Brynna and her friend, Kaitlin, have a love-hate relationship. They beg to see each other only to argue once they’re together. They ask for play dates but someone usually spends the hour crying more than playing. They are so similar that they often act like polar ends of the same magnet. Both girls like the same toys so they fight over whose turn it is. Both girls are strong-willed so neither backs down. Both girls have dominant personalities so they both want to be in charge. Ever heard the phrase “too many chiefs”? We’ve got 2 too many chiefs!
Their relationship up to now has been one that Kaitlin’s mom and I have managed. We’ve used arguments as teaching lessons and reinforced each other’s rules. But last week they started Kindergarten. And their relationship is no longer ours to manage. Sheryl and I aren’t there to referee. We aren’t present to know who was “right” or “wrong” – who needs to apologize or give a hug. We’re not there to do it for them. Brynna and Kaitlin have to navigate the waters of friendship even if it means learning a lesson or two the hard way.
And that’s the thing, isn’t it? That’s the thing that’s hard to do. I have let her do it on her own KNOWING she’s going to do it wrong sometimes. I have to admit that what’s best for her is that I DON’T know everything. And as uncomfortable (painful, even) as it is, I have to choose to do what’s best for her even when it’s not what I want.
I used to know every detail of her day. From the moment she opened her eyes until well after they were closed, I could tell you every sound, cry, laugh and smirk. I could recite her new favorite word and tell you what she learned for the first time that day. Today, I don’t know how her day was. I don’t know every detail.
I don’t know who she sits by in the gym or what they talk about. I don’t know what they do in the gym before the first bell. (I don’t technically know where they gym is.)
I don’t know what they do in the classroom before their outclass (PE, art, music, library) for the day.
I don’t know who she sits by at lunch. I don’t know if she eats or talks the whole time. (But I have strong guess)
I don’t know what games she plays at recess. I don’t know who she plays them with.
I don’t know all the kids in her class. (Neither does she, by the way. Names are sooo not important.)
I don’t know if she speaks respectfully and treats other with the kindness I’ve taught her.
I don’t know if she tries her best or rushes through her work to get back to her conversations. (But again, I could venture a guess)
I don’t know what color she picked to write her name. I don’t know if she remembered to use one upper and the rest lowercase letters.
I don’t know what she talks to her buddies about while they wait for the carpool line to creep along.
What I do know is that my car and my heart are a little louder and fuller as soon as that door swings open. I know that I can deal with all the things I don’t know and how much they make me sad at times because I know she’s becoming exactly who I taught her to be. I know that if I held on tight to make me feel better it wouldn’t be best for her. And because I know that, I’m ok with all the things I don’t know.