If there ever was a time in my life that foreshadowed my adolescent years (and beyond), it would have to be when I was 6 and in first grade.
I went to school in Murdock–a teeny tiny little town in Minnesota–and I think I was pretty well-liked. I don’t know for sure, but in my memory, I was.
The first day in first grade I was SOOOOO excited. I unloaded all my school supplies into my desk and settled in.
Then, at the end of the first day of “real” school (That’s what I called it. Man, looking back on my life, I should have realized just how opinionated I was going to be), I packed my crayons and pencils and kleenexes and notebooks and markers and everything I had just brought to school at the beginning of the first day into my backpack and brought it home. When I got home, my mom took my bag from me and was so confused why it was so heavy.
Mom–Gianna, what’s in here?
Me–All my school stuff.
Mom–Why did you bring everything home?
Me–Isn’t that what you do when you come home from school?
Mom–No, sweetie (or some term of endearment). You leave that in your desk.
Me–Then, what does everyone bring home from school? I thought you brought things home from school when you were in real school.
My poor mom and dad. They had so much explaining to do. And if they weren’t explaining to me, then I was explaining to them why my thought process was logical.
In first grade, my teacher went on maternity leave. I don’t remember her name, but I. LOVED. HER. Before she came back, I planned a welcome back party for her. All by myself.
The boys weren’t invited.
It was going to be during the school day.
The sub pointed out that the boys wouldn’t have anywhere to go. They would have to stay in the classroom.
I was so disappointed!
The night before the big party, my mom and I made O’Henry bars (peanut butter and milk chocolate bars. YUM!). This was when we were still allowed to bring in homebaked goods and share them with the whole class in school. And my mom made my teacher a sachet (one of those pillows that had potpourri inside that you put in your linen closet).
I got to school the next day and I was SO excited. However, no one else remembered. NO ONE REMEMBERED my party. I was the ONLY one who had brought her a gift. Everyone else gave her pencils.
Maybe there was an eraser or two as well.
I was so disappointed.
But the O’Henry bars were awesome and really, nothing beats good food at a party. Even in 1st grade!
Then, my world turned upside down.
We moved to Two Harbors into the coolest house ever. My dad decided he wanted to back in social work, and that’s where he found a job. The house we moved into had 3 bedrooms upstairs and one of the rooms had the bathroom in it.
I’m not sure how I got it, but I got that one.
I’m sure my parents were pumped because now I wouldn’t yell for them in the middle of the night when I had to go potty.
I still yelled for them even though the bathroom door was 3 feet from my bed. Okay, maybe 5 feet, but really. I should have gone by myself without any problems.
Also starting at a new school in the middle of the school year was rough. I was so anxious about going to school that I physically got sick. Then, my mom came and spent a morning with me (I think the teacher knew I was not adjusting well). From then on, my mom became my advocate to move me to a different room. I don’t remember why I didn’t like the teacher, but my mom saw whatever I saw and made a move happen.
When I moved to Mrs. Peterson’s room, I met Barbie (my soon-to-be new best friend!) and Andy Saur–and maybe Matt Sheils. I really liked Mrs. Peterson. But moving in the middle of the school year was still hard, and I would go to school everyday and cry.
I don’t know how long this went on, but one day, my dad drove me to school, walked into my room with me, helped me to get settled in my desk, and squatted down on his knees to talk to me. I remembered that he told me it was okay to cry, and if I felt like crying, I should just put my head on my desk and cry. When I was done, I would feel much better.
After that talk, I don’t know how much more I cried, but even just having permission to be sad made me feel better. I did cry more, but it was not long after that I fell into a routine and started to enjoy the rest of the year. Especially when the school year ended with the bus driver taking us to Dairy Queen and picking up Dilly Bars for everyone.
And everyone know that the Dairy Queen in Two Harbors is the best Dairy Queen in the world!