This blog has been focused, mainly, on Evelyn. But there is also Maxine. Who is the other half of my world.
A friend that we just met in person for the first time said, “Maxine is sunshine.”
And that’s just it. She is sunshine.
I’ve, more or less, spent 24 hours a day with Maxine since her arrival. We play together. We eat together. We sleep together. We’re pretty much always together.
I’ve all but designed the world in which she has lived to date. I’ve felt good about the things that I’ve let into that world and the things that I’ve kept out.
She believes that she has choices and that her, “no” will always be respected.
She is unfazed by the fact that some people speak and some people don’t. Some people walk and some people don’t.
She knows nothing of violence, monsters, bad guys, and evil. Well–there was the 5 minute trial of watching “Ratatouille.”
She doesn’t know what, “fat”, “skinny”, “stupid” and “hate” mean. Because she hasn’t heard these words.
She doesn’t have any concept of competitiveness.
I’ve poured every ounce of love and affection possible into this child.
She has bloomed and grown in the shelter of my love.
Tomorrow she starts preschool.
And I wonder.
Am I releasing my delicate flower into the elements without having given her the tools she needs to protect herself?
Yes, I realize that I am releasing her into preschool. Two mornings a week. A parent coop–chosen for its philosophies which are almost identical to my own. How exposed will she really be? I might be dramatizing just a titch.
But I worry.
You see, she understands about many things. She discusses the food chain dispassionately. She knows how her body works. She knows how to keep her body safe and healthy.
But did I keep too much out of her education thus far?
There’s this total big world out there. One that she has no idea exists. I’m sure some of it will trickle down, even, into preschool. I can’t help but to question my judgment in keeping it from her. To question my personal motives for doing so.
Kind of like procrastinating doing something unpleasant. Did I put the inevitable off for her benefit? Or mine?
I can only hope that the sense of security which I’ve been trying to love into her will be enough to preserve her as reality starts to come into focus for her.
That the foundation of trust that we’ve built, brick by brick, doesn’t crumble under the outside pressures that are waiting for her.
That her very gentle beginnings will keep her strong.
I also really hope that she doesn’t say, “fuck” or any variation thereof at school tomorrow.
My friend also has two daughters (now adults) – one with a significant disability (A) and the other without (M). When they were young and A needed alot of help and there were strangers in the house all the time, Kate worried that M would be missing out on stuff. But they both grew up to be strong, interesting women. Although when M was six she asked her mom, “Who taught me to walk?” since she remembered folks teaching A to walk and just assumed that she’d forgotten which person taught her. We all laughed. Good luck with preschool – it’s always an adventure for parent and child.