The night before, she was so excited about how she’d turned a summery white church hat into her own goofy creation. I admired her active imagination, along with the hat.
As she climbed out of the car the next morning, I thought I heard a hint of doubt in her voice as she wondered aloud how many other kids would wear crazy hats. I knew exactly how she felt – except that she’s much braver than I am. I would have been one of the “safe” students, sporting a traditional baseball cap or a tame straw hat.
As I drove away in the car, my heart walked with her – down the breezeway, up the stairs, through the hallway. “Like her hat,” I silently pleaded with her classmates. “Admire her handiwork,” I mentally begged the teacher. “Don’t let her be crushed,” I prayed as I sat at the stoplight, wondering how her entrance to the classroom had gone.
Oh, how I long to protect her from ever being embarrassed or feeling out of place! I yearn to keep her self-confidence blooming and her individuality in tact. I admire her for stepping out boldly, displaying a hint of vulnerability, and refusing to take the safe, predictable route.
But I guess it’s part of life, another scene in the movie of growing up – taking risks and not knowing how you will be judged by your peers.
I just know that when I pick her up from school this afternoon, I hope she’s still wearing her hat.