T minus 1 hour, 3 minutes.
My poor girl has spent days planning her wardrobe, checking and rechecking her school supplies, trying on all her shoes for comfort and style and vandalizing our patio with sidewalk chalk (art therapy?). She is really trying to be positive and happy excited about this change. She has made lists about the good things about being in a bigger school, with more kids, in a class with none of her friends, with teachers she doesn't know, eating lunch in a cafeteria of chaos filled with older, bigger kids; she really has tried. She is trying to be brave and I have, for the first time, decided to sit back and let her walk this road on her own ... mostly.
In the past, when she has been this anxious, I have talked with her, strategized with her, soothed her and tried to (sometimes frantically) make everything better. Not this time. At the end of last school year, when we realized that she wasn't placed in a class with her friends, we had a conversation about how, although she's disappointed, she also needs to look at this as an opportunity to meet new friends and put distance between her and some of the friend drama she didn't enjoy with some of the girls she been with. And that's it. That's been the extent of my involvement.
Whenever I see her anxiety over this winding up I just remind her of the conversation we had in June and leave her to sort things out. And she is.
This morning we went through her closet, tossing out what doesn't fit and putting away all of her new clothes. The whole time, she jabbered on about how things will be good, about this how this is a fresh start, an opportunity to meet new friends. When we were done and she had laid out her clothes for today I asked her how she was doing.
And she burst into tears.
We sat down on her bed and I held her until her crying stopped. I asked her again if she was okay. She said she was fine and just needed to get that out of her system and then she headed back outside to continue her graffiti project in the yard.
I stood at the kitchen window and watched her for a while, marvelling at her strength, courage and optimism. I'm in awe of how independent she is becoming and how she rarely lets her anxiety stop her from doing the things she really wants to do. She is a beautiful girl, inside and out, and I am a very blessed mama.
A girl should be two things; who and what she wants.