Yesterday, Emilia brought home her very first report card. Emilia is four. Just yesterday she was in diapers and nursing and the only thing that anyone ever reported about her was quantity and quality of her bowel movements. How did we get to report cards?
For the longest time, I couldn’t open it. I’m not sure why. The reasons that I gave myself – that reading others’ evaluations of my child would be awkward and challenging; that the report card was a symbol of school and so a symbol of her moving ever further into a life of her own, a life apart from mine; that I just couldn’t bear to see anything other than the highest praise for my child – were not, in themselves, convincing. They just landed in my psyche and fell limp, like drained water balloons, or banana peels, or something else more figuratively appropriate that I can’t think of right now. I was anxious for all of these reasons, and for none of them, and for a thousand other reasons that I probably wouldn’t understand until sometime around her high school graduation, and as I sifted through these known and unknown and entirely inscrutable reasons for my anxiety, I thought, this is the problem. This. This worry. Not the reasons for the worry. The worry itself.