Worrying. If anyone asked me what I’m really, really good at, that would be the simple answer. Worrying. I’m working on it, because I know that in many ways it’s a choice. But here’s the thing, I’m good at it. And why on earth would I give up one of my greatest talents?
Well, I’m starting to think it’s about time. Time to let go of some of the worry. (Baby steps, people.)
Here’s why. Last year, Pink and I did Mommy & Me Ballet. It was the moment I’d looked forward to since the doctor said, “It’s a girl.” (Note I didn’t say the ultrasound technician.) There’s just something about the soft pink of tutus and ballet slippers that does me in. While both Pink and I enjoyed the class—and adored the teacher—there were times she didn’t want to engage. She’d cling to me and struggle to make it through the whole class. As the course came to an end last spring, her teacher said maybe we should stick to Mommy and Me since she might not be ready for the simply Me class.
When the time came to sign up, I took a leap of faith. I talked up the fact that she’d get to do ballet and tap. That she’d get to go inside all by herself like Little did at hip hop, but I’d be right outside watching the whole time. We went shopping for her fancy shoes and before we knew it, the big day had arrived.
When we were driving there, I looked back. Instead of looking worried, she smiled and said, “I’m not going to cry at all. I’m going to have so much fun!” I sat there praying that her confidence wouldn’t wither at the site of a big mirror-lined room, where motherly types were noticeably absent.
As I found my spot on the viewing bench, I was full of anxiety. Could she really do this? Should I have pushed her? If she broke down, would she disrupt the class and send all the other little ones running back to their parents for comfort?
Within seconds, my fears were overshadowed by adoration. She pas de bourréed her way into the room with the rest of the little angels and danced her heart out—never looking back, except to offer me a confident smile as she ran by. And when it was time for a shoe change, she came out and told me she could do it all by herself.
And she did.
Well, today was her first day back at preschool. She has a reputation there too, which may or may not involve tears and separation anxiety. But as she got ready for school this morning, there was no worry hanging in the air. Again, she smiled and said, “I’m not going to cry at all. I’m going to have fun!”
She wanted an Elsa braid and a pretty dress, so of course I obliged. She walked up to the mirror in my room and said, “Ms. Teacher isn’t going to know who I am because I’m so big now. She’s going to be like, ‘Is that Elsa or Pink?’” Her giggles weren’t the nervous kind this time around. They were deep, confident, and wonderful.
As we drove to school—after insisting her daddy watch her take her first-day pictures—she was bubbling with excitement. “I think Olaf is in my lunchbox. He’s going to jump out and say, ‘Boo!’” And, oh, that laugh! Then she proclaimed, “I’m going to have so much fun today!”
And she did.
She let go of the worry. She embraced the opportunity. And she showered herself—and those of us around her—with happiness. It was a precious gift, as well as an important reminder. Each day, no matter what’s in front of my family and me, I can choose to begin by saying, “I’m going to have so much fun today!”
And I will.