Monday, July 20, 2009

Where I Overuse Parenthesis -or- VBS Take 2

You know how I go ON and ON about not being ready for my little girls to be big girls? Well prepare yourselves, because I'm about to do it again. ('Prepare yourselves' doesn't mean click away, rather, settle in comfortably *wink*.)

Today, Mia began her second VBS encounter. The first was small and intimate, with her Nana and daddy there helping out the whole time. Somehow, it didn't seem like a giant leap into big kid stuff. Then again, I didn't ever see her in that VBS setting - aside from the end of week program - so even that small group may have been enough to make me reflect on how fast they grow up.

This VBS is being held at the same church her preschool is located in, and it. Is. Huge. We waited in line for nearly 15 minutes to sign in (We were even a little late, hoping to avoid the rush. *Yeah, that's it Sarah - You meant to do that.* I can't imagine if we'd been a few minutes earlier - the number of kids run through the line before us must have been astounding.) And that was for the kids who were already pre-registered. I thought it was not quite normal that the non pre-registered line was short and sweet while us schmucks who signed up ahead of time had to wait wait wait. And while we waited, we watched. Mia made tongue-y faces at our line neighbors and danced for their viewing pleasure; Lauren tried not to get dizzy while turning her head every which way, staring at the crowd.

As we watched a mother and her two sons walk past us, Mia waved to them with a shy smile on her face. "Hey," she said to me, "there were some new friends! Those are my new friends that I just saw!" I was struck by her innocence - those boys had to have been in 3rd or 4th grade at least, but she wanted to be friends with them, just because they'd crossed her path. Not a second thought was given to whether or not they'd acknowledge her (they didn't - if you were a 9 year old boy, would you have stopped to say hi to a random 3 year old girl? I don't think badly of them for that, they were probably just excited to see their real friends inside.) or if they were nice boys; she simply expects that everyone she meets will be her friend. (Remember when she hugged our manly helper at Lowe's? I rest my case.)

I was suddenly overcome by fear.

Yes, I'm overly emotional, sue me. (Only if you wanna make me cry though.)

I imagined my tiny, dancing girl among all the much bigger kids, and it frightened me. The noise, the movement, it was all very distracting, and I could just imagine Mia stopping to stare (smile, twirl, stick out her tongue in a gesture of friendship) at a stranger and becoming separated from the rest of her class. When she goes to preschool there, she's about the same size as all the other kids. She looks normal. But in that crowd of mostly elementary aged kids, she looked small and helpless. I almost turned around and took us to the library instead. The only thing that stopped me from ditching was the fact that my cousin Joy is her class leader, and I knew she'd keep a good eye on my sweet girl. If for no other reason than that she knows I'm prone to bolt at the slightest provocation of doubt.

We made it past the sign-in tables and weaved through the noisy throng of children to find Mia's classroom. She was excited to see a few of her cousins in the room, along with Aunt Joy, and settled right in with the coloring pages the kids were working on. She barely even looked up as I walked away.

Now, I know this is a blessing. I know it's a good thing that she can leave me (*sob*) without worrying about when or if I'll be back. But, did she realize how many kids there were around her that she might get lost within if she started dazing off between activities and locations? Did she notice that she was among the youngest, shortest, sweetest of children in that massive building? Did she see that I wanted to stay close by in case she needed me?

Of course not.

She's far too innocent and excited to worry over those things. I don't even want her to worry over those things. I want her to be able to settle into new activities and groups without fear or anxiety, and the only way for that to happen is to not project my fear and anxiety onto her.

Even though VBS will be going on for an ENTIRE week - I will not project fear. Even if she's never been away from me for that many consecutive hours of her life - I will not project anxiety. Even if I won't know what to do with myself and Lauren without Mia there to entertain us - I will not project longing.

I will remain joyful and excited for her to experience this new and fun burst of independence.

And I will not sign her up for any extra-curricular activities, camps, or obligations until she's high school aged, at LEAST.

After all, if this is how I react when faced with 4 hours a day for 5 days in a row without getting to see/smell/touch/hug my firstborn daughter? I just may never let her out of my sight again.

1 comment:

  1. Ah, Sarah, this is so sweet. It made me gulp down my mommy-tearyness at the whole, grand concept of our kids getting older and older and not needing/wanting us more and more. I will definitely join your "No Extras 'Til High School" Club :)


Hmm...And how did that make you FEEL?