So, on Friday, which happened to be the fourth anniversary of meeting Lotus for the first time, it was time for Lotus' Kindergarten Orientation.
She was nervous. Heck with her, I was nervous.
Her questions were simple--would the teachers be nice? Would the other kids be nice?
Mine were not so simple.
Would there be other Asians in her class?
Would she be bullied?
Would she bully?
Would school take her love of learning and make it horrible?
Would she be safe?
These are just the top five--I have so many more questions as I'm watching my baby turn into my child.
So together we walked to school and sat with other parents and their kids. I started to make some introductions but Lotus had a death grip on my hand and so we talked and looked around. I looked at the folder with the agenda for the afternoon and it had that the kids would go to the kindergarten room and the principal and others would talk to the parents. I started explaining this to Lotus and her eyes started to fill with tears. I hugged her and she quieted as the orientation began.
First off a bunch of the current kindergarten class came out and sang songs. Yay. Lotus loves to sing and dance. They sang 4 and she knew all but 1 and the one she didn't know looked like fun. Then the teacher asked that the kindergarteners-to-be line up. Lotus hugged me.
"You're not going home?"
"Not without you." She thought about it and rested her head on me for a little. She watched other kids go on the line.
A few other kids were having fits. The one on the chair next to us was not leaving her mom. Lotus went over to her and said "want to go together?" The response from the other child was decidedly negative. Lotus came back, gave me a hug and stood on the line with the other kids. Her chin was quivering, just a little, but she met my eyes and smiled at me. As they walked out she waved at me and I waved back. Then, as she had done four years before, she lifted her head and looked into what comes next. Someone said something to her so my last image of her at that moment was walking away, head held high, with a little smile.
I didn't hear the first part of the discussion because I was musing about how brave my little girl is. How she walked into what came next with a smile on her face. I thought of the smiles we got shortly after we met her, when she was playing cute. I remember how breathtaking it was when we saw her real smile--the one with her dimple--four days later. I thought of how the journey from baby to child never takes as long as you think it will.
I thought of the song I first sung to her. You'll Be in my Heart from Tarzan. More specifically the second verse.
"For one so small, you seem so strong.
My arms will hold you keep you safe and warm.
This bond between us, can't be broken.
I will be here, don't you cry."
I lifted my head. Smiled. Then I listened to the rules that I, as a kindergarten parent would be expected to follow. I added a few. Be brave. Smile. Walk into the future with head held high.