Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Kind Goldie, A Sad Little Girl, and a Bike

This morning I got the kids to school right as the bell was about to ring. A number of last minute parents were dropping kids off by the doors, so I pulled over and let my kids out a little ways below the doors. As I pulled back into traffic and began to drive off, I noticed that, while Abe and Daisy (whose classrooms are much farther away than Goldie's) had hurriedly ran in, Goldie was still standing out there.

She was talking to a little girl who was standing with a bike. I assumed it was a girl from her class and that she was waiting to go in with her. Still, knowing she was almost late, I pulled back over and called, "Goldie! Is everything OK?" I was about to then shout for her to hurry into class, but at that moment the small girl with the bike looked up revealing a sadly tear stained little face.

"She doesn't know where to put her bike," Goldie informed me.

I quickly assured the girl she didn't need to worry -- that we would help her find where the bikes go, but just to wait with Goldie while I found somewhere to park. That, and unloading my pajama clad barefoot little ones took a minute, but before long we were with her. She looked so small and so sad. As I reassured her, it occurred to me that I actually had no idea where the bikes went either, and by this point nearly everyone was in the school. Goldie told me she thought they were supposed to be parked behind the school at the edge of the playground. That seemed a ridiculously long way away, but I asked the only other lone lady I could find still out there, and she said that was right.

Anyway, I sent Goldie into class and Penny, Jesse and I walked with the little girl back to the bike racks. I asked her if it was her first day riding her bike all by herself and told her how cool that was -- especially when she told me how much of it was uphill. By the time we got her bike chained in, she seemed mostly happy with only a few tiny tear streaks left on her cheeks. I asked her if she knew how to get to her class from there and asked if she wanted me to come in and talk to her teacher to explain why she was late, but she seemed to think she was fine now.

As we made our way back to our parked car, I suddenly got all choked up and kept almost crying. I don't know why. Like I said, I am sure she was fine and will likely have forgotten about her little moment of trauma before school is even out, but I felt like crying all the same. Maybe it was because I could relate so well. I could see me as that same little girl -- so nervous about something so little. I felt grateful that I had been such a wimpy kid myself so that I could understand perfectly why not knowing where to put your bike would be a reason to cry.

Or maybe it was more because of my own kids. Because I always want to be there for them in case they are sad or worried. Once or twice they have had similar experiences in school, and, even though they turned out alright, I hated to know that they were standing there afraid and bordering on tears and I was just at home -- clueless as to their problem. I remember how nervous Abe was for Kindergarten -- worried about every possible thing. In an effort to help him, we wrote down all of his questions -- what to do if he needed to go to the bathroom, what to do in the lunchroom, how to know recess was over, etc. etc. And Mike took Abe and his list to the teacher.

Still, you can't plan for every eventuality. I pictured that little girl's mom getting her ready for today -- school has been in for a couple weeks, and now her little girl was excited to try and ride her bike there all on her own. She had her helmet on. She'd clearly practiced getting the lock on and off. Maybe even done a practice run to make sure of the route. Everything was all set, only in the excitement, no one had stopped to think about what you do with the bike once you got to school. I can just picture her getting there -- so proud she'd made it, and then the realization that she didn't know what to do now -- and her mom wasn't there to ask. The kids who were running about at the time were nearly all running off into the school now and there she stood -- small and unnoticeable -- not knowing what to do. I don't know why it made me feel so emotional. It just did.

I'm so glad we were running late this morning. Also, I am so proud of this Goldie girl of mine. I would rather my kids be kind than maybe anything else, and it makes me so happy that she noticed this girl who she didn't even know and stopped to check on her. I am certain I would have taken no notice of her if Goldie hadn't stopped.
Some of my kids would never have a situation like this bother them. They'd simply set the bike down and run in to ask a teacher. But maybe that's why it made me feel sad. It was just so small -- so not a big deal, and yet, a very big and scary deal to that one little girl. It reminded me of how tiny and innocent and vulnerable these little people are and it made me cry to think of ever not being there to quickly set such little troubles right.


Anna said...

Oh! That's so sweet!

Perla said...

i agree. if i could choose just one good trait that my kids would have, it would be kindness. super sweet.

marzee said...

Well, I feel terrible. Why, you ask? Because rather than support my children in their tearful "overreactions" to perfectly simple problems - I tell them, "It's not a big deal. It's not worth crying over."

I remember being a little kid and being so worried and afraid of everything. Getting older and realizing I was such a worry wart made me mad. Why did I cause myself so much pain over something so insignificant? But we do . . . even when we're older. We obsess and worry about things that really - aren't that important.

I guess part of me wants to somehow save my kids the trauma. How can a make them realize that it's not a big deal? But really - would it be better if we didn't worry through our cautionary path of life? What kind of people would we be if we didn't have the heart to worry or care?

Maybe I should let my kids "enjoy" their worries and fears a little more. hmm . . . .

Kit J said...

Well I couldn't sleep and I enjoyed reading your nice blog but then I want to cry because it brings back the days of Andre in Kindergarten and first grade sobbing and sobbing as I left him in sobbing on the way him a cell phone so he could sneak and call me from the bathroom and his getting caught by the principal who promptly took it away and terrified him even more...well hopefully this sweet, little girl will never have fears other than where her bike goes. Good job Daisy!!!

jami said...

nancy-i'll come back and read these new posts, and comment when i have a few minutes, but i mostly wanted to thank you for your kind words. oh, how i love you and your advice. thanks so much for the suggestions you did with abe. i'm going to give them a try. :) i'm with you, and i've said if it gets to be too much i'll pull him out and try something else. although, i'm not sure that's a good solution either. :) so thanks ... you are the best!!

Nancy said...

Jami, you're so nice. I was writing it thinking, "I'm so dumb -- blithely suggesting m&m's as the cure all for a major problem." But, as I said, I know how much it kills you to have your little ones being sad, and while I want them to grow and learn, I also want to spare them as much of that as I can because they will get enough pain that I can't spare them. I really hope he'll just adjust and one simple thing -- like a new best pal or something will suddenly change his whole perspective!! That's what I hope for you!!

Tia Juana said...

I think we can all relate to the sad little bike girl. Except, I lived across the street from my elementary school so I never rode my bike. I always wanted to but it seemed a bit anti-climatic.

And, for the record, yous is raising some right dandy kids there, so full of love and kindness. Is this the same child who just last week wrote notes on the door about treats not mattering and only kindness and goodness and love of all mankind? Well, if it is, she surely practices what she preaches!

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