Okay – so it was a three day weekend. Four day, as Sam had been home sick last Thursday. And the weekend was filled with seders and late nights, so he’s still somewhat sleep deprived. So maybe I should have seen it coming. But I didn’t.
He absolutely lost it this morning at drop off. Hysterical sobbing, refusing to get out of the van, it was awful. I made him go – there was no good reason for him not to. He had gotten a solid eleven hours of sleep last night, he wasn’t sick – he needed to go. But I feel like the worst mother in the world. He’s so little, and why am I teaching him that I’ll just drive away when he’s sobbing and miserable and desperate for a hug?
I think sometimes that I was scarred by the attachment parenting literature I read so much of. Too many descriptions of how crying it out is just teaching your infant that you won’t be there for them. He’s almost six years old, he’s at school with familiar teachers and I’m not abandoning him. I’m not. Right?
I know he’s fine now. I know that. I know that his teacher will hug him and love him and that he needs the time with kids his own age, and with adults that he can trust other than me. I know that he’s grown up so much this year, become so much more confident and happy and self assured. I know that. So why can’t I get the image of his little sobbing face out of my mind? Why do I keep reliving it? I counted to three to get him out of the car, and was totally unsympathetic – any sympathy from me would have made it worse. So I dragged him out of the car and passed him off to the teacher and then sat in the van and sobbed. The secretary gestured for me to go, so I drove back home, and called to make sure that he was okay.
He is. I’m not, but he is.
Parenting doesn’t get any easier. When they get bigger. I mean, it gets a little less labor intensive – but mentally – it’s just as hard. Harder. Because their wants are not their needs. It’s not easy to know what’s the right thing to do. And even harder to guess. Is it right to send him to school? Is it wrong to shelter him? Given the choice, Sam would stay home 24/7. I have to push him out of the nest a little, just to show him that the world is a good place and that he’s safe and loved and secure.
I know he’s better off at school, I can see the difference in him. He’s voluntarily going to playdates, he’s chatting with relatives and enjoying time with other people. He’s exposed to new ideas and new things, and that’s awesome for him. But this morning was horrible, and I feel like the worst mother in the world.