My son has started pre-school and though it’s only for a couple of days a week, I am having a harder time than he is with the separation.
The first two days were short days as the children got acclimated to school and the routine. Today is the first “full day”. Though full days are only 2 ½ hours long, it feels like all day to this first time mom.
It felt so weird getting into my car without him with me and even weirder when I arrived home, exited the car and entered the house alone. As I put my key in the lock and turned it, I felt like a part of me was missing so I turned around to look. I’m not sure why I turned around like I did, I just did it as if my mind asked, “Aren’t you forgetting something?”
I don’t think I have ever come home without my son at least being in the house when I get there and I find the silence that I thought would be a welcome refuge to actually be quite deafening. Coming home to an empty house can be a very lonely and scary feeling when for 3 years you have always had a little shadow following right behind you.
I find myself struggling with feelings I have read and heard other parents talk about, but never truly felt till today. I know it’s the beginning of the letting go we all must do with our children, but like so many parents, I can’t help but feel a sense of sadness and loss.
We try so hard to teach our children independence. First it may be how to hold a spoon and feed themselves. Then it’s how to walk and on to potty training. Later it may be going down the big slide alone and the sting you feel inside when the child boldly announces they don’t need you to catch them at the bottom of the slide anymore.
We teach them these little life skills and are thrilled when they master them, but at the same time are hearts are heavy and even break a little as we realize a part of that life is now gone…….forever.
It is a dichotomy, us wanting to teach our children to live independently from us while at the same time desperately holding on to the baby we once knew. The baby that once looked to us for absolutely everything now barely notices when we say goodbye and leave the classroom.
Looking back at my son eagerly starting his first activity of the day as I slowly walk away makes me realize you can live without your heart. You can drive away, go home, go to the grocery, the post office, the gym and even count the minutes all while your heart has been left behind to sit next to your child while he learns, and fly with him when he runs and plays.
And then, when you go and greet your child you can feel your heart and all its love soar right back into your chest the moment you embrace him and feel his little arms around your neck. Though the love hits you harder than a thousand trucks, it makes you feel light as a feather.
Isn’t it amazing?
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