Highschool Flashback- at the preschool Pool.Featured, General — By Shannon Schmid on July 31, 2012 at 8:32 am
Another 104 degree day in Texas. Perfect day to hit the preschool splash pad I thought, and loaded up a beach bag and grabbed a coffee for the ride…
When we got to the pool I took out some bath toys I’d thrown in as a surprise for my 3- almost 4 year old. She was delighted and headed out under the spray with a grin. I followed along behind and took turns being the voice of the toy mermaid. After a little bit my daughter looked around at the other kids playing and said “Mommy I can make new friends here!”
I loved the innocence of it. And I loved her confidence. But when I surveyed the splash pad I realized that all the children around us had siblings or friends they were already playing with. When my daughter headed towards a 6 or 7 year old girl who was throwing a ball around with her brother my heart sank. Actually -correction. My heart didn’t sink so much as actually started to race. I worried my plucky preschooler was about to get shot down. She’d picked the oldest girl at the pool, who surely was not going to want to play with a 3 year old.
My high school years flashed before my eyes. I realized my heart was racing because I’m a shy person and going up to a group of people I don’t know is a really uncomfortable feeling for me at best. Secondly, who didn’t get caught in the crossfire of cliques and best friends in school? And in that moment- as my daughter crossed the pool…I realized. She’s in for it too, huh? No matter how much I protect her, no matter what school I send her to, no matter how sweet her friends are – they are all going to hurt each other sometimes. Someone will get left out. Someone will feel like the unpopular one, someone will want to be friends with someone that doesn’t want to be friends back. And it will cause her pain.
The last thought causes me to wonder briefly if sticking her back in my womb is at all feasible. Probably not. Damn.
I overhear my plucky, beautiful, self assured baby say “Hi my name is pumpkin. Want to play?” I can’t hear the girls answer. But I see pumpkin laughing. And then, inexplicably… she is catching a ball. Then she and the little girl are holding hands as they walk around the splash pad. For the next hour they don’t leave each others side. I move around the outside of the pool not wanting to intrude but wanting to be sure she is always in my view. I say a silent prayer of thanks and sigh in relief. I see the girl bring her over to her parents and introduce pumpkin to them and her grandmother. Next I see pumpkin leading the girl to me.
“This is my mom! I’m sorry I didn’t bring my dad today…or my grandma. But maybe I will next time! But I have my mom right here. She is here to protect me.”
The little girl says a sweet hello to me and they are off again. I laugh at my daughters introduction.
“She is here to protect me.”
That’s right kiddo. As long as I possibly can.
PS. Parents of school age kids, I’m really in for it if I can’t handle an outing to the pool without worrying about this stuff, huh?