Thursday, August 19, 2010

Winding Down and Gearing Up

As summer is winding down, and I've begun buying school supplies for my soon-to-be kindergartner, I'm filled with a feeling of nostalgia and excitement for the future.  I remember this time of year well from my childhood.  I was always excited by the prospect of a fresh start that came with the beginning of each new school year.  I loved shopping with my mother for new notebooks, folders, loose leaf paper, and pens...  I've always hated pencils!  I especially loved the promised offered by a blank notebook.  There was so much to fill it with, and I always imagined that I would fill it with neat, clean notes.  My plans never worked out that way.  My notes were always a hurried scribble to catch what was important, and sometimes the unimportant stuff, too.  But I did well in school, and I loved learning, so in the end it didn't really matter that my notebooks were messy.  And there was always next year to try again.

All of my excitement for starting over and learning new things was tempered by overwhelming shyness and anxiety.  As happy as I was to do the preparatory school shopping, I was a nervous wreck the day before school started.  There was not a single year in which I got a good night's sleep before the first day of school.  I would lie in bed worrying that what I had chosen as my first outfit of the year would not be cool enough, or that the popular kids would tease me on the bus.  I also worried about not being able to live up to the standards I had set for myself, and of disappointing myself and my family if I didn't do well.  I was afraid of getting a teacher who was too hard because "failing" would make me look bad.

Yaya is already expressing her fear of not fitting in.  I have more hope for her than I had for myself in that area.  She was the popular girl in pre-K, and I suspect she'll be popular with the kids she meets in kindergarten.  My hope for her is that she is still kind in her popularity.  I've been instilling the notion that we need to be nice to kids who are not so popular and try to make them feel welcome by including them.  Most of the time she seems open to that idea.  She had to write a name poem to present on the first day of school. I really like the results, and she wrote it out herself.  She's nervous about presenting it.  So, in support of her, to show some motherly comradery I've written my own name poem.

It means working, struggling, loving.
It is the number 4.
It is brown like chocolate.
It is snuggling with the ones I love.
It is uncertain like a squirrel.
It is full of flavor like a spice shop.
My name is Kelly.
It means I am trying to do my best.