Sending her to full day school like this seems like tossing a baby seal to the sharks. I know that is dramatic, but I can't shake it. Petrified.
Please see here this photo and tell me if you would allow this little human out into the cold, hard world on her own. NO. YOU WOULD NOT. UNLESS YOU ARE A BARBARIAN.
But herein lies one of my grand lessons of parenthood. If I can get ahold of this concept, we'll all be better off: expect a kid to fail, and they will fail. Expect that they can do great things, and they will.
It is just too hard to imagine
You see what is happening here. I am projecting. In fact, I can tell you right now that I just now couldn't write for like thirty seconds because I was biting my nails thinking about my own experience of starting school.
But Phinny is not me. I didn't have a particularly stellar time in grade school. I started and stopped at different schools almost every year, making me the perpetual New Kid. I was at times the Cootie Kid. I remember a lot of awkward, alone and different.
But Phinny is not me. She is bright, beautiful and doesn't feel the need to re-invent herself every semester to try and carve a comfortable niche time and time again. She has security. (And the latest in blingy girls gym shoes.)
You know, everyone loved hating on Amy Chua for her book "The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother" a couple of years ago, but I found one concept in her parenting philosophy (a distinctly Chinese part, according to her) to resonate soundly. It's that we as parents tend to subconsciously believe that a child is likely to fail if we don't protect, bolster and prod them ever closer to the top. Chinese parenting takes the opposite view: that children are self-equipped to do well, and our energy would be better spent helping to guide them along what was given them in the first place- the right and the ability to achieve whatever they aim to achieve.
Okay, now there's a lot of parts of that book that taste real bad- the fact that Chua's kids never seemed to have one minute of fun EVER, and that what Chua's kids aimed to achieve were really the parents' dreams, BUT I want to just surgically adopt this one particular concept.
Phinny can handle it. She has surprised me at every turn. I was, like, one heinous slip-on-the-deck away from leaping into the pool during her swim lesson last week when she sputtered under for a nano-second, but then there she was, popping up out of the water, shaking it off and grinning like a fool- so proud of herself for not giving in to fear.
I wooted, clapped and yelled, "Go, Birdie!" The ever jaded lifeguard looked at me like I really have a long way to go. In letting go.
She's right. (Even though I think she's a stone cold bitch, bless her heart.)
Phinny's got moxie. Swagger. And wings and a Santa hat on top of a bear hat, as well as a chinese costume vest over a princess dress. Also ladybug bag full of whoop-ass.
So this summer I really have to kick it in. Steel myself for the start of school. Stop dreading the Fall. Start looking forward to the Rise.*
*(That little turn of phrase right there just sort of happened naturally. Was it too much? I'm sorry.)