And then something happened. Something shifted. I decided to change my tune. I also contemplated how honest I would get in this post today, because I do already get pretty honest, but this is a new level of honest. Don’t worry – it’s not 100% of my brain, because then you’d think I’m a pervert with slight anger issues at bad drivers and other forms of stupidity, who gets high on life an awful lot and holds grudges against people who copy or pressure or push me. Oh wait, I said too much already.
I want to talk about kindergarten, again, because my experience is different from Scarlet’s experience. And my experience is different from other parents of kindergarteners, of course, including my own husband. I know that people go through rough times with the kindergarten transition. I’m not alone there. People have been giving me a lot of wisdom about how okay it is to have separation anxiety about my children growing up and wondering what to do with my own career/life. However, that doesn’t even scratch the surface of what lies beneath. This is not your run-of-the-mill parent of kindergartener anxiety.
When I was just about four, my father died suddenly one day. I thought that Scarlet turning four would be more dramatic than it was. In truth, I felt strong when she turned four last summer. I was strong. I didn’t realize some hard times were coming.
When I turned five is when I could make more sense out of what happened to me over a year previously. Only, how can anyone much less a child, make sense of such a personal tragedy? Before kindergarten, I suddenly had a new home in a new town with two new brothers, a new baby sister and a new dad. New dad. That meant that the old one was gone. Really gone.
And this meant he was really not coming back. And my mom had to put me on a bus, because we lived on top of a mountain, and away I went to kindergarten on a new bus in a new school in a new town, with a penguin backpack on my narrow shoulders – not even remotely as heavy as the emotional baggage I started carrying then, and maybe started carrying for life. I don’t remember a lot about kindergarten. I don’t remember a lot about being sad. Surely, I was. Surely, I am.
Scarlet starting kindergarten has never been about Scarlet being nervous. And I assure you I have taken care not to let my anxiety drip onto her and infect or burn her with its relentless wax buildup. She is near flawlessly amazing, and she has a mother who tries, a brother who looks up to her, a wonderful father, a great extended family, and most importantly – she did not have a parent die suddenly. In front of her. Quite frankly, I was robbed. And she will not suffer for my loss.
I intend to fully get through this, and emerge on the other side as I often do – fully in the light and fully engaged. I intend to be there for my daughter. Thank you, always, all of you – for being the voices in my head who have become very real and beneficial. Once, that kind of support didn’t even seem possible to me, but here I am – happy to be in this community.
I shudder to think about where I would be without writing, photography & well-adjusted kids. Glad I don’t have to find out.