How many of you out there have moved school a few times across the same country or even different ones? Perhaps even continents? Do you remember specifics? My 8 year old daughter is starting school today (Sep 7th) in a different state and in a big city. It doesn’t get much more bigger than the Big Apple. Her previous experiences have been in smaller preschools and an elementary school in suburban San Francisco. Where the sky is usually always blue, the weather mild, and the conveniences…well, convenient. She made a plethora of good friends, LOVED everything about school…and bam, we made her leave all of that for our grown-up dreams. There are times, like right now, when we feel so guilty about doing that. “Children are resilient, they’ll adapt in no time”, remarked friends and family. Some acquaintances who lived in a city during their college years as a phase but are primarily suburban couldn’t believe how we could do this to a child. “Well, it’s definitely a different lifestyle” or “Good luck, sounds like it’s going to be quite an adventure.” We’ve heard it all. But I digress.
I am worried about her first day. Excited, but nervous. Our sweet-natured yet shy little one has a big smile and remarks ” I cannot wait another minute to start!” She grins from cheek to cheek. Fortunately, we had visited the school and neighborhood a few times before we committed to our rental apartment, so it’s not a complete unknown. And yesterday was a “Meet and Greet” day, when she and I were able to check out her new classroom and teacher (both were nice). So that is definitely helping. At one point though, given the careful observer she is, she stated quietly “All the girls look so sassy. What if I don’t get along with anyone?”
I gave her a big hug and said everything would work out. I really hope it does. All we want is for her to be happy, healthy, and curious about knowledge. I soothe her by telling her stories of how hard it was for me to move from the UK to India when I was 6, and be in a school where I studied in English but didn’t speak the primary language. Also how the K teacher used to check our nails every morning and hit them with a ruler if they weren’t trimmed to her satisfaction ( I am not kidding, although I like to regale this story with a little embellishment of how I remember how much it hurt)- She loves hearing about my woes (with happy endings – I made loads of friends and turned out alright) and asks me if there are more horror stories – I like to think she feels better when she hears them, softening her shock of starting fresh.
I know she will be excited for today as I will, but it’s never easy to leave friends and known quantities behind and start something new, no matter how old we are. She’ll have a big smile during breakfast but I know that inwardly, she will be worried about where to sit for lunch. And so I will regale some more woeful stories of my own (with appropriate embellishments) and cheer her up again :).