By Chelsea Meyers
It was the first day of preschool and I knew it was going to be hard. It didn’t matter how many times I tried to convince him that school was going to be fun, he was fixated on the fact that Mommy wasn’t going to be with him.
This didn’t surprise me; he’s always been an attached child. He’s the child that finds his way into our bed nightly and will always find a way to hold onto my hand. I joke with my husband that he never had a security blanket because he’s always used me instead.
His love for being close to Mommy hasn’t stilled his adventurous spirit. He climbs and jumps, rides and runs with kids older than him. He looks fearless as he rides his bike and shows off his newest trick of standing up while peddling.
But all of this courage was no match for day one of preschool drop-off.
The entire ride to school I heard the words “I want you to stay” repeated obsessively by his little voice, and once we got to school I had to pull him out of the car. As we walked into the classroom I saw a slight smile as he noticed yellow sparkly play dough to play with, but it quickly disappeared when he remembered that I wouldn’t be there to play with him.
I unlatched him from my leg, told him I loved him, then turned around and left the room wondering if I was traumatizing my three year old.
I felt a little defeated that all the other kids were smiling, playing, and enjoying each other but my child was upset that his mom didn’t get to stay and play. I wondered what was different and how I could instill a little bravery into his being.
The good news is he enjoyed his first day and talked a lot about play dough and running around outside. He wasn’t traumatized but still wondered if he had to go back the next day.
I know his spirit all too well, because I struggle with the same feelings of leaving my comfort zone and struggling to face new situations bravely. I know that feeling of wanting to avoid new people and new situations. It’s a trait I hoped to not pass on to my children.
Day two of preschool drop-off came and this time I decided to remind him that even when I’m not around him I still love him. His answer back to me was humbling and something that I won’t soon forget.
Excitedly he returned back a comment that has stuck in my heart: “Don’t forget about Jesus! Jesus is always there too, Mommy.”
At that moment I knew he was going to be OK. I knew that at three years old he understood that being brave isn’t always some big courageous act. It is knowing that God is always with you.