Thursday, September 17, 2015

First Grade is Hard

My Ainsley comes home from school so tired and spent. Even after ten hours of sleep every night, First Grade is exhausting, turns out.

Sometimes the smallest things unplug the drain of feelings and her tears begin to flow. I know that whatever served to tug at the drain is not really what's upsetting to her. The girl is tired. I get it. On Monday she walked into the house, unlaced her little shoes and unzipped her backpack. She pulled out a folder full of papers and before even opening it, started to weep.

"Every paper is handed back to me with marks off. Every single one!"

"I'm tested on everything. Quizzed all of the time."

She handed me the paper and I expected to see a score south of 70. What I found instead was this:

Oh, boy. I can't imagine where she got that perfectionist tendency. Dang it, apple. But we're working on this and I'm quick to point out my missteps to the girls so that they can see that not only do I make mistakes but I am quick to forgive myself and move on. I'm ever mindful to tell the girls that I couldn't possibly love them more. That 100% scores aren't what elevate their status in my heart. They're in, all in. They're my heartbeat if their grades are high or in the tank. Of course I want them to give their best in all they do, and they do --that's why the score is irrelevant to me. But I get how good it feels to get a good grade.

I explained to Ainsley that 93 is wonderful. 93 is an A and that is the best grade you can receive. It's still an A. She seemed to hear me but soon went on to say that it really wasn't about the score. I mean she didn't say it in those exact terms but instead, through heaving sobs said,

"I just don't want to learn anymore about the world."

"I just don't want someone to ask me what I'm learning."

"I don't like it when people are bossing me."

The girl can preach. First grade is hard, y'all. But so is adulting. Some days I don't particularly want to learn more about the world. Some days I'd rather not be quizzed on what lessons I'm learning of late. And oh yes, I much prefer being the boss than being bossed. This girl doesn't just look like me, we share some serious DNA. We definitely took the correct child home from the hospital and I'm so glad that we did.

What a love. I'm so glad to be her soft place to land on days when she's had it. May I offer such grace as easily to myself and remember that sometimes what I need more than a perfect score or affirmation from someone else is rest. Restoration and refreshment from The One who loves me no matter what the imaginary score card I keep on myself looks like.

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