One the day that Rachel and Claire started kindergarten, Zoe was infinitely disappointed that she still had to wait another week and 2 days to go to mother’s day out. For weeks she had been telling anyone and everyone that she was going to preschool.
In that week before her big day, I brought it up for the gazillionth time. Next week you go to preschool! And a shadow of doubt flickered across her face, as if she’d been so excited, but now shit was getting real.
I’ve never worried about Zoe. We’ve always had a running joke about her. Thank God for Zoe! we’d say, as she sat content in a stroller at 6 months while I attempted park playdates with her sisters. Thank God for Zoe! we’d mutter as she dutifully put her shoes on herself while we were still doing most of the work for the other two. Thank God for Zoe! we’d laugh as she stayed put while the others took off in two different directions.
But her sisters have something she doesn’t: each other. Every step of their development, they’ve been together. When they entered preschool they were in the same class. Their last year they were separated, and remain that way now in kindergarten, but they see each other on the playground and know the other is just across the hall.
So as preschool loomed for her, I began worry a little that she would be alone, although in reality, she’d be having the same experience as the majority of the kids. Because apparently not everyone goes to school with a look alike best friend by their side.
And as she skipped in on the first day the staff welcomed her with open arms and did the usual remarking on Look how big you’ve gotten! and How can it already be time for you to come here? And I agree. Time has flown since she rode through the hall like a boss in a cheap umbrella stroller with a bent wheel that was a bitch to push while I simultaneously attempted to keep her sisters from running out the front door and carried two sets of craft projects. Still wet.
I prepped for some clinginess, half knowing I wouldn’t need that preparation. This one, she’s not like the others. She’s not shy. She makes friends everywhere she goes. Other kids are naturally attracted to her magnetic energy and her personality that’s as bouncy as her curls. She reacts to them with welcoming smile that says Let’s play! And she’s seriously cute.
Who is this kid, this little extrovert? Where did she come from? Where did she learn that confidence that of course this is going to be awesome, because I am awesome, and of course everyone will like me, because why wouldn’t they? I watch her and realize I can learn so much from her confidence. And as I walk away, I can’t help but shake my head a little and laugh to myself that old familiar phrase.
Thank God for Zoe.