Oh boy. You look like you are about to have one major anxiety attack. Please, take some deep breaths. Perhaps practice some meditations? Maybe go and find your “happy place?” Whatever you need to do, just get it together.

Believe me, I am not trying to make light of your situation. I have been there, too. In fact, I still experience a lot of the same symptoms.

Life isn’t easy for introverts like us – especially on anxiety-inducing days like these.

I saw you staring into space and looking like a lost puppy. I am guessing this is your first time? I am here to step in and tell you that all will be okay.

I know what you were thinking when you saw the group of ladies giggling and hugging each other. You assumed that they have been besties for life. You pictured them at sleepovers getting pedicures and gossiping about boys. You wondered how you would fit in this year.

You wondered if you would fit in at all.

It is all very intimidating. On top of everything, you are watching your baby go off to school for the first time. The anxiety is intense. You are now faced with the idea that you may need to make friends as well. You may need to do something that is quite difficult for those of us in this category of loners: socialize. All of a sudden, you feel as if you are in high school again.

When my daughter started school five years ago, I had many of the same worries. I was fortunate enough to have bonded with another mom, but when she wasn’t around I would panic. The first meetings of the school years brought on such worry. I felt like a fish out of water. I would overthink everything:

“I see the lady that said hello to me the other day, is it acceptable to go and sit with her?”

“What if they ask for volunteers?”

“Please don’t tell me we have to introduce ourselves!”

“What if they don’t like me?”

It was a slow process, but I learned to focus on what was really important: my daughter. She was the one I was there for.

I am not saying it was easy. However, I took baby steps. I just did what I felt was right. I realized that everyone was the new kid at some point.

I took a few deep breaths. I accepted that is was okay to be myself. I tried to surround myself with those who liked to laugh and not take themselves too seriously. Having a sense of humor is important, you know.

Mostly, I tried to stop caring about what others thought. I started to understand that I did not need to be in a particular “group.” I could be friendly with anyone.

Interestingly enough, I began to see the cool irony of the situation. My daughter was a little anxious and shy as well.

I always urged her to smile and say hello.

I always encouraged her to be kind and gentle with others.

Wouldn’t I be doing her an injustice if I wasn’t taking some of my own advice?

Now, at 44 years old, I am doing this Kindergarten orientation process for the last time. My youngest child begins his journey this year. It is bittersweet.

I won’t lie and say that I was perfectly calm that day, because I wasn’t. However, I went with the flow and talked to a few moms. It will be interesting to see what kind of relationships build for both kids and parents this year. It is scary, but mostly exciting. It will be a fun year and we will all get through it together – I assure you!

Now, if I could only get my hands on those 10 turquoise folders and 50 glue sticks…