No shower. Running clothes. Ponytail. Sobbing on the sidewalk outside my son’s Kindy (preschool). Yep, that was me. It was awful! We spent the previous day together enjoying his new school, but today…well today I was supposed to leave my wee boy in a new place with people he didn’t know. That’s me, not my kid. I would love it. New friends that yet to know they are my friends. See every person I meet is a friend that doesn’t know they are my friend yet. But my son, no he’s not wired like that. He needs to observe, know the plan ahead, know people well, enjoy it a few days or weeks then and only then is he himself. Yesterday I walked in thinking I stayed for awhile then left for an hour. I was wrong. I was meant to leave straight away. I didn’t set him up well, he wasn’t ready for me just leaving. I talked to him a little bit and he just cried begging me not to go. My heart broke but I knew he could do it and needed to do it. I set the timer and when it went off I left. I walked into the hallway with my boy screaming and tears stung my eyes. Trying to keep it together I asked the teacher how long I needed to stay away. She lovingly looked at me and said, “how about only 30 minutes.”
I quickly left with tears streaming down my face the when the door clicked shut I was sobbing. I didn’t say I love you no matter what. I didn’t prepare him. I didn’t pray for him in the car like the day before. Sobbing. Hot mess. In front of this Kindy in this little city in the middle of New Zealand. What have I just done? This sweet mom was leaving too and said sympathetically, “Is it your first day?” I looked up and was sobbing, “Yes. Yes it is.” She quickly gave me a hug and said she did the same thing, her kids cried too and it took her two weeks to feel somewhat better. Then she looked me in the eye and said the teachers are lovely and wonderful. I was still sobbing but feeling a little okay. As she continued encouraging me I had to giggle on the inside. I. Was. A. Hot. Mess. I was in running clothes. No make up. Hair in a pony tail. And had red puffy eyes. I like looking nice and put together. I especially like looking that way when I newly meet people. Not going to happen this time. Here I was my absolute true and vulnerable self. A mess of grand proportion.
Truth be told it’s a good thing. I do love being put together but that’s because I enjoy that, I like presenting myself before words (or my loud accent) even comes out. But I also am this person, a hot crazy mess sometimes. While I was simultaneously crying, thinking these thoughts and listening to this sweet mom I received a text. It was the school. My son was happy painting. I hadn’t even made it to my car and he was fine. I was still sobbing but he was fine.
I went on my run and even received another text saying stay out longer because he is doing so well. On my run I sobbed for the first song but realized this whole leaving him thing is about me not him. He needs the independence and the confidence without me there. It’s why I’m putting him in school. Yet all of me wanted to scoop him up and take him home and never make him do a scary thing again. That’s not us though. My husband and I do scary things, we risk, we try the impossible and we do it even though we are scared. The thrill of achieving it is a feeling that is unmatched by anything. Was I really going to rob my boy of that because my emotions couldn’t handle it? Ugh. This was way more about me than him. This is what I spent the last three years doing. Preparing him for his moment of confidence and achievement. I ran on and let that just sink in.
When I returned to his school. He was happily playing in the sand pit. When he finally saw me I would love to say he smiled and ran towards me hugging me. He did not. He was very quiet and not very happy with me. We stayed for another hour together and he talked lots and laughed with me there. He is confident when I’m there, but reality is I want him to experience confidence without me there. Because how awkward is it going to be at 15 if I’m still standing next to him on the rugby field giving him cuddles. Awkward weird mom alert. So we both have to do hard things to help him realize this truth: he is confident.
We start again on Monday. His first real day without me. By the time we got home Friday he said he loved his new Kindy and wasn’t going to cry Monday. We will see how it goes but I know him and I both need this. I will hopefully be getting a job soon (been looking for weeks but everything has fallen through) and we will both then have very important things to do in the morning.
New and different. Change and growth. Life. It’s good and hard all at once.