I’m not quite sure when it happened, seemly overnight, that I accepted the fact my little Ari is growing up and will be off to school next year. I thought I would come to this day kicking and screaming but as we reach this new stage of her life, there are so many new experiences to look forward to that I find myself preparing to hand her on.
We live in this wonderful village where pedestrians have right of way over cars and I can hear the joyful shouts of kids at play while I hang out my washing in the early light. Next year one of those voices will belong to me. We will walk together each morning, planning who will be her bestie that day, where I will hang the drawings she does for me and what will be this afternoons snack. Whereas I gazed longingly at the town kids riding their bikes home from the bus windows each day, Ari will be one of the lucky ones stopping off for an icecream before homework starts.
This girl of mine and I are the same in so many ways, our imaginations connecting us while our age sets us apart. Even though I kept mine mostly inside my head and her is gleefully related to anyone. Whether they ask it or not. I guess I expected her to be the bookworm I cheerfully was, hiding under her covers at night with a torch losing all track of time in the pages of any story I could get my hands on. Instead she has the attention span of a gold fish, her brain moving far too quickly for any of us to keep up with, her head too full of her own stories to make room for the letters I relentlessly force in there.
By the time I reach C her eyes have glazed over and she is off conquering worlds only she can visit, leaving me frustrated and impatient. Not the ingredients necessary for educating. And so I have had to come at this in a different way. Leave storytime for just what it is, stories and try to push my agenda during her other favourite time of the day. Craft time. Oh yes.
With all this cutting, pasting and searching for pictures that begin with the letter of day, we hardly have time to stop and think that we are learning. More satisfying than anything are the letters she points out in our evenings stories without me ever having to ask.
Never before in my parenting journey have I been challenged more. My daughter is a round peg in a square hole and if I can’t accept her for that then what does that say about me?
Today, I am proud of both of us. Her, for getting to the letter F and still showing enthusiasm to sit with me every couple of days and sift through the pages of the junk mail to discover the secrets of the alphabet. And for me, for once pushing that old perfection monkey off my back, getting glue all over the table and learning along with her.