The summer before I began kindergarten, I was filled with dread. I didn’t want to go to school.
I didn’t have any particular reason to fear kindergarten. I knew little brick elementary school building pretty well because it’s where my older sisters went. I’d gone there for Christmas concerts and the fall bazaar. In fact, I’d even gone to kindergarten for a day with Red-haired Sister and had had a great time.
But still, I hated change. I wanted to just stay home with my little brother and play traintracks on the carpet like we’d always done. I didn’t want to get on the big yellow bus with all those loud older kids, especially the tall 8th grade boys, who terrified me.
A boy from down the street told me that he knew a lucky kid who broke his leg — and got to stay home from school. That gave me a plan. All I needed to do was break my leg, and I wouldn’t have to go to school. Besides, I could probably get all kinds of attention and treats as well.
I tried my hardest that week to break my leg. My brother was a daredevil who had no fear of heights, and I followed him around, trying to jump off the same rocks he did. But unfortunately, my cautious nature kept me from hurting myself. I even went to a higher authority and prayed at night for God to break my leg, but my prayers were not answered.
Thirty-eight years later, on a hot August evening, three days before my fall semester began, I ran down the stairs in my own house, jumped the last four steps, hit the floor, and broke my leg in two places. I had to miss the first four weeks of the semester, and my leg was in a cast until January.
The leg did heal fine, but every once in a while when it’s about to rain, I’ll feel a familiar ache in the leg. I try to think of it as a subtle reminder of that change, even scary change, might well be less painful than a broken leg.