Growing Into Her Own Winter

When she misses me, my 5 yr. old cries in school.
Still unsure of the whole 'school is part of life' idea, she continues to resist.
This is payback, coming from the other side of this war.
Didn't I suggest: "act confident" to the parents of my reluctant pre-school students?
Didn't I urge parents to be Oscar-worthy actors
(look cheerful! be upbeat!) as they pried free from their pre-schooler?
Didn't I reassure parents that their precious child will be alright?
How could I have known that this is easier said than done?

Well, I have a new found respect for all parents that have done the
'chin-up,walk away' move despite their weeping child.
One such mother comes to mind.
Her son would routinely go into a convulsive wailing mode.
With variations on his techniques for resisting school
--neck clinging, full body wrap-around-the-knees, door jamb clutching, window clawing--
he tugged at the heart strings.
Everyday for two weeks, his mother would gently but firmly say her goodbyes.
It wasn't like she was an old hand at this either, for Noah was (and still is) her only son.
It also didn't help that this air-saxophone playing, highly creative, and happy little boy was the center of her and her husband's universe.
No, that didn't help at all.
He finally did accept school.
Although he moved away a year later, his last day was memorable.
The picture of a dozen 4 yr. olds holding hands and singing his favorite song,
'(Everything I Do) I Do It for You' by Bryan Adams
( which incidentally became mine and steve's theme song...but that's another post),
is forever seared in my mind.

Today, as I 'Meryl Streep' my way through my daughter's tears and protests,
I reassure myself that she will be alright.
I tell myself that painful as this is, it is not going to harm her.
As a way to gain strength, I decide to look up that little boy, Noah.
I am curious to see what sort of a person he has become.
I suppose I want to see if there is any apparent scarring from the traumatic beginning of his education.
I find Noah.
He is now a thoughtful, self-possessed and motivated college student in Florida.
Obviously intelligent, I find an
essay he had written
that won him a national award.
His own mother,a poet, writes:
about my son growing into his winter.
I am somehow comforted by this knowledge.
I too, can only hope that one day, my daughter will grow into her own winter.