Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Big girl

Natalie is now a first grader.

It's been a little rough.

New school. New teacher. All new kids. New after-school program.

And... no naps.

Which all adds up to an over-tired, overwrought little girl who falls asleep moments after I kiss her goodnight at 7:30 p.m. Last night, big tears rolled down her face when at the dinner table we asked her to say "please."

On Monday Natalie ran from her line for class, screaming "Mama, don't leave me!" and wailed as I pried her fingers from my pant leg. She sobbed and waved to me through the chain-link fence as I strode away, waving and smiling: "Have a great day, honey!"

By the time I reached my car, I was crying, too.

I recalled the first time I left her at daycare - for two hours. When I returned her shirt was off under her tiny overalls. She had cried and sweated so hard for those two hours, she'd soaked her shirt. For months after I went back to work, I'd have to drive us home with one hand on her little leg, because she couldn't stand any more time apart - not even in the back seat.

But she got used to it. In fact, she grew to love everything about that place. Eventually, I'd have to coax her to the car at the end of the day. This summer at the lake in Michigan she waded deep into the water as I watched from the shore, so proud of my fearless girl.

It feels now like we are starting over. But like we did back then, we try and try again. And each day gets a little bit better.

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