9/30/14

Third Grader . . .

From our recent trip "home" (Groton, NY) this bridge
was part of my younger brother's Eagle Scout project. 
When I was a kid there was very little I loved The and hated more than going back to school.

While I would not come to a formal diagnosis for decades after the last "first", I knew, even as a first and second grader that the day flooded my brain with anxieties and worries and yet brought me peace at the same time.

How? Well - first, the peace . . . I got to go to JC Penney and get allllll new chinos, oxfords, (penny) loafers, and socks. I would get new sweaters (it was September in Upstate - sweater weather came early) and maybe even a new blazer. The anxiety . . . wait, wait, wait, I don't WANT my schedule to be upended. I don't really feel like meeting a new group of people and having a new set of masters/mistresses. I am not sure if I'll remember my locker combination quickly enough. What if the new bread in the cafeteria doesn't smoosh just right? They started putting milk in baggies like so much Capri Sun? Get. Me. Outta. Here.

The BIGGEST years were school changes - seventh grade (middle school - junior and senior high were in the same building in our small, rural district) and Freshman year of college, sure - but FORTH grade nearly killed me. My parents, in their loathing and contempt for me and my quality of life selfishly (as I saw it then - in hind sight it was for the better of ALL of us that we moved) moved us three hours from the only home I had ever known a few weeks before.

I walked in to school that morning knowing NO ONE. I hated it. HATED it. I hated my parents. I hated my teacher (I still sorta stand by that position, even 29 years later). I hated the very notion of all the changes normally associated with first days of school multiplied by infinity as I had to learn a whole new everything.

Why am I rambling? My daughter started third grade this year. While a year younger (and a lifetime wiser) than I was the similarity is that she also started in a new school (one mile east of the old one but it might as well be three hours (for me)).

Here's the difference between her and me . . . EVERYTHING. Was she nervous? Nope. Was she angry? Not even. Did she seem freaked out or overwhelmed? Not in the least. Did she spend the entire day fighting the urge to vomit and/or pee everywhere? She assured me otherwise.

Her mother, she, and I all met up that AM for photos. The parents cried and hugged, the kid just ran inside to Latchkey and the dozens of friends she was about to make.

THIS is one of the many reasons I am glad that - while she is entirely my child and my daughter - she does not have my neurosis or my quirks or compulsions. She is a far more comfortable, confident, self assured person than I was at that age. I have to presume this will serve her well.