September 11, 2012 by vlittle528
A few years ago, when my son was starting his second year of preschool, I watched a mom break down in tears as she had to walk away from her sweet little one as they cried. I’m not sure who was crying harder, the child that was being comforted by the teacher or the mom that a few of us moms were trying to comfort. I remember telling her that it hurts just as bad when your child just waves you away, not sad that you are going at all. I lied.
Recently my kids started back to school. A big year for me, and I am so glad that they didn’t start at the same time. My son headed off to kindergarten a few weeks before my daughter started preschool. As he has done every single year, he simply walked into school, no tears. (Though this time there was a bit more hesitation). My daughter, though, she cried so hard she did the little gasping thing people do when they cry their hearts out. She begged me not to leave. She held on tight to me, refusing to let me put her down. And when it was time to go, I looked into her desperate face. She looked betrayed, terrified that I wouldn’t be back. I felt like the worst mom. I am supposed to protect her, to wipe her tears, to be there when she needs me. And here I was walking away from her.
And since that day, she is still as worried. She LOVES school, and she is excited as a little bumblebee when she gets out. But each time we walk to the doors, she grips my hand tightly and asks me not to leave. Her newest defense mechanism is to become very still, and once I let go of her hand she refuses to look at me. She doesn’t look at anyone, she doesn’t look at me. She doesn’t speak, hardly moves. She just sits. I don’t know what is harder. Looking at those crying eyes or looking at her back, not knowing if that little chin is quivering or not. But I do know that this momma’s heart still cries each time, knowing she is just another day closer to growing up.