I read somewhere the other day that 12% of Americans move each year. Last month, we fell into that statistic as we moved 800 miles south from CT to NC. We are almost settled in our new house and are starting to meet our neighbors and catch up with our friends we left behind five years ago. Moving back to NC has been a positive experience for the most part. But to add yet another change on top of everything else, summer vacation is over and school has begun!
We had open house for our daughter’s first grade class the Thursday before she started her new school. We have been talking about how exciting a new school will be for her and tried of avoid the words “nervous” or “scared” because we wanted to focus on positive feelings. She was a little more standoffish that I expected as we walked into the school. True, it can sometimes take her a few minutes to warm up in brand new situations. I think that’s the same for a lot of people. But this time it was different. She was hiding behind my legs, something she has rarely done. I put my arm around her and we continued walking down the halls. I looked around the school, noting it’s twice the size of her old school in CT.
People were everywhere. Kids, parents and teachers crowded the halls.
It was pretty overwhelming, I’d have to admit. Neither of us knew where we were going exactly. The halls became mazes full of people hugging, kids jumping excitedly and tables full of PTA moms helping out. A nice lady guided us to my daughter’s classroom where we were welcomed by a friendly teacher. At first my little one clung to me, so just walked the classroom together. I watched her explore and gave her as much time as she needed to feel comfortable. Other students and parents in the room began leaving, so I took the opportunity to introduce her to her teacher. My daughter stood close to me, but was at least engaged in the conversation. Her sweet teacher showed her where she’ll be sitting and then we chatted about volunteering and visiting at lunch. I could tell when we left the classroom that her demeanor had changed. She was smiling, but it seemed a little forced. I asked her what she thought about her new class and she said she wanted to go back to her old school. I hugged her and let her know I understood. I had moved elementary schools as well and while it’s hard to leave behind what we love, we get the opportunity to meet new friends. I saw that the PTA had set up a table with school spirit shirts, so I bought one for her. Pink tie-dyed….it was perfect and her face lit up with excitement.
Monday came faster than a blink of an eye. Her alarm buzzed at 7:00 am. I was already up and had breakfast on the table for her. I sat with her and we chatted about what was to come. She was excited, not nervous. She kept saying “I can’t stop smiling!” She happily got into my husband’s car and indulged the photos of her first ride to her new school. The last picture was of her smiling face as she exited the car and walked into her new school. She was still happy and all smiles at pick up, which equals a great day for all of us!