Today was a great preschool drop off day. Usually, three days a week I have to walk out of my five year old’s preschool classroom while she is sobbing and being held back by her teacher. Let me tell you, this is very hard to walk away from. At least for me. My husband, not so much. Not because he doesn’t care that she’s having a hard time, but because he is less overcome by the emotion of it all.
I, on the other hand, am a highly emotional person. I blame it partly on a pretty strong sense of empathy. I sometimes literally feel as though I am going through what another person is going through. And this sometimes happens with my children. I imagine what it is like to be them and sometimes I get overcome by it. This has happens as I drop my daughter off at preschool.
But today, I decided things needed to go differently. We are all going through this massive change. We’ve moved countries and homes and are settling back into ‘normal’ American life. This change has asked a lot of us and has not made an exception for our children. With much less understanding of it all, they are having to navigate leaving behind friends, a house they called home, a way of life. And we’ve plopped them down in this new life that none of them recognize.
And that causes some sobbing. And some being held back by someone.
But I decided that after several weeks of this, my sympathetic response needed a boost. Instead of talking through the feelings and being mushy gushy, I went for a pep talk. So, while driving down the road in my mini van, I told my daughter to listen up. I told her that I understand what is before her. I know what she is facing.
And she can do it.
In fact, she can rock it. I reminded her that she was born in one country and has lived in another for most all her life. I reminded her she has lived in numerous houses and made countless friends. She has flown around the world. She can count to ten and greet people in a second language.
And I told her that I would not ask this of her if I didn’t think she could do it. I told her I have all the confidence in the world in her. I know she can go to preschool and she can do it without sobbing. She has done many brave things in her life. She can do this one.
But, I will say that I don’t ever want to ignore the emotions in her tiny little heart. I want to ask her questions and help her process. However, at some point, I have to tell her she can do the thing. She can stand up, walk into her classroom, and join the other students. She may feel nervous and be shaking inside. It’s ok to feel it. And then you still do it.
That is bravery for my sweet little girl.
And that pep talk was my bravery. I had tears in my eyes as I told my girl all she had done and all I knew she could do. She didn’t see those tears. She only heard my strong words. Strength that I was hoping to pass from my heart to her’s. Cause that’s about all I have to give her…my words of hopeful strength. Amidst our change.
And she did it.
She rocked that preschool drop off like no other. And I am so proud of her. There will be much bigger steps to take down the road for this girl. But that in no way makes this current step less important or less scary for her. This is a stepping stone along the path for her. An event that reminds her she is strong and she can do what is before her. And I pray she’ll know I’m here to talk through the scary parts and I can feel her pain. But at the end of the day, she can do it.