Sunday, September 6, 2015

The Land of Elementary School Tears

I can’t remember a time that both kids were happy at school drop off and not crying. I’m emotionally tapped. This has to end.
I posted that on Facebook the other night with the caveat: Please no comments about how I will miss this time. Maybe one day, but for now I reside full time in the land of elementary school tears and it sucks.
The comments I received were so caring and understanding. Sometimes Facebook is really fantastic. I put something desperately into the void and wonderful community came out of it.
Everyday I drop off, I have to walk away from arms outstretched and the saddest little voices crying my name: Mama! “Powerlessness. I remember,” someone commented on my Facebook post. That’s it exactly.
I get inside my Mom Blogger skin and think about what I should wisely say in a post about this: Let them miss me. Let them cry. It will be okay. And so will I.
But that Zen-like rational is not helping.  All I can think is: I hope this is not doing permanent damage when I walk away. Does it seem uncaring to them? Because their screams are layered with feelings of abandonment. I also realize that this is not as dyer as my imagination makes it out to be. Of course they will be okay! It’s school drop off. This is not Sophie’s Choice.
They don’t do this when anyone else drops them off either. So of course I’m like, “Ah ha! It’s because I’m the sucker and this is a manipulation.” But it’s not. Because they get nothing out of it that they want and still do it. I don’t give in to their crazy demands of staying home from school (Smirker screamed for an hour one evening “I wanna be sick!” over and over again to get out of going to school in the morning and continued when she woke up) or sitting with them on the carpet with the rest of the Kindergarteners for the morning lessons like she wanted (Just sit with me mom!). I walk away without looking back feeling like a cold calculated criminal. I get sad looks from the other parents (whose kids are NOT crying by the way).
So the only real conclusion to draw is this is happening because I’m the best mom ever. Sigh. It really is a burden sometimes. I know I’m so amazing, girls, and so much fun to hang out with, but come on! I kid, but…. Moms really do rule the day. Moms rule. Dads are cool.
So I came up with a plan, a ritual if you will.
“Okay guys, I have an idea,” I said to the girls one night at bedtime. “School drop off have been hard….”
They both looked a little guilty and ready to turn on the tears.
“It’s because we miss you sooooooooo much,” Smirker said.
“We LOVE you mom,” Love Monster said.
“What will make you feel a little better when I have to leave you at school?” I said.
I was sitting on Smirker’s bed and she was playing with my hair. I looked to Love Monster first.
“I will bring my Tiana from Princess and the Frog! I’ll hug her because she reminds me of you,” LM said.
“Great!” I said.
“And I’ll bring the Sidekicks book because if I get sad that makes me smile.” LM finished.
She is obsessed with Dan Santat’s book Sidekicks.
“Smirker?” I said
Smirker was still stroking the front section of my hair. “I would like this chunk of hair. It’s so smooth and soft.”
Okay, pyscho. Yep she really is my daughter. Is this so bad that we are resorting to chopping off a chunk of my hair so my daughter won’t miss me at school?? My witchy baby.
“I like where you head is at Smirker, but NO.”
She opted for a picture of LM, her and I.
The next morning we were ready.
I took LM to her line outside and she immediately clutched Tiana to her chest and and sat down to read Sidekicks. “Bye mom!”
Smirker looked a little more shaky. She clutched the picture, staring at it while sitting on the carpet when her teachers started class and I slipped away relieved.
No tears. That day. It’s still a little shaky. But at least we have some tools now.

Both girls especially Smirker are in the stage that if I’m near them in any way, they are glued to me. They have to have some kind of contact. On my lap, holding my handing, laying on top of me, sitting on my shoulders. Anything. They want that physical contact all the time. I am totally in that time, that sweet spot, where Love Monster and Smirker aren’t afraid to show me how much they need me, want me. Need to have me near.

Will I miss the Land of Elementary School Tears? NO. NOT EVER. But will I miss the no holds barred outpouring of love and emotion for me, their mom? Yes. I know as they grow up they will need to separate. They will un-cling and yearn for independence. I’m prepared (as best I can be) for the opposite of what is happening now. When they will push me away. And I know that will not mean they don’t love me any more. But I will miss those times of unabashed need of me. But for now, they cling. I will hold on tight (except at school drop off when I have to be the “worst” and leave them in the best school in the world).