When I went to kindergarten, I was one of the smallest children, as height. It might have been also the consequence of going to kindergarten one year earlier than the other kids, but at that moment I did not know this.
For special occasions like Christmas or Mother’s Day, the lady educator would teach us poems, songs and dances that would be afterwards performed in front of our families, at kindergarten. When we were dancing in pairs, my pair was a boy who was also the smallest in the class, as height.
When staying all of us in front of our parents, the audience, I was also near the smallest children. This made me feel awkward, like I had a deficiency, ashamed, thinking that something was wrong with me because of my height.
All these celebrations made me feel always heavy inside, exposed in a negative way, as all parents would witness how small I was. Oh, what a shame! I felt so helpless, wrong, not big enough. The celebrations were definitely not a joy for me, I wished they did not take place.
That’s what I am going to do.
Cristina from now goes to the kindergarten, as it was back then, opens the gate to the courtyard, then enters the building. On the corridor smells of food, prepared in the kindergarten’s kitchen for children’s lunch. I walk slowly, then enter into small Cristina’s classroom. Nobody can see me, only she can. Small Cristina is playing with some toys. I go near her and we look at each other. I breath.
I see a little girl who just needs to be reassured that she is ok just the way she is, that she is lovable no matter her height. She cannot put in words her fears, but I can and I will. I also know that she trusts me.
So I hold her in my arms and we stay like this for a while.
Then, I ask her to show me three of her favorite toys. She brings a doll, a bear and a duck. She likes to dress and undress the doll, feed her and put her to sleep; the bear is interesting for her because it makes sounds, while the duck is very colored. I tell small Cristina: “I like the doll too because it has beautiful blue eyes and a nice smile. The bear has a soft fur and I like to caress him. As for the duck, he is bold and very funny. Cristina, which one of them is the smallest?”. Small Cristina says: “The bear”. “That is right, the bear is the smallest. Cristina, would you consider not playing with him anymore because it is smaller than the doll and the duck?” She thinks for a while and shakes her head. Then I go on: “My dear Cristina, I see that being among the smallest children in the class makes you feel sad, as if something is wrong with you. I am here to tell you that I see and feel your pain. But I also want to tell you that, just like you enjoy playing with the bear, who is smaller than the other toys, for the children who play with you it does not matter if you are small or tall. There is nothing wrong with the bear and there is nothing wrong with you.”
She looks at me with her brown eyes and says nothing. I kiss her forehead and then I tell her: “I am leaving now, but I will be around, for sure.”
Next time she has a celebration with all parents invited, I come there too. She sees me and I smile at her, sending a thought of love, acceptance and encouragement. She smiles back and waves her hand at me.
When she comes in front of the public to say her part, I feel her emotions, but also her easier heart, as now she knows that there is nothing wrong with her being smaller as height than the other children. No need to feel ashamed anymore.