I have not left you crying in a very, very long time, gorgeous boy.
This morning I did.
I left your classroom as tears were streaming down your face. I left you in anguish. The knowledge will sit with me, like a stone in my gut, until I collect you again. I know you will be fine; you are well-cared for there. But I am so used to being your anchor – I am a little lost until I know you are calmed, until I know you feel safe again.
The school holidays have just ended and change is always hard. Over the time you were away from school, I have seen you struggle so many times. I have seen the anger and heartbreak warring. I have borne the brunt of your screams and shouts. I have wiped the tears and calmed the gulps that punctuate every shout of frustration. The change from school to holidays is hard – and the change back is even harder.
Every time you shouted at your sister, or your cousin, or Nanny or Grandad, every time you collapsed into sobs, I tried to guide you back. The tumultuous sea of your emotions cannot be calmed with discipline or punishment, any more than storm waves could be. Your world is absolute and you lack the emotional control to cope when it is challenged. So how do I help you? How do I teach you to not be consumed by your emotions?
I am not sure. I am not sure I truly know myself. But I know that I must try to lead by example. I must be calm, in control – constant – when you cannot be.
When there are 4 pieces, instead of the usual 5, you are heartbroken, even though you want none.
When your ice-cream is in a tube, instead of a cup, you are filled with rage.
And now, when there are only so many places at each after school club, you are consumed with the injustice that some must make a second choice. One setback is resolved but now the time has moved more quickly than you think it should have. The free-choice of activity is over before you have begun.
You shout at the children who tell you to start tidying the activities away. You scream that the time cannot be right. You sob and sob and sob.
I must catch a fleeting kiss on your head (the only place you will tolerate), tell you I love you…and walk out of the door.
There is no way to fix the time. But I know you will be taken somewhere to calm, somewhere to be distracted from the sickening feeling that things are not right.
I am lucky – the occasions when I have had to leave you so distraught have dwindled. It used to be the rule and now it is a rarity.
This holiday is always the hardest and you are still so tired from the challenges it presented. But there were so many moments of joy, too, like jewels sparkling against the contrast of your despair. We feel deeply, gorgeous boy, you and I, but that is a gift, as well as a curse.
Things will get easier. I will leave you happy and animated once more. I will pick you up this afternoon and you will be calm.
And I hope I will not leave you crying again, my love, for a very, very long time.
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