes. So, I trusted He would marry those prayer requests into one.
Ms. Donna called me a few minutes later to tell me my big girl was fine and was comforting another child we knew. What a strange turn of events to go from the one needing comforting to the one giving comfort. Only God can do that for us.
So, noon came and brought a beautiful and smiling big girl back into my car. As Ms. Donna helped her in, she said, "I asked if she would come back and see me tomorrow, without any tears, and she said she would." Let's hope so, Ms. Donna.
Our usual recap of the day began, with me asking questions and big girl answering until I struck upon something in her day that was of particular interest to her and she ran on without any more prompting. But it wasn't until we were home and eating lunch that another answer to my prayers became known to me.
"I made a new friend today," she said.
"You did?! Who?"
"Macy. She asked me."
"She asked you to play?"
"What did you all play?"
She shrugged and looked at me quizzically. Then it was like she realized we were not talking about the same thing, as her face changed into a smile and she said, "She asked me to be her friend."
Ahhhh. I had to get up and get another cookie so she wouldn't see my tears, because she had no idea I had just prayed for God to send her a friend today. Macy may or may not be a life-long or even a year-long friend, but she was a friend today. And that's what my girl needed...today.
I am not one of those "together" moms that remembers to take pictures on the first day of school. Who am I kidding? I never remember to take pictures! But I got "second day of school" pictures. I could label them "first day of pre-K," and 15 years from now we'd never know the difference. AND I'd look like a "together" mom. But where's the fun in that?
My little princess is growing up.
Her baby sister was trying to crown her Princess, but she's just not quite tall enough. Big girl made the crown at preschool, but she couldn't tell me why. Every child came out of school that day with a crown on. I'm just glad we have a school that realizes these little ones are princesses and princes, children of the MOST HIGH GOD.