Today I had to do the one thing I’ve done way too much of in this last year.
I had to push my kids out into the unknown. Ask them to be brave. Ask them to just get through one day at a time. Ask them to trust me.
I sent them off to school – their second new school in twelve months.
Sunday evening, Little CEO became a different person. She’s pretty mercurial anyway, but this was a 360 in less than a minute. She was snappish and mean, seemingly out of nowhere.
But it wasn’t out of nowhere.
She was scared. Scared to start a new school, that people would make fun of her that she still sleeps with a teddy bear, that she’s not tall enough or smart enough.
I could see her self-esteem, always shaky at the fringes, now cracking at its core.
I tell her she is a superstar. I try to give her the reassurance she needs. But when a person truly doesn’t have confidence, there is no reassuring, there is no making them believe they are amazing. I know this because I lack confidence, too.
I desperately search my mind for something to say, something to do, some way to infuse her with bravery.
I say, “I’m going to let you pick out one of my necklaces to wear to school tomorrow. That will bring you good luck. And whenever you feel scared at school, touch the necklace and you’ll know I’m thinking of you and sending you love and hugs wherever you are.”
She picks out a necklace with two hearts that Boy Wonder gave me years ago. “One heart is for luck, and one heart is for me to be happy,” she says.
She puts it on right away and it seems to calm her. She gives me one of her bracelets to wear for good luck, too.
I chug a glass of wine and pray the morning goes smoothly.
Little CEO wakes up excited and smiling, still wearing my necklace.
We eat our breakfast, prepare lunches, take the requisite photographs.
There are no tears. There is fear, but she is okay.
As we walk through the school gate, Boy Wonder stops and looks at me.
“Now I’m scared, Mom.”
He expresses fear differently than Little CEO. Little CEO is a tornado of tears and anger and wordsrushingoutsofast. Boy Wonder is simple. He has no idea how powerful that is.
He doesn’t know that I’m scared, too. I’m scared that he will feel lonely or not make friends. I’m scared that he will hate us forever for moving.
We meet their teachers. We hang backpacks. We go to the playground until the bell rings. I have to leave him now, and her, too. I walk him over to where his class is lining up. Boys are all chattering with one another and he stands alone. I’ve never been able to stand that, my kids being alone in a sea of other happy kids.
I introduce him to two boys standing in front of him. I wish him a great day and I leave.
He has shown me over and over again how strong he is, and I pray today is no exception.
I walk Little CEO to her class. She has pulled it together beautifully. Still scared, still shy, but she has risen to the occasion like the superstar she is.
I leave the school. And I touch Little CEO’s bracelet for good luck.