Last week Zach and I faced a new chapter in his little life – preschool! I’d prepped him for this for a few weeks, telling him how exciting it will be going to big-boy nursery, how he’d make new friends and even bought him a new big-boy preschool bag to mark the occasion.
What I forgot to do was prep myself – for the trauma of having to leave my little man sobbing at the door, begging me not to go, big fat tears running down his beautiful face. It was heartbreaking and goes against every motherly instinct you have, to just walk away.
I know it would prolong the agony if I stayed with him and I know he’ll be ok eventually blah, blah, blah; but in the heat of the moment, I felt like I was abandoning my baby when he was scared and vulnerable – and it made me sob all the way home. It also made me break my no-chocolate-in-the-week rule. Hey, at least I didn’t crack open the wine.
I know all mothers have been through this and he’s been with a childminder since he was 9 months old, so it’s not like I’ve never left him…but this one knocked me for six. I remember my mum telling me how I sobbed every day for 6 months when I had to go to play school, so maybe my inner 3 year old is reliving the trauma. Only now do I truly understand how she felt having to leave me. Maybe it’s some hideous mother’s rite of passage we all have to go through?!
So off we go again to preschool tomorrow morning – I’m already steeling myself for the tears, practising my fake-happy face and my everything-is-going-to-be-ok tone of voice. I’m sure in six months I’ll look back at this and wonder what all the fuss was about, as he merrily skips through the doors and waves me goodbye. But in the meantime, I’ll just make sure I have a pack of tissues in the car and enough emergency chocolate to hand.