This week, Maraine started a kinder exploration program. Her school district holds six, 1/2-day sessions over two weeks for kinders to get to know the school before kindergarten actually starts in September.
Maraine has had mixed feelings about kindergarten. She loves learning, and she was excited to ride the school bus. But, she's sad to leave her pre-school teachers and friends. Her anxiety has been manifesting in different ways, and we've been doing our best to support her and to be patient and understanding. One thing we started doing is drawing and coloring together as a family.
On the morning of her first kinder exploration day, Maraine drew this (shared with her permission 🙂):
She told me she was feeling nervous, happy, and sad (tears on that third face 😢). She also drew a school bus because she was still really excited about that.
As we waited outside for the bus to arrive, she clung to my leg like a little koala. But, as soon as that yellow bus rounded the corner and started driving toward us, Maraine let go of my leg. She clasped her hands, hopped excitedly, and grinned. The bus slowed to a stop and to her delight, the door swished open. Maraine climbed the huge stairs with her "big kid" backpack, greeted the driver, and blew kisses to Justin and me as they drove away.
Once the bus was out of sight, I dissolved into tears. Yes, for months now, I've been whining about my little growing too fast, time going too quickly, and all those "cliches" that I've heard but never felt until Maraine. But in those tears, there was also pride. I was so proud of this little person working through her anxiety, coloring and drawing her feelings, and facing her fears. Such courage, and it was beautiful to witness.
At the end of her first week in kinder exploration, she came home with a picture. In general, I'm blown away by her imagination and drawings, but I was completely delighted by this:
This is a picture of us coloring together as a family. From left to right: our cat, Maraine, Justin, and me. This picture captures so many details of our regular coloring time and setup. And all of us are smiling from ear to ear. I hope this is what she remembers when she gets older and looks back on this time. It also affirms my decision to make a career change and move into a space that allows me to have the energy, time, and capacity for these moments (more on that another time).
Maraine is still feeling anxiety about all the changes (same!). And, she is also excited about kindergarten (same!). We talk about how it's hard--and totally human--to hold sometimes conflicting feelings at once.
So, we continue to cook and bake together. We marvel at every little thing we grow and pick from our garden. We play board games, build puzzles, and snuggle together and read. Today we made krispy treats (aka cereal treats, aka rice krispy treats). And, we still press crayons and markers into coloring books. Together.