Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Day 2: My Orange Coat Moment

First of all it's late, and I'm near brain-dead after another action packed, emotional roller coaster day, so the typos and errors will probably abound in this post.

Well I thought that surviving Gracie's first day of Kindergarten meant that Day 2 would be a breeze. I was in for a big surprise. Gracie goes with me in the mornings as I work across the parking lot in my office at Kellogg Middle School. So we did our 4 minute commute and talked about everything from yesterday's rainbow to where I went to Kindergarten. (we drive by the original Sunnyside School on our way)

When we got to the school, I parked. Then Gracie and I walked through the doors and down the hallway. Gracie's teacher, Mrs. Roach was off doing things so the door to the classroom was closed. So I calmlyl had G leave her backpack with the others by the doorway and took her out to the playground. I could tell she was a little rattled, like I was as we were both expecting to be able to go in the classroom like yesterday. So when we went out to the playground there were tons of kids going full steam playing, yelling, and just being kids on a beautiful late summer morning. Gracie just stood there and I felt a huge lump in my throat as I forced the words "You can go play sweetie." I couldn't believe how those words ripped at my heart as I saw the look on her face. She was not exactly horrified, but she was definitely a little out of sorts. I could see her scanning the activity carefully and getting her courage up. That tugged at my heart even more.

As she began to drift towards the playground, I realized I hadn't even said goodbye or "have a nice day" or anything. I called her name and told her to come over and I then had her give me a big hug and told her to have a great day. At this point my heart was aching more than it was on Day 1. The classroom was so structured and organized. She had a friend, colors, and lots of cool stuff to look at. But this was the playground. Gracie's friend Hailey wasn't there yet, so she was really unsure. Our little Gracie is slow to get in the mix with a bunch of rowdy kids and I love that about her. But today it was tearing me up.

After she walked around the equipment carefully observing all the kids and checking out the woodchips and I then I made the mistake of watching for a minute or two and it was very hard! As I mentioned, her friend Hailey wasn't there yet and it was typical playground chaos so she just walked around and surveyed the situation and then kinda stood by herself. I wanted to call her name and go hug her again and encourage her, but I knew that would just make it worse. Again I called on the wise words of my Elementary School Teacher/Sister-In-Law Martha who said the best thing to do is just leave and she will be fine. It was so hard for me to just leave, but I did. I knew I had to do it I know she was fine but it was just so hard for me. :-) When I was walking back out the hallway Hailey and her mom were just getting there. I told Hailey that Gracie was looking for her, and she smiled. It made me feel better if I just thought about Hailey finding Gracie and everything being OK. Wow. What a morning.

You are probably wondering about the title of this blog post. Well, a friend of ours and co-teacher with Amy shared a story with me a few days ago about how she could see her son on her way to work every day as the playground was on her way. Her son had a bright orange coat so she could see him easily. She said he would often be off by himself on the playground and the sight of that would tear her up. It was such a touching story so parallel to my experience that I chose that as my title.

Day 3 has to be a piece of cake right? (sniffle)

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