My daughter started high school this year. From being the oldest, biggest and wisest, she became the baby of the school. She’s small built and among her schoolmates she really does seem like a baby. No not just my baby, literally the baby of the school. Everyday as I dropped her off to school, I watched her carefully and noticed her body posture change from a head held high happy stride, to a shoulders dropped, dragging the feet snail paced walk. You know the one I’m talking about, the one that shouts ‘life is miserable.’ Her emotions were a wreck, teary and ready to cry at the simplest hurdle. We kept talking but she wasn’t really sharing.
I had to get to the bottom of it. The ‘What ifs?’ were leaving me sleepless. Was this the pre-teen mood swings, was she being bullied, were her teachers horrible, was she feeling pressured to do well??? I had a million questions going through my head. Meanwhile, I watched her drag her feet to and from school. Talking to her teachers wasn’t much help either, they couldn’t give me any insight into what might be wrong. All I could do was try to make her as happy as I could while she was at home.
And then yesterday, week 3 of term 2, seemingly out of nowhere she got her confident stride back. She was taking leaps and her back was straight despite her 1 tonne school bag. I got my daughter back, chatting in the car, cracking jokes. I couldn’t hide my excitement but deep down I wanted to know what changed.
Last night we had our heart to heart and she said, “There are so many big girls at our school, I was scared someone might be mean or bully me”
Transitions are difficult no matter what age. Fears, uncertainty and inexperience of the novel add fuel to the fire. Last night we shared stories, hugged and laughed at mums own transition stories. It’s too early to tell whether the dark clouds have passed. When I go to pick her up today, I’ll be eyeing her stride and hopping it’s here to stay.
Posted anonymously, 30th April 2015