I met another mothering milestone today. I actually watched my beloved kindergartener walk into school by herself from the car rider line into the school building. She not only entered by herself, she also managed to open the huge, heavy door that is the entrance for the little students. It may sound like a simple accomplishment to some, but I was amazed and in awe of her.
For the first few weeks of school, I did what many other parents were doing. We entered the school parking lot, got our precious pupils fitted with their backpacks, walked them into their respective rooms, and exchanged kisses at the classroom doors. I couldn't help notice with each new school day there were fewer parents walking into the building with their children. Many had begun to drop their kids off in the car rider line at the sidewalk. The kindergarten teachers had recommended that by September 18, all children (yes, moms, even the five-year-olds) walk into school on their own. At first I thought that seemed a bit arbitrary, but I did want to follow the rules and more importantly, help my daughter build independence. My daughter's main concern was not the walk from the car to her classroom. "That's easy." But she expressed some concern over the humongous metal door. "What if I can't get it open by myself?" We discussed her options if that happened, although we took time to recognize that since she eats so many vegetables and protein, she really has gotten quite strong--probably enough to conquer the dreaded door.
So I have been talking this up for about two weeks now. And this morning on the drive to school we agreed that today would be a good day to give it a try. So why was I so surprised this morning that with no hesitation, she did it?!
As I pulled the car away slowly, craning my neck trying to watch her walk down the hall as long as I could till the mammoth door closed behind her, tears swelled up big and powerful, putting any crying crocodile to shame. I drove passed the many helpful teacher assistants who line up along the sidewalk to assist students exiting their cars. Each one smiled at me intently and kindly, in such a way to say that everything was going to be okay. Then I laughed and my tears turned to a giant and proud smile at the thought that my daughter only needed one reassuring look this morning to be brave . . . mine.