Four year old fears


Tuesday was Hannah's last "free" day at home with me (no school, no activities, she can stay in her pajamas until noon for all I care!) before she starts camp.  Tomorrow is her last day of school and then she's off to camp 5 days a week until August.   I realized tonight, as I put that bundle of energy to bed, that I'm actually emotional about this.   It's not like she's going off with a packed trunk to sleep away camp- she's only going to 4 weeks of 9-4 day camp!  I asked her today if she's excited about going off to camp and she said, "I'm a little nervous but, yes mommy, I'm excited".  I almost felt like she added that she was excited as an afterthought, for my benefit.  I asked her what she's nervous about and she simply said, "just the kids".   How simple and honest you can be when you're 4.  I tried to ease her mind by saying she shouldn't worry, that she'll make some great new friends and she quietly nodded - I knew she wanted to believe me.  So badly I wanted to know what that little brain was thinking.  Do 4 year olds worry that they'll talk too much or too little?  Do they worry about what they are going to say on that first day?  That she's wearing the right thing?  She's experienced so little in her life as far as group dynamics having been with the same kids since 6 months old at her school, that I wonder what part of meeting the new kids she fears.  She's so innocent, assumes the best from everyone, likes everyone, expects everyone will like her and becomes almost heartbroken when they don't.   These times when she comes home so sad and leans into me, waiting for my arms to wrap around her so she can feel safe, and protected like mommies are always able to do, and my eyes well up for her wishing for her hurt to go away.   How big the world must look through her little eyes especially when trying something so totally new.  I can only hope that I've given her the tools she needs to go out on this new adventure.  I can only hope that the other little 4 year olds will see (and Hannah will be able to show) the loving, passionate, magnetic, fun, silly, caring, dramatic, girl that I see each day.  I can only hope that everyone at camp will appreciate her because I sure am going to miss her.

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