This morning I was lying in bed, half awake, half asleep. As is the case with most mom’s I was running through the day and mentally preparing myself for the million and one tasks that I had to do. We’ve all been there.
Then I remembered.
I have been so very lucky that for the past four years of the girls going to school I can count on one hand the number of days that I have had to leave them there screaming and crying and have them pulled off me. One hand! Two kids! Counted my blessings.
Then last week rolled around and my youngest has been getting worse by the day. It started with me being shocked at her crying and clinging so I did the worst thing possible and took her home with me, thinking she was just having a bad day or was possibly getting sick. Big mistake!
The next day was fine, there were a few tears but I managed to convince her to stay. From the day after that until yesterday it’s dramatically got worse every day.
I used to watch one particular couple and their boys. They had this every day for nearly two years to the point that they would both drop their kids off together, I’m assuming more for moral support for each other rather than necessity. Some parents deal with it almost every day! I used to feel sorry for them, and I used to count my blessings and be proud of my girls and the fact that they loved school and were happy to go.
Last term this same child of mine wouldn’t even let me walk in the school gate, let alone take her to her classroom.
Me: Please can I walk you to your classroom today?
Her: No!!! I’m a big girl. *runs away from me*
On Sunday she asked me how much longer does she have to go to school for?
My reply of “18 years” may have been the wrong one! She was devastated.
Yesterday she collapsed herself on the path halfway to her classroom. I walked back to her and tried to reason with her. I took her bag and carried on walking hoping she would follow me. She didn’t. Her teacher (already prepared for this) and I walked back towards her together and she ran for the gate. We weren’t meaning to bear down on her but I’m guessing that’s how she saw it, and she bolted. Finally she ran to me and clung to my legs, screaming hysterically. We had to pry her off and her teacher had to hold on to her whilst I literally ran to my car.
My heart was broken.
I got home and had a little cry, still sitting in my car. The hugest mommy guilts ever! What kind of mother puts her child through that? I don’t even work, does she even need to go to school? Maybe I should just let her stay home with me forever, surely that’s better than the emotional trauma I’m putting her through?
An hour later her teacher sent me a video of her playing with her friends, laughing, having a great time, like nothing even happened.
My heart was still broken.
So this morning whilst lying in bed I really just did not want the day to start. I knew I was going to have trouble just trying to get her dressed after yesterday’s drop-off. And sure enough, it was the first thing she said to me this morning, still half asleep …
“Mommy, I don’t want to go to school today.”
I did my best today. I did some of the best mommying of my whole mommy career. I took it one step at a time. Just eat your breakfast. Just get dressed. Just put your shoes on. Just brush your teeth. Just let me brush your hair.
Then she told me that the teacher in the classroom next to her had said she could be the one to feed the class birds today and I saw my window of opportunity.
We have pet birds and so I asked her if she’d like to take some of ‘Blue’s’ seeds to school today for the little birds, and it seemed to be working. I saw a spark of interest. She then cooperated until we got out of the car at school.
My eldest just took off running, not wanting to be part of any of this, I’m sure. I got sympathetic looks off the other parents who realised what was happening. I know those looks, I’ve given those looks out in the past.
It wasn’t as bad as I thought though, with gentle persuasion and coaxing, I managed to get her to walk herself to the classroom with the bird seed. The teachers were ready for another scene, but she was very excited about feeding the birds. As soon as I saw she was engrossed in feeding the birds I slipped out the room and again, ran to my car, lest she turn around and realise I’d left her.
I know why she’s behaving like this. I know. We are in the drawn out process of relocating. Daddy is working away, then he comes home, then her half-sister comes to visit, then daddy and her sister go away. It’s a lot to process for little kids. There’s no way we can expect the transition to happen without a few bumps in the road.
But my heart is still broken. I only pray that tomorrow will be easier, that today we broke the downward spiraling cycle of misery and tears and heartbreak. For both our sakes.