I love my Curls. She is a great big sister to Red, loves to help, and astonishes me on a daily basis with her reading and ability to spell anything (Scripps National Spelling Bee, here we come). So when I got an email from her teacher that she had chosen her as student of the month, I was thrilled. But I was also nervous for my girl.
In certain situations, Curls turns inward and becomes deathly shy. She becomes frozen, eyes hit the floor, and she becomes mute.
So while I was happy, I knew walking up to get her award in front of her whole school was going to be the tiniest of problems.
Hubs and I told her the good news. We tried to prepare her. We explained what was going to happen and that she would have to walk up to get her award and shake hands with the assistant principal, the nicest man ever. We told her it would be easy peasy. I also told her we would go out for ice cream that evening.
The day of we got up earlier than usual. I did my Curls’ hair all fancy. All four of us loaded into the car and went to the school, excited to see one of our own be recognized for her awesomeness.
The assembly began at 815, outside behind the school office. All the proud parents made a semicircle around the assembled students, seated neatly in rows of chairs. Curls’ class was near the front. This eased the tension in my shoulders a portion, relieved that she wouldn’t have to walk far. Every few minutes she would turn and look at us to make sure we were still there.
Then the assistant principal starts talking about how the school was beginning to partner with local businesses and that they had a surprise guest. He was a mascot from a restaurant. From around the corner of the building comes an EIGHT FOOT TALL armadillo. Cue the oh shit, oh shit, oh shit in my head.
This is what he looked like:
This is what hubby and I saw:
I looked at Curls. She was Grumpy Cat impressed. As in, not.at.all. I thought, maybe this would be okay. Apparently I was hallucinating due to lack of sleep.
Awards began getting handed out. Each student walked up with excitement, shaking hands with the assistant principal and then the armadillo.
The time came for Curls to shine. Her teacher said wonderful things about her and then said Curls’ name. I whooped and hollered, hoping she could feel our support. But she just sat there. I’m thinking, “Oh baby girl, please GET UP.” But nope, she wasn’t having it. She looked at her dad and I and then tried to make herself smaller in her seat. I took a deep breath and ran to her. I half carried/walked her up to the front. She was rigid, every movement an effort. The assistant principal gave her the award and told her congratulation with a big smile. I had to force her hand into his to simulate a handshake. Then I dragged her to Andy the Armadillo to get her free meal coupon. I gave my embarrassed thanks to everyone and even shook the Armadillo’s hand (claw?) to show Curls there was nothing to be scared of. As I escorted her back to her seat, the assistant principal joked, “I have no idea why she would be afraid of an eight foot armadillo.” Curls tried to stay attached to me like Velcro when we arrived at her seat but I managed to peel her off and leave her with the class.
Baby girl will face many obstacles in her life. And when she is facing one of said obstacles, I will tell her the story of how she faced down an eight foot armadillo at age five and lived to tell the tale.