Day 1: My daughter’s new school

coonley-day1-5Day 1 at my kid’s new school was a success. As you can see from that huge dramatic scowl in that picture, she had a wonderful day at school.

We had sleepless nights worrying about that first day. We wondered how her teachers would read her. We worried that they would not be able to see the laughter in her eyes past the frown. We wondered, will they see her spirit blazing behind the eyebrows drawn together? Will they know her, or will she sit in the corner, in her lonely soul?

I cannot express how grateful I am to the underpaid, overworked teachers in these schools. They work hard. They make music in those classrooms. Surrounded by these children. These brilliant, fragile, powerful children with their blossoming minds, struggling to grow and flourish in spite of all their grown-ups and their inhibitions, their stereotypes, their nightmares. These children, these unique souls, who love to smile and to scowl and
shout and jump with all their hearts, who are being trained to enter the world of adults where they must NOT do anything with all their hearts, and definitely NOT to scowl and shout and jump and laugh too much.coonley-day1-3

I’m trying, I’m really trying, to help her be herself, my intentions are good, but then, too often, I keep demanding that she become me. I keep slipping into asking, pushing her to become a grown-up, an inhibited, conformist, anal retentive adult. But she keeps coming back, with that irrepressible scowl, that bright eyed raucous laugh, and telling me, THIS IS WHO I AM. Get used to it.

Keep doing that, girl. Keep fighting me.

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