Back to school blues.

23 Nov

Today, as I sat at my teacher in-service day workshop, I got to thinking.

I looked around the large conference table, and stared at the faces of the women around me; my beloved colleagues.

I could not love my job or coworkers more.

And so, as I sat there, between bites of pizza and rounds of ice-breaker games,

I realized that these women,

these faces,

these ladies whom I’ve grown to love

will someday soon be the people with whom I will leave my daughter.

Before I know it, I am going to have to drop my daughter off at the classroom door

and run away, as she cries for me.

Or, you know, run away, as I cry for her.

Whatever the case may be.

As I mulled this over, I started to remember to take my own advice.

I wrote about just this, over at Babyssentials for my column, The Little Scholar*.

I blah-blah-blahed over there about the Back to School Blues.

It was easy.

My daughter was 16 weeks old. She couldn’t even sit up on her own.

And I wrote, quite emphatically, about the importance of giving a child independence and ripping off the back to school bandage.

And then, my daughter grew up.

And now, I’m the crazy parent who will want to lurk in threshold of the classroom

and unwrap my kid’s clementine for her.

I won’t do those things, but I will want to.

But, thank goodness for me, the bodies that I will be pushing my daughter into are ones that I know well;

they are the hands that rubbed my belly as my daughter kicked from deep inside;

they are the arms that embraced me, as I cried, missing baby girl as I went back to work;

they are the women whom I’ve learned from and loved with.

So no matter how hard it will be I know that she,

that we,

will be ok.

No blues

or bandaids

necessary.

(*just in case you (or I. I!!!) need a little reminder, below is my article on how to beat those blues and be better for it.)

As originally published on Babyssentials

There are so many reasons that I am so thankful that I became a teacher before becoming a mom. I now know that ear infections sometimes make a child’s ear smell. I know how to pack a mean lunch. I know how annoying it is when parents don’t label their child’s clothing, only to get mad when a sock gets lost in the school-day-shuffle.

But, most importantly, I know an incredible secret about children who scream, cry, kick, throw tantrums, curse (okay, maybe I’m exaggerating here, but, it gets ugly!) when their parents drop them off from school. These children, who leave their parents as red-faced, teary-eyed messes, are fine in approximately 30 seconds after their parents drive away. They just are.

I’ve seen it time and time again; screaming child clinging to the minivan door as the mother in the front seat weeps in abject despair; sobbing little one clinging to daddy’s leg as he tries to exit the classroom door. Talk about heart wrenching.

Yet, as soon as the parent is out of sight, the child is happy as can be. Yes, sometimes it takes some extra TLC from the teacher, in the form of a few minutes on the lap or a quick hug, but, like clockwork, within five minutes, those frowns are turned upside-down, as the child is thrown into the exciting school day.

Now that I’m a mother (OK, so my daughter is only 16 weeks old, but still) I can’t imagine how heartbreaking it must be to drop off your child when she is happy.

You mean, I won’t get to experience her every smile today?

You mean, someone else will tie her shoe, kiss her boo-boos and unwrap her string cheese?

I can’t even fathom how trying it must be to leave your child when she is distraught, let alone wailing. But, I’m here to tell you that the very best thing you can do for your child is the very thing that defies every parental instinct and goes against every mommy bone in your mommy body; you must leave, and leave fast.

As impossible as it seems, I promise you, your child will be fine. The sooner you make your getaway and let your child adjust to his or her teacher, friends and classroom, the better. It’s just like ripping off a band-aid; it may sting for a moment, but then, the pain is over, so fast that you hardly knew it was there.

And so, the next time that you go to drop your child off at school, and the tears and “No mommy! Don’t leave me!”s begin, please, heed my advice, put the pedal to the metal and high-tail your mommy-mobile out of there.

Your child will be fine. Your child will be happy. Your child will be well taken care of.  Your child will be learning new, and wonderful things, that he or she didn’t know yesterday. And, most of all, your child will be able to tell you all about his or her day when you pick him or her up after school’s end. And, the excited greeting and kiss hello makes any drop-off antics worth every single, solitary, salty tear.

After all, the greatest thing I’ve learned from being a teacher and a mommy is that the best part of being away from your child, even if only for a few moments, is being back together, again.

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