My daughter, Quinn, started kindergarten a few weeks ago. Like most kids making this challenging transition, we’ve had some rough days. And we’ve had some that were downright awful. Like today.
While my husband and I tried to get her dressed – forced her, really – she was kicking, screaming, hitting, crying. Finally, I just left the house – without shoes, the real sticking point – and carried her the six blocks to school. We were late, of course. Sylvia, our crossing guard, noticed. “Bad day?” she asked, as I led Quinn across the street, her arms folded tightly against her chest. When we arrived in her classroom the teacher noticed, too. “Hi Quinn!” she said, in her cheery way, and came over and put her arm around Quinn’s shoulders. As I walked home I fought tears. I know lots of people go through this, but I felt alone and at a loss. I worried that Quinn needs help I am not able to give her. I worried she will anxiously move through her day, like I did through so much of school. Walking back toward Sylvia, I determined to maintain my composure, to not let her see how hard this is.
And then, halfway home, I let the tears fall. There’s a feeling I get when things go sideways, and I didn’t push that away either. I wanted to talk to my mom, wanted hear her reassure me in a motherly way that it’s all going to be okay. Knowing I’d never be able to do that made me feel even more alone. Rather than wallowing in my misery, as I usually do, I decided to do the healthy thing instead: I called my sister. And my sister suggested something else I’d been trying to avoid: she suggested I ask for help, that I tell the teacher what’s going on and enlist her aid. So, reluctantly but hopefully, I did. Kicking and screaming, but I did.