When we relocated I expected that my oldest would have heart ache separating from the relationships that defined her, what I didn’t expect was the separation anxiety that my youngest experienced. He’s eight and for five of the eight, he spent most of his days attached to my hip. Now I was putting him in a place where people spoke differently. He couldn’t place our house in his mind and how to easily navigate from school to home. He wasn’t used to a private school and the rules that go hand in hand with the curriculum. No more coloring and gathering in the little circle to figure out what day of the week it was. He was in French classes learning how to pronounce the days of the week and carry on conversation with our neighboring Parisians. This was not sitting well with the baby of the family.
Day after day he would hold onto my leg and scream as the teacher pried him away and assured him that he would be ok.
“Mom you will be there at the end of the day right? Pinky swear Mom?”
Notoriously late for most all of my engagements, I quickly changed my routine. I was prompt, I was reliable (ok, for me reliable) and I was sure to be where I said I was. Nothing worked. I even tried to reassure him by promising X Boxes and New Bikes if I was one minute late. Still not working. He wasn’t going to school and that was that. He decided that home schooling was in his future, however I wasn’t sure that he understood that it was not in mine. The kids called him a crybaby. He chased my car out of the parking lot screaming for me not to leave. I thought they had ripped my heart out through my chest. My poor boy was suffering, and as his mom, so was I. What had I done? Would this ever end? Would my little athlete that was the center of the group at home ever go back to being the Tiger on the field?
My older girls have their moments, their breakdowns. Most nights they are too tired to think about it. Private school and the immeasurable work attached, leaves them exhausted and longing for sleep.
“I can’t do this Mom. I really can’t. It is way too much for me. I hate it here. I want to go home. “
They have been thrown into a group of kids that have gone through private schooling since grade one. The mindsets are broad based. Kids travel around the world. My small town crew offers one thing, themselves, their humor, and their personalities.
This is just a bump I tell them time and time again. Reassuring myself that I have done the right thing, I encourage, support, hug, and reinforce every positive part of our lives.
Today I sit watching my son who is at a birthday party. I wouldn’t dream of leaving him. It is a step. I will take that small step and try to understand their world. I will keep smiling, laughing, and presenting fun opportunities to get to know people and places all over the world. Life is all about growth and with growth comes pain, lessons that no textbook could teach, only a mom and dad living in a world that is too large to ever control.
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