I know how you are feeling? I know how hard school drop-off has been in the past. I know you have anxieties, along with your little one. Want to know what else I know? It WILL get better! It DOES get better. Been there, done that...
It all started the very first day of pre-school. There were tears, screaming, begging and leg gripping. It was hard...really, really hard.
"One more hug Mommy"
"Please don't leave me Mommy"
"I want to be with you Mommy"
"Why do I have to stay here Mommy?"
"Mama, where are you going?"
Each word stabbed me in the heart and I was losing a lot of blood. I felt sick, dizzy and was completely traumatized. I could only imagine how my son was feeling.
Was this normal? At the time, I didn't know that is was. Why were other kids laughing and playing while mine was having a major emotional meltdown?
The teacher would pull my son off of me as I walked away. His shouting and sadness could be heard until the pre-school door shut behind me. It was heart-wrenching.
I felt horrible. I felt like the worst parent in the world. I felt I had let my son down.
I then had my own mental breakdown in my car.
This would happen every day. It never seemed to get better. Why? Was I doing something wrong? Was he not making friends? Was he even able to calm down and learn something?
The questions and angst all became too much for us both. Things needed to change and I needed to get creative.
I gathered my ingredients for the recipe of success that I was cooking up. It had to work and I sent out positive vibes into the universe.
- A Prayer
Yes, an odd list but one that would alter our mornings for the better.
My son happened to love mints so I knew if there was something he wanted badly enough, we could work out a deal. Call it a bribe or whatever word you want, but it dried my son's tears and brought back his smile...and mine.
Here's how it went down. I told him that I was going to give him a magical mint every morning in the car when we arrived at the school parking lot. This had gotten his attention. So far, so good. I repeated my prayer in my head, "Please work, please work", and continued on with phase two.
While holding hands, we together would say, "Magic, magic, magic mint. You are going to have the best day today. Magic, magic, magic mint, Mommy loves you in every way."
I don't know why I chose those words but they flowed out of my mouth and I was going with it.
Next, we would then both kiss the mint and my son would eat it. This mint would give him magical powers for the three hours he was at school. Whenever he felt sad, he was instructed to put his hand over his heart and I would feel it in mine. He would know that even though I wasn't physically with him, I was there in his heart.
We repeated this ritual every day and while some days were more challenging than others, it worked. It made him feel safe, loved and special, and it made me feel peaceful.
I went through a lot of mints but it was worth it. We both believed in the magic of these mints and it changed everything.
One day I was supermarket shopping while my son was at school and I felt a tingle in my heart. I stopped my cart, smiled and knew he had touched his heart. If was this incredible feeling I can't even really describe.
When I picked him up I asked if he did indeed put his hand on his heart because he missed me and of course his answer was, "Yes, yes, yes I did. Did you feel it Mommy?". "Yes buddy, I most certainly did".
Call it magic, a mother's intuition or just a fluke, but it was a moment I will never forget. We still talk about it today and he is about to turn nine.
Parents, find your magical moment, as silly and strange as it may be.
You will get through this and so will your child.
My son is now in third grade and instead of holding on to me as long as possible before he goes to school, he tells me I am embarrassing him and to leave. I would call that a success...at my expense. All part of the parenting emotional roller coaster.
Do I miss him needing me the same way he did when he was two? Of course, but he still does and always will, just in a different way.
By now, you have figured out there is no handbook to parenting so we need to make one up as we go. If not, you'll be searching for a long time.
Don't ever take this parenting journey alone...we are all in it together and Together We Can Master Motherhood™!