When we moved, I wanted to get the kids involved in something quickly so I found a fall softball league for Alyssa. She was all in.
For her to play, we were required to buy equipment that she’d never had before for her very own. You’ve heard from Charles Shultz that happiness is a warm puppy? He was wrong. It turns out that happiness is actually a purple batting helmet.
After we bought it, she wouldn’t take it off. She wore it around the house during her regular daily routine.
She took it with her everywhere she went.
When we went to register Dylan for middle school, we were in a hurry and she got out of the car last. I was already outside the guidance office when I realized Alyssa was wearing the helmet. Inside the school.
Dylan pleaded with her, begged her to take it off, but they were already calling us in for the meeting.
She kept it on the entire time.
A few days later at the grocery store, Dylan asked her repeatedly–in his outside voice–who she was and why she was following us around, because she was still wearing it.
The next week when I asked her to get ready to meet the teachers and principal at her new elementary school, I wasn’t one bit surprised to find this.
I celebrate that my daughter marches to the beat of her own drum. But, I figured there’d been enough first impressions with the helmet.
First impressions stick. I try to act normal when I know they are going to happen, so I talked her into leaving her helmet at home during orientation.
We met her principal and both her teachers, and things were going very well. As I talked with her math teacher, Mr. Greene, Alyssa explored the room. She took her time, looking carefully at everything he had displayed, and then at the shelves themselves. We both noticed when she began running her fingers across them and then wiping the dust from her hands.
“Would you like a dust cloth?” he asked.
“Nah,” she said, “that’s okay.”
“Are you a hard worker?”
She shook her head and shrugged. “No, not really.”
He raised his eyebrows. “Well, I appreciate your honesty,” he said, turning back to me.
I had nothing.
There really wasn’t much to say, you know? She did act normal.
Maybe I should’ve let her wear the helmet after all.