An entry for the kindergarten memory book project.
Not the stuff of the stereotypical book. But i want to keep it real; sincere. This isn't fiction after all.
[For a woman who's been shooting everyday images for a few months, wouldn't you know I forgot the camera at home for this "big" kindergarten event. Thanks to my friend Megan for snapping a few for me today.]
The Thanksgiving feast
Your class had been preparing all month: discussing native Americans, making beaded patterned necklaces and feathered headdresses, choosing your own squaw princess names, and crafting tom-tom drums.
For you (for us) this only meant that your anxiety over the event had been building for equally as long. We tried at home to offer assurance that Mom will be there, right by your side, and we recounted the tale of Helen's same experience just a few years ago. Still, you didn't want to think about it at bedtime last night and were distracted this morning enough to not mention anything.
During the procession into the school hall, you grimaced and tucked a couple strands of hair into your mouth (a new comfort mechanism you've started in the last two months) barely looking up even as you saw me. While other children laughed and caroused, you sat quietly by my side ... trying to hug an uncooperative Marty or shift your little body as close to me as possible, because you were uncomfortable with the little pilgrim girl to your right.
You nibbled some popcorn, an apple wedge, a cornbread square and a small serving of corn. It just didn't seem like enough (to me) to hold you through the afternoon. It was all you wanted to manage with the excitement going on around us.
Then something good happened: your friend Reily came up and tapped your shoulder with the biggest smile and warmest greeting. This gave you just the boost you needed to feel okay. Good timing, as just after Reily bounded away, they called for Indians to gather at the front. This was it: the moment you had been dreading for weeks. However, in light of this friendly encounter you felt energized; more confident even. You simply stood and with a quick "bye" went off to join the rest. I had to check myself; was it really that easy?
Situated comfortably between Jo Jo and Riely, friends since preschool, you seemed fine; happily anonymous among the crowd. Still, when the singing and gesturing to songs, like "Lullaby little papoose" or the energetic "pow wow" song began, you remained motionless; stoic. I'm really glad that you have a buddy to prod you on, as Riely did, even though you participated only to the level that you chose. No peer pressure was going to sway you on that one.
As your Mommy, it's hard for me to stand by and watch when you are so uneasy and want to be rescued. Sharing a smile and a wave from across the way was the best I could do in that moment. But you did good, Joanie! You did great. You did as much as you could do, in your own way. And I'm so proud of you. With each small accomplishment like this I'd like to think that you grow. At least that's what we parents tell ourselves to get through it, as a way for us to deal with our own uncertainty perhaps.