I had the joy of being able to drop my child at day care today. At least, it started out as a joy. It soon became one of the toughest, saddest, most horrible moments I’ve ever had as a mother.
We were early leaving today which meant I was so excited at the opportunity to be able to go with my husband to bring my son to day care. “T” was so excited that Mommy was coming with him for a change. The 3 of us strolled along, chatting, in a perfect reverie. As we arrived at daycare, I smiled as I watched my child run down the path towards the front door, skipping and hopping with excitement.
When the door was opened for us, he did a little skip-hop and he was off like a bullet towards the elevator. Arriving on the floor where the toddler room was, he burst out of the elevator.
This is where our joyous morning started to turn sour.
There was a man fixing something in the toddler bathroom with an electric drill. T is nervous when it comes to loud and unfamiliar sounds. He started whimpering, rushed back to where I was and clung to my leg.
“Look, buddy, he’s fixing something in the bathroom with an electric drill.” As he began to whimper more loudly and tightened his grip on my leg, I added, “It’s just like Daddy’s.” Hoping that bringing some familiarity to the situation would ease his anxiety. It didn’t work. When the man pulled out a hammer, his tension eased, as T has 2 hammers he uses at home all the time. So, this was more familiar to him.
He eventually went up the stairs and into the room. Once there, he met one of his teachers who was adding water into a little pool filled with plastic fish. There were 2 fishing rods sitting on the side of the pool and T and I began to try to catch us some of the magnetic fish. We laughed and shared a little bit of fun before he was off and grabbing one of the shopping carts.
Now it is time for Mommy and Daddy to go. Daddy gives a hug and says goodbye and then T comes to Mommy and starts crying : “Mommy, don’t go!” I give him a big hug and kiss, say “I love you” and put him down. He immediately starts crying. “NO! Don’t go. Don’t leave!” and he’s gripping at my legs and trying to pull himself back up into my arms.
Now, he is wailing. And our child doesn’t often cry. My heart is breaking and I just want to swoop him up and tell him I’m never going to leave. Instead, I try to calmly say “What’s going on, Buddy?” He just continues to wail “Don’t go! Don’t leave me!” and now, I am broken.
I try to distract him with all the fun things he has to look-forward to during the day: “You can go fishing. You can play with the cars. You can tell everyone about soccer. ..” Nothing is working.
The teacher says “Ok, one more hug and then time to go”. Now, I’m feeling heartbroken, judged and anxious. I give him a few big squeezes, a bunch of kisses and tell him I love him.
I put him down, but he clings to my legs as though he were falling off a cliff.
And then I do something I wish to never have to do again. I push him away from me. “I love you, Buddy! But, I have to go.”
“Nooooo!” he wails, face beat red, tears streaming down his face.
The instant I release my hand, ‘thawump’, he’s suctioned against my legs again. I take a deep breath and push him away a second time. I can still feel his beating chest against my fingers as they attempt to release myself from his grasp.
“Buddy, I love you. But, I have to go.”
This goes on for, what feels like, an eternity. I push him away, he returns. I push him away, he returns.
I push him away.
It’s all I can remember. It’s all I feel. It’s all I can think about.
I pushed him away.
This goes against every fibre of my being. This goes against the deep, raging, maternal instincts within me. And, although I’m sure he had moved on before I even hit the end of the street and then, probably, never thought of it again, I have.
It left a deep wound on my Mothers heart.
And so, tonight I made the absolute most of my time with him. I listened to him closely, held him tightly, sang songs, played games, told stories and then we had some special cuddle time in Mommy and Daddy’s bed before heading to his.
And, as he cupped my face in his little hands, saying “I yuv you, Mommy” before planting a kiss on my forehead, he pulled me close.
He pulled me close.
He pulled me close, he pulled me close.
He brought me home – back to where I belong.
We were together again.
He pulled me close.