And then school started and mommy finally rested. I can’t believe that I somehow managed to get through the past year and still be here to write about it. Of course in the moment I just figured that life is hard and will always be this hard and I will never again smile or laugh or read or exercise or eat a fruit sweetened cookie without being forced to stand in a dark corner of my kitchen stuffing it in my mouth lest I’m spotted and three children pull it from my mouth and stuff it in theirs.
What I’m saying is, my life hasn’t been all that fun. UNTIL NOW. Those bitches started school last week and today, for the first time, they went without crying. And I am at peace.
Who knew? Who knew that I was so jacked up with anxiety from having to leave a traumatized child crying at preschool every day last week? Intellectually I knew that they were in good hands. My brain told me that they were going to have a great day and that being in school with access to finger paints, magna tiles, blocks, trikes and loving teachers was nothing to freak the fuck out about. unfortunately, my brain was not in direct contact with my heart which hurt for Matilda who cried mercilessly for me. When I came to pick her up she was so relieved it was heart breaking. “Mommy came back!” she screamed at me while throwing herself into my arms and refusing to end the hug for forty-five minutes. “Mommies always come back! Mommies always come back! Mommies aaaalways come back!” She repeated this like a mantra or like Dora might say “Swiper no swiping, Swiper no swiping, Swiper nooo swiping.”
It made me so sad.
“Yes, Mattie. Of course I came back,” I said burying my face in her curls -curls that smelled like fresh air and water soluable paint- two things that school is providing that I’m not. I have to wonder if the kids with separation anxiety might actually think that when you drop them off there’s a chance that that is their new home. Do you think they take it that far in their heads? Like mommy has found a place that can provide more consistant parenting and good toys so now they will just be living here with their new mom, Giselle and assistant mom, Karina? That they will from this day forth have all their meals and naps and bedtime routines happen from this new place? Do they seriously wonder if we’ll come back for them? It breaks my heart to think my tiny lady would for a moment not know that I’m coming back for her and that she’s supposed to be having a good time not worrying that I’ve abandoned her.
I suppose some kids need to be trained to a new routine and others, like Sadie, just go with the flow. I understand Mattie’s point of view because I have a ton of anxiety (shocker!). I get Mattie which actually makes it tougher because all that empathizing can only make it worse for her if she can sense it. I had to be very controlled in my response to her meltdowns in the morning. Inside I wanted to grab her and tell her how much I love her and that if she really didn’t like it she didn’t have to stay in school, that mommy never wanted her to be sad for one minute. But instead, I told her I was coming back and that I knew she was going to have a great day. Also that there would be ice cream later.
That was last week and yesterday a little. Today, she was fine. And I can breathe and even go to the gym. But let’s not get crazy. I’ll start with breathe and work my way up to exercise.