The Truth of Who I Am

"Only the truth of who you are, if realized, will set you free." -Eckhart Tolle

Eleven Things I Worry About When My Kids Are At School

on March 25, 2013

Sending my first child off to preschool took me by surprise. Up until then, David had been in the safest, closest place to me – my womb and then in the care of his dad or myself or close family members with an occasional babysitter here and there. So when it came time to leave him at a school with a bunch of adults and kids who knew very little about him or what he loved and exactly how he needed to be loved was nerve-wracking! From the outside it may have looked like I was comforting and encouraging my 2 and 1/2 year-old to let go of me and stay alone with a new teacher and a bunch of kids in a new place. An outsider might certainly have made that mistaken assumption. The truth is that I was a mess on the inside and asking him to let go of me was a lie because I was actually the one gripping him tightly in my arms so he could not let go. Side note – his cousin and most favorite person in the world was already in the class from a few months earlier so David really was trying to get out of my arms and get started with his time with his cousin.

This is how worried and anxious My 2 year-old looked.

This is how worried and anxious my 2 year-old looked.

My husband, I suspect, saw through the lie I was creating and gently ‘helped’ my son let go of me. Apparently he was in on this ridiculous conspiracy to separate our child from us and throw him out into the scary, brutal, cold world. Clearly he did not genuinely love our son and clearly he was asking for some marital problems. He may not have noticed the angry glares I sent his way as my heart broke open a little wider that day. They say when you have kids you wear your heart on the outside. I say YES you do. You absolutely do! I’ll admit that even when their wonderful father is taking care of them, I still have some doubts about their welfare and am secretly always suspicious that SOMETHING COULD HAPPEN TO THEM. That’s how I feel about having these two little beings in my life. My chest was cut open and my heart was placed in my hands. What’s a mama to do but defend that heart fiercely and tirelessly and relentlessly. You mamas know this to be true, don’t you?

It’s been about five years since that day (and the many other similar days) and although it’s gotten much easier to leave my kids at their respective schools these days…okay, who am I kidding…it feels like unloading a huge weight off my back on most days. That’s the truth. Regardless, even if it does feel like a weight off my back for a few hours, having them in school with neither my husband nor I there with them leaves me feeling a little bit of terror at what could happen. Here’s is a list of some of the things I worry about:

1. I worry that they might hear about something that they don’t understand and not feel comfortable asking questions. This mostly relates to life stuff and not so much academics. I used to be that kid that was super aware of everyone else and too shy to speak up for myself.

2. I worry that they might tell their teachers something about me that would cause me great embarrassment, such as how impatient and irritable I was with them in the morning or how I got home with them the day before and fell asleep on the sofa instead of getting dinner together while they watched a TV show. And then gave them eggs and toast for dinner.

3. I worry that they might be teased or bullied or worse, that they might not think twice about joining in on the bullying to fit in and not choose to speak up for the kid that’s getting hurt.

4. I worry that their teachers might not be kind to them in a moment of frustration or irritability (and teachers have every right and too many opportunities to feel these emotions). My kids adore their teachers so this would devastate them. Never mind that they should have pretty tough skins about being in such situations because they’ve had practice from their mother.

5. I worry that there might be a national emergency or tornado or school shooting or some other senseless violence and I would not be there to hold them close and tight myself and tell them everything was going to be alright.

6. I worry I may never see them again. I really can’t say any more about this one. It is terrifying to me.

7. I worry that the ridiculous focus on testing these days will kill their curiosity and love for learning about the world.

8. I worry that they will learn, too well, how to follow the rules and color inside the lines and think inside the box and not know when NOT to do so.

9. I worry that my husband forgot to pack their drink and a fresh fruit and/or vegetable in their lunch bag.

10. I worry that the school might try to contact me because SOMETHING HAPPENED and my cell phone would not pick up the call or message.

11. I worry that I might forget to pick them up on time and they would be waiting sadly all alone when all the other carpoolers had left the scene (unfortunately this has actually happened).

So there. Those are my worries and it’s a lot to carry around 180 days out of the year. Can’t think of any one that I could let go off. It’s the life of this mama and I’m willing to bet it’s the life of most of you mamas (and probably papas, too). I hold my heart in my hands tenderly defend it fiercely and tirelessly and relentlessly. And I rely on the truth that I was born to do this and my instinct to love in this way and to defend and protect my children in this way is, truly, in my nature in the same way that a leopard mama protects her cubs. It’s a fierce, instinctual, crazy kind of love and it is intended for the children we are honored to have in our care. It is real and necessary.

Truthfully yours,

Rhina

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2 responses to “Eleven Things I Worry About When My Kids Are At School

  1. What’s beautiful is that you’ve offered so much belief and strength and love in your children, they don’t have to worry. I guess that’s part of parenting – carrying the worry so they don’t have to. In that smiling face of David there’s not a glimpse of worry, and I bet you’d worry every day if it meant he didn’t have to. That’s pretty brilliant. Perhaps it’s 11 ways of parenting that empower your children.

    • justrhina says:

      This was just beautiful and now my eyes are leaking. Thank you for the kind words and beautiful perspective. I don’t know what it is, exactly, but communicating with you makes me see beautiful things. 🙂

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