She hardly ate anything yesterday and even forewent her usual bedtime snack. Even though my soon-to-be 4-year-old daughter Neva fell asleep without too much trouble, she did spend the entire night tossing and turning.
This morning, the bundle of boundless energy that often greets us had been replaced by a somber and unenthusiastic grunt. Dragging her out of bed in time was challenging enough but we had to make sure that she didn't fall face first into her cereal.
Having finally gotten her dressed, I carried her the entire way just so we wouldn't be late. Somehow this was not how we imagined her first day of school. My wife Kathleen and I were quite excited yet anxious ourselves, but Neva's enthusiasm had evaporated. Understandably, she was nervous, even scared. But never had we seen her this afraid.
As we waited for her teacher to open the door to let in this year's junior kindergarten class, I could see the stress on all of our faces. Slowly, the door opened, and we were all greeted with a cheerful "Hello! C'mon in". Slowly at first Neva went towards the door but upon seeing her friend Lynton, the little girl from down the street, Neva was suddenly transformed.
Gone was the sluggish walk, the cranky voice, the weight of unimaginable misery. She didn't even say good-bye ...