So when I took K to preschool for the first time in September I wasn't sure who would suffer more. Him or me. Turns out, me. Not that I'm too surprised by that fact. I was expecting to suffer more then he did, I just didn't expect his reaction. AT ALL!
When we went to school that first day I was expecting tears. I was expecting a little boy to clutch my leg and beg me not to go. I was expecting to have to stay in the parking lot for the four hours he was there, just in case he needed me. Boy was I wrong. There were no tears. There was no errant clutching of my leg and certainly no begging. I didn't have to stay in the parking lot all morning wondering if he needed me. I did however have to stay in the parking lot and wait until the tears flowing down my cheeks stopped.
I wasn't crying because I was said. I wasn't crying because I'd left him the caring hands of Miss Rebekah. I wasn't crying because K hadn't cried. I was crying because I was relieved he was so secure being there. I was crying because I knew he was safe. I was crying because I had raised him secure enough in himself that he was ok in a strange environment.
Does that sound strange. It shouldn't. Ultimately I was crying because he didn't need me. I felt utterly un-needed by my almost four year old boy that I couldn't help but cry. I was so proud of him. So proud that he was able to be in that room with kids his own age and learn. My heart was singing his praise as I pulled out of that parking lot.
I rediscovered that feeling of pride and overwhelming sadness this week when I dropped him off at summer camp. He was going to be there all day. His first all day at being away from home. I was scared stiff! I had my cell phone on me the whole day and kept checking it, just to be sure if the school called I could get to him immediately!
But that call never came. That call was never made. K had a blast. He had so much fun in fact... he didn't want to leave when I came to pick him up. He started crying - no sobbing is the more accurate word - and yelling that he wanted to stay. That he didn't want to go. He curled up on the floor totally distraught.
I was thrilled that he had had such a good time. I was tickled pink he hadn't needed me. I was beyond excited to know that he could have such a wonderful time and not want to end that time.
I wasn't sure who hurt more on either of those days. I know he wasn't traumatized by the experience, but I can't say the same for me. I just hope when C starts preschool I'll be a little less traumatized. But... I doubt it!