Monday, August 22, 2016
When Your Daughter Starts A New School
"I think I want to go back to my old school," Natalie told me the other night. Her eyes got watery. "I don't know if I'll like my new school."
My heart ached for her. I knew exactly how she felt: after all, we're both military kids. We've moved around every few years, which means starting all over.
It means new schools. Making new friends.
Obviously Natalie would miss her old school. It was the only one she knew. She started in Kindergarten and went until third grade. She knew the school like the back of her hand. She didn't have fears of getting lost. She recognized most of the teachers and students. Sure, there would be some that would transfer out or move, but for the most part, she could wave to at least ten people a day.
It wouldn't be the same at the new school. Not yet. In time, yes, but not immediately.
Before we moved, Natalie started bringing home papers like this:
"I mean, I want to move to Texas, but I'm going to miss my school. And my friends."
She seemed to accept her new school when we went to register her. She seemed okay during back to school night.
But then the nerves set in. Realization set in.
"I don't know anyone in fourth grade," Natalie explained, chewing on her lower lip.
She has made some friends in the neighborhood but they are going into third grade. Another is going into sixth.
"You'll get to know them," I promised. "Remember at your old school how I always told you to be nice to the new students because someday it would be you?"
"Well, hopefully someone else's Mommy told them the same thing and they'll be kind to you." I pulled her against me. She placed her head against my shoulder. She still needs me. She still wants me. I'm thrilled when she wants to talk to me about her feelings because maybe in a few years she won't. I hope she always will, but I remember the complexities of being a teenager. I remember the roller coaster of emotions. I didn't always turn to my parents.
"I think you'll do great," I told Natalie. She's pretty social. Sometimes too social. Her desk is usually beside the teacher's because she gets distracted easily.
"I'm scared," Natalie whispered.
"I know. I was always scared starting a new school too. But it always turned out okay. I always met great people."
"I miss my old school," Natalie answered. "I've been watching YouTube videos about it."
I kissed the top of her head. "That's okay. You'll always remember that school. You made memories there. And you'll make memories with this one."
Natalie took a deep breath. "I think I'll be okay."
"You will be."