It is day five.
The morning was hectic, but we made it out the door ready to navigate the path to school. As we approach the huge building, students are streaming in and my daughter asks if I’ll walk with her to class again. I’m keenly aware other parents are not going inside, but I oblige because I desperately want to make this easier for her. We make it to her room and after a big hug and a quick prayer, she smiles and confidently enters into a space I’m trusting will inspire and protect her.
I am grateful for that big smile. She seems to be adjusting. Despite the random outbursts of wanting to go back ‘home’ and missing friends far away, she has done amazingly well. I guess what ‘they’ say is true, kids are resilient. So why is my heart so heavy? I walk past the grandma-like crossing guard and tears begin to fall down my cheeks. I’m not a common crier, but when I do, I make it count. These tears will be significant.
The first one I wipe away is big. It is for the guilt I feel for making her start over this year and knowing as a result of military moves she will do it over and over again throughout her school career. So much of me wants to give her one small town where she can experience life with best friends who will someday be in her wedding giving speeches about her middle school style and the many sleepovers they had.
The next one drops off my chin. This tear is for the fear I have about choosing the right school. Will the curriculum match what she had before? Will they invest in her even though we are temporarily here? Should we have done private for smaller class sizes or would home school have been better for her? The large 800-student building seemed to swallow her whole.
The next few tears sit on my face a while before I use a tissue to soak them in. They are grief and worry. I am slowly saying goodbye to her littleness, something that is necessary for a parent to do, yet, I worry I’m rushing this departure by sending her off to a new school alone only days after moving across country.
My heart is heavy because I have a lot on my mind. Moving is challenging in so many ways but I am confident the hardest part is watching those challenges get thrust onto my children.
I need to process all that I am thinking because if I fail to let the circulating thoughts out of their rotation, they spin up into a tornado of emotions I no longer can control.
So I let them fall, and I write this out. My tears are significant because when they come I make them count. I use them to wipe away my guilt, to let go of my fear, to soak in my grief and throw away my worry.
There is no promise that I won’t need to re-evaluate these concerns someday in the future, in fact it is more of a promise I will in two years when we move again, but for now I’m taking my cue from my 6-year-old. The tears are gone and here is my big smile in response to her confidence. She is resilient, so I will be too.
Allison Struber is a military spouse, mother of three and author of https://allie-beth.blogspot.com/. Inspired by her kid’s energy and her husband’s dry humor, she spends her days volunteering and trying to figure out a ways to bottle up the sweet moments in life.