Today was the first day of school. Traditionally it's a day of mixed emotion - the end of summer, the start of homework, seeing friends, an earlier bedtime. It's all part of the deal of learning.
For one of my kids, it's a high anxiety time. I don't want to be in fifth grade, she told me. I don't want to be a big kid. I want to stay small. Oh, I understand that feeling quite well. I often feel that way. I don't want responsibility, demands on my time, expectations of me. I want to feel free. I didn't have the heart to tell her that her life as she knows it will disappear. She knows it's happening.
Many of her anxieties at 10 are the same I feel at 44. It amazes me how much I understand this kid - the one who isn't quite like me. But she's becoming more like me daily, which is a scary thing.
M: I want to look good on the first day which means I must wear this outfit.
Me: I want my kids to look good on the first day of school which means their outfits must be CLEAN.
M: I want my hair to be straightened when I go to school.
Me: I want my kids to look like their brushed their hair.
M: Mom, I must wear those shoes today!
Me: Your shoes must match each other.
M: I’m afraid of who will sit next to me in school.
Me: I really hope this teacher lets her BFF sit next to her this year.
M: I hope my friends play with me at recess.
Me: God, I hope the nice kids play with her at recess.
It never ends and it never really changes. I had the same anxieties when I was little. I have them now. I knew exactly what was happening to her yesterday when, out with her grandmother and some friends, she announced “mommy, I don’t feel so well. There are butterflies in my tummy.” Butterfly villages live in my tummy. I get it.
“Do as I say, not as I do” comes to mind here. Do not be like me. Relax. Learn to enjoy the good things that happened to you today. Breathe. Don’t be like me.
Enjoy your today. That is my new mantra. ENJOY YOUR TODAY. I will enjoy my today….or try to.