Yesterday Lucy started her week long acrobat camp. There is juggling, trapeze, and tumbling; more fun would be hard to find. I am ensuring against her running off with the circus by condoning it, thereby removing the thrill of rebellion. Next week she is going to smoking camp.
Since signing up for the camp, way back when in springtime, Lu has been so excited about the whole thing. She woke up yesterday morning ready to go. We chatted as we drove to the theater holding the camp (which she pointed out is a dumb word for a week long class as there is no campfire or tents). We passed Lucy’s school. She started asking questions about first grade, who her teacher is going to be, where her classroom is going to be and the like. Her pitch went up a bit and I caught sight of her petrified little face in the rear view mirror and tried changing the subject. I was too late. Lucy was on her way into a bit fat freak out. She has been worried on and off about first grade since the end of the school year. She started working herself up about the camp.
“I don’t know any of the kids! Are the teachers nice? How do you know? Do you know the teachers?” By the time I parked she was in tears. She wailed that she didn’t want to go in. She begged me to take her home.
My heart broke a tiny little bit on one corner. I know just how she feels. I often get so anxious that I cannot see outside myself. I have not done so many things in my life because a sweaty panic takes over and I freeze a la deer in headlights. Over time, I have learned that the only way to come out on top is to take big gulps of air and plunge headlong at whatever is frightening me. But it sucks eggs. And I am not very good at it yet. I am totally unqualified to guide someone through a panic attack, but there I was, compass in hand, guiding away.
I gently and not so gently tugged her along and made her go to the class. She cried so hard. She begged. I doubted myself. I doubted myself again. I felt like throwing up. I wanted to scoop her up and take her home to hide. I had to sneak out when she wasn’t looking. Aaaand, she made it! Contrary to how she felt, Lucy sat through the class and failed to die from scared. Today she went willingly and reported having actual fun. In the words of Lucy’s Godmother Rachel; “What a brave little toaster!”