I dropped my son off at school this morning, the son that always runs off effortlessly to take on the next challenge life throws at him. I always think of him, not as invincible, but as something very close to that. He seems to be able to handle anything. And he finds the strength to handle anything he can’t. Let me go back. A couple days ago I walked him up to school, and he ran off, so I quietly walked away. I thought he must not need me there. That night he scolded me, “Mom, you left this morning without saying good-bye!” I couldn’t believe he had noticed. He didn’t appear to look at all. I mean, I know he loves me. But sometimes you just figure when they walk off, they are fine. He has this fabulous strut at times, like he is so sure of himself, so ready, so fine.
But the next day, I saw him check me 40 times before he went in to see if I was there, even though he wouldn’t play near me. I waved my hand like a beauty pageant contestant until he went inside. He looked one last time before he disappeared through the door. I felt happy I had noticed and been able to do something so simple and ridiculous-looking, to lend a little confidence to his day. Mom cares. She listened.
But today, he grabbed a friend’s hand. His friend pushed him over. He fell apart. My little boy doesn’t fall apart like that. I called his name to see if he needed me, and he turned around and ran to me. My heart broke right there. My little boy needed me. Tears started forming in my own eyes. Luckily, I had sunglasses on.
You know when you know your child is dealing with something they can’t say. He is. His broken cry wasn’t about his friend pushing him. It was the last straw in a series of things that had happened that morning, a series of things that had made him feel helpless. He’s in a new school. His brother gave him a hard time getting out of the car. I was feeling down today too.
I held my little boy. I held myself. Here was a little moment. I couldn’t take away the way he was feeling. I couldn’t know everything he was feeling. I could hold him, though. I remember the arms of my mother, when she squeezed me very hard. I remember my dad holding me when I cried. I remember how that felt, how it made everything feel better. I imagined I was able to do that this morning, and maybe that would be enough. Maybe ice cream at the end of the day would be better still. But for a moment, I was important in the most amazing way in the world. I was able to do something so simple that made a difference. I wish I had those moments more often in life. But when I dreamed of having children, that was what I pictured. I pictured holding them. And sometimes when things get too busy, too rushed, too much… we forget. We forget.
The littlest things in life really are the best.