“He will be just fine in a couple of minutes. Delaying it will make it worse. I promise you—it will be okay. Just go, Mama.”
I probably said those exact words a hundred times in the ten years that I ran my daycare. Sometimes kids get upset when Mama or Daddy leaves, but when they are out of sight all is well. I know this. I know that it’s separation anxiety and I know how to handle it. I well know the causes and I know the best way to manage these scenes.
But today it happened to me.
Logan has been home with Grandma and Grandpa for two weeks (and with Mama as well for eleven of those days). He had all weekend with just Mama and Daddy and all was right in his world. He woke up happy and cooperative and knew he was going to daycare and seemed to be perfectly okay with that. However, things didn’t exactly go quite as planned.
One itty bitty “upset” sent him into a roaring tantrum at 7:30 this morning at the front door of the daycare. My heart? It broke in two. I saw his arms flailing, heard his scream, saw his face contort, and I stopped. I was torn. My brain said to just say goodbye and leave. My heart didn’t let me do it. And as much as I hate to admit this, I said to him, “One more hug and I have to go. I’ll see you after work Logan. I love you”.
Ugh. The dreaded “extra hug” that makes it worse. I did that. I couldn’t stop myself. I knew not to do it, but my child was rolling on the ground screaming and all I wanted was for him to stop. WITH EVERY FIBER OF MY BEING. STOP.
I’ve never seen him do THAT. I’ve seen other kids do it many, many times. I’ve been on the receiving end of this scene. Turns out, being on the other end is so much worse than I could have ever imagined.
It was like someone took my sweet little boy and screamed, “Release the Kraken”! I turned around and hurriedly walked back to my Jeep. I had to force my legs to keep moving, and my stomach instantly was in knots. But one step at a time and I made it. I stepped into the Jeep, sat behind the wheel, started backing out of the drive, and I called my husband. Tears were just flowing down my cheeks. Me. The same girl that went through classes on how to deal with this sort of thing. The same person that trained other people on how to handle separation anxiety. Yep. It’s different when the shoe is on the other foot.
It shattered me.
Here I am an hour later and I’m still sick to my stomach over it. I KNOW he is perfectly okay. He ADORES Amanda and he really does love going there. I do not doubt that he is playing with the other kids and laughing and as content as can be. I just can’t get that image out of my head. I hear my mother’s voice in my head from my childhood and I think I finally GET IT.
“It’s harder on me than it is on you.”
Yes, Mama. It totally is. And I hate it when you’re right.