These lyrics from Ne-Yo’s popular song “Miss Independent” rang true for me recently as I watched Kayla in her first two weeks of pre-school. Things started off as expected last Tuesday night at the Orientation Meeting, as Kayla was quite shy. Jake, on the other hand, treated it like a high school reunion, catching up and laughing with all of the teachers he hadn’t seen since 2008.
I brought Kayla back the next morning for her first day of pre-school ever. She was understandably quite timid as she made sense of her new surroundings. We flipped through a book as we waited for class to start. After the morning prayer and song, the kids were split into two groups; Kayla grabbed my hand and asked me to stay with her for a while. I sat down with her and 4 other kids and made play-dough structures for a few minutes before excusing myself to go to work. So far so good.
On our next visit on Friday, we sat down to read before class and she casually made her way to another kid and his parent. I lovingly dragged Kayla back to me, saying “Read with Daddy” and she complied. After the prayer and song, I accompanied Kayla to the playroom but only had to stay a couple of minutes before she said I could go. I walked out, proud that Kayla seemed to be getting quite comfortable quite quickly. Little did I know just how comfortable she would become!
“She got her own thing…”
We returned the next Tuesday and during the pre-class reading time she spent the whole time with another kid and his parent. My lovely daughter ignored my repeated pleas to re-join me on the other side of the rug. So there I was, the only parent there without a kid to read with. On the bright side, I learned a lot about butterflies. I sheepishly said good-bye to her as she left the main room for the playroom.
Wednesday was even worse (or better…depending on your perspective). While she stayed in my relative proximity during reading time and the opening prayer, she didn’t even say bye before leaving for the playroom.
And then Friday came along.
As we arrived, she ran straight to Julie, one of the teachers for the pre-class reading time. As small consolation, a couple of other kids also gathered around the teacher…but with one big difference: their parents weren’t still in the room! As I sat there contemplating my next move, Kayla made my decision for me, exclaiming: “Daddy, you go to work…NOW!”
“Don’t you want me to stay for the prayer?” was my humble reply.
“No thank you.”
“Fine, “ I replied, “I love you, sweetie. Come give me a kiss.”
Thankfully, she obliged.
This early dismissal actually turned out to be a small blessing as I was able to arrive early to a Funeral Mass that I was attending that morning. Going forward, I’d like to make it through at least the prayer time with Kayla, as it’s a nice way to offer up the day together as Father and Daughter.
Unless I’m ordered otherwise.
“That’s why I love her…Miss Independent.”