Blowing out the butterflies

Yesterday, we sent two out of our three kids off to the first day of school.  It felt for me – and for all you parents out there – like I was sending my heart out into the world.  And it was all I could do from wrapping my kids in bubble wrap.  At least in bubble wrap, the words, the hurt, the fear…all of the baggage that comes with growing up wouldn’t hurt my girls.  But alas.  I didn’t bubble wrap them.   I sent them out with a smile and excitement on my face, and anxiousness in my stomach.

Our girls have had a lot of change lately.  For my oldest, this will be her third school in two years.  She has taken it like a champ.   She is a smart kid, but suffers from a strong case of the nerves (like her mama).  So  – anytime we go anywhere new – we blow out the butterflies from our tummy.  We take a deep breath.  Both of us. Together. And we blow them out.  And we count how many came out.  And what color they are.  And then we figure out if there are still any more inside of us.  If so, we do it again.  And again.  And again.

Kids are remarkably resilient.  It’s amazing.  I’ve seen from the various military communities we have been privileged to be a part of how fast kids adapt to new situations and new surroundings.   Their parents are often far less accommodating.   It’s so hard for us to get accustomed to new friends, new places, new routines.  It takes months – years even – to adjust as we get older and more settled.  But the fact remains that the ability for all of us to be resilient (and teach our kids to be) is key to successful life transitions.

The night before the first day of school, I had a dream.  I was walking around the grocery store and the kids were at the bottom of the grocery cart – like beneath where the groceries go.  During this dream, the kids fell out.   And I panicked. For some reason, I couldn’t get them back in the cart.   I had left them behind.

Isn’t that – to some degree – what we all feel?  We are worried we don’t have the ability to thrive in new situations?  We feel like we (or our kids) are being left behind, as everyone else moves forward?

The new year is approaching and I worry that in this BIG NEW WORLD that my kids won’t be able to navigate the cognitive, emotional, and developmental pitfalls that await them.   So this year, we will keep blowing out the butterflies, and I’ll keep the bubble wrap in the pantry just in case.

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