[Apologies this is a day late! Life conspired against me yesterday. I'm sure it's still [Worthiness] Wednesday somewhere in the world.]
Recently, I was presented with the option of increasing my daughter's days at kindergarten from two to three. Initially I had been keen on this idea, now I am less sure. In addition to her two days at kinder, she spends one morning a week at creative play. This leaves us with two days for just the two of us, and this will be the last year we have this luxury before she starts school.
This time feels precious.
But certain questions have been niggling at me.
Am I selfish in holding her back? What if she is the only one not attending three days? What if she misses out on something? What if she finds it harder to make friends, with the kids attending three days forming closer bonds?
I know these questions are not about my daughter. I see that they are about my own fears. My fears for her (What if she feels rejected? What if she feels lonely?) and my fears for me (What if I get it wrong? What if I am not enough for her?). These fears have been making it hard for me to make a definitive decision... and then to be happy with the decision I have made.
I held a little birthday party for my daughter on Monday. We usually have family parties for her birthday but I also wanted my little 'un to have the opportunity to celebrate with her two best friends: W (a lovely little lad from kinder) and E (as sweet little lass from creative play).
Before W and E arrived with their mums and baby siblings, I discussed what was about to happen with my daughter. "The thing is," I ventured, "W and E don't know each other. So it will be important for you to introduce them. But also to make sure that you play with them both at the same time."
Monday afternoon was extremely hot, like, 37 degrees Celsius or 98.6 Fahrenheit hot. And being at the end of a few days of building heat, it was 27 degrees C (80.6 F) inside the house!
But my littlie and her friends, and their baby siblings, did really well. They ate, they played, they dissected their treat bags, they sang happy birthday. And generally didn't mind being cooped up indoors in the dark with only one standing fan to offer relief.
On reflection, I noticed that it was rare that my little 'un managed to play with both of her friends at once. Her friends were understandably a little shy of one another. What tended to happen was that she'd play with them in turn while the other amused themselves with her toys. In the absence of her attention, they were fine.
I also noted that she tended to play the same games with each of them as she usually did when they visited (i.e. playing Lego with W, making pictures with E). That is to say, she assumed the role that she had cultivated with that individual friend. And she seemed to slip between roles with ease.
She is so much like me, that little girl. And in this realisation, this space, there is room for an exhale.
She is instinctively drawn to a certain type of person. She knows how and where she wants to spend time with them. She is aware of the roles she plays, with individual friends and in groups. She is learning when to lead and when to follow.
She'll be fine.
And so will I.
This week, I invite you to step into that place of knowing: however you choose to relate to people, whatever your fears are (of being rejected/misunderstood/lonely), whenever you feel that you are getting it wrong over and over and over again.
You will be OK.