“What if I fall? Oh, but my darling, what if you fly? – E.Hanson
A few weeks ago, my oldest daughter went back to school. This year she started 3rd grade. There was less hype around the first day, the outfit was simpler, the lunchbox was the same as last year; but this year was a whole new start. While this may not seem like a big deal to some, in my eyes this will be one of the most formative years of her school career.
This is the year where there is no ‘just getting by.’ There are MCAS, new subjects and lots of accountability, and milestones that I’m not sure my girl will handle well. Don’t get me wrong, I have full faith in her ability to achieve; this is after all, the child who taught herself how to cook at 4 years old. While I know she is smart and I know that she can do it, I sometimes find myself wavering in my surety that it will get done. Without excessive tears and foot stomping, on both our parts, that is. When it comes to school and traditional forms of education, her drive is not her strongest suit. I now find myself trying to figure out how to encourage her and inspire a love of learning without breaking her spirit, a trait I adore ever so much in my girl.
She gets the extra push at school and does well when guided; but when left to her own devices, she does the bare minimum required, and soon that won’t be enough to not fall behind. School has just begun, but already I find myself worrying about how this year will pan out. Will a love of learning eventually kick in, will she always require that extra push, or will she fall somewhere in the middle? Our school is spectacular and her teacher is wonderful, but that doesn’t make me any less anxious.
As a mother it’s hard to watch your child struggle, but I know in the long run it will only benefit her to work hard for something. I remind myself that the feeling she will have when she gets over that hurdle will far outweigh the tantrum that preceded it. I’ve come to the conclusion that, for now, all I can do is be her biggest cheerleader. The more I push, the more she will push back; I’ve learned that the hard way with her (she is her mother’s daughter in that respect).
Tomorrow I will walk her to the bus stop, send my girl on her way, and hope that maybe that will be the day when the education bug gets her. It may not be tomorrow, it may not even be this school year, but her day will come. Until then, I will sit with her day after day, commiserate with her over a simple homework sheet or a list of vocabulary words and remind her that she is capable of changing the world. But she needs to pass 3rd grade first.