At the end of the day yesterday, I held an asleep toddler in my arms and let the tears stream down my face. It had been an emotional day, and, often, the emotion washes over me as I watch his sweet little face drift into sleep.
My gut started to clench around 9am as we neared to the time where I would drop Tom off at daycare and launch myself into 3 hours of teaching. I was involved in a cooking program with the kids at the end of last year, but this is the first time in 18 months that I was to be in the classroom, and the first time I would teach without Tom with me.
When we arrived at Daycare, things seemed fine until we stepped through the doors and didn’t turn left. Left is where we turn to go into the kindergarten room – where Mother Goose sessions are held and we sing, dance and mingle, together. Day Care is where he also does these things, but he doesn’t do them in my presence. I was surprised to find he immediately clung to my leg then, and wouldn’t let go. I picked him up. Big mistake. He wouldn’t let me put him down.
When Tom gets really upset his whole face screws up with emotion, he is gasping for air and he cries with such a force it could blow a person over. It’s heart wrenching. Immediately the tears spilled down my face too and I tried to keep a straight face. The crying thing must be genetic.
This was his 3rd time at daycare, but my first time having a job to go to. If it wasn’t for work, I would of scooped him up, marched out of that room, and went home and got lost in cuddles on the couch with him until he calmed. But that wasn’t to be.
After tears in front of the carers, tears in the car and tears in the staffroom, I was ready to head into another emotional phase – teaching again. It wasn’t the first time I’ve taught under emotional stress. Teachers are human (most of us) and keeping ourselves in check is part of the job. I found myself getting absorbed in what I was doing and the time really did fly by. I did check on Tom via phone, to hear that he was still a ‘little bit upset’ (an hour and a half later) and it broke me that he had been upset for so long!
When I arrived to pick him up, I was taken around the back so I could watch him without him knowing. He was playing with one of the carers and a few other kids. He was dancing and smiling. He was OK. He had slept. He had eaten and he was feeling better.
When he finally noticed me, he came over straight away and fell into my lap. Then he got up and backed away with a smile on his face like he was playing a game. Then he let out a whine because he realised we were at a distance and ran straight to me again.
I picked him up. And once again. I couldn’t put him down until we got to the car and he knew it was time to go home.
So when the day was finally done I let that emotion wash over me. So many decisions to make. Priorities to think about.
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and within all that I have the support of my right hand. “What can I do? He loves his Mum so much!” I said to my husband jokingly after Tom was tucked in bed.
“Love him back” he said simply. And I will. Always.