As much as you would like it to be different you pretty much realize when you’re a parent that the sun rises and sets with how your children are doing. For roughly the past month Avery has had huge separation issues when we drop her off at school in the morning. It’s bad with me, worse with Laura because the mother/daughter bond is different. So I end up dropping Avery off at school most days.
Two days ago she had to be ripped from me by her teacher. She was stuck to me like a barnacle. She had my shoulder in a death grip and clung to me as if she was being consigned to spend the rest of her childhood in a Thai sweatshop. No matter how you tell yourself it’s normal, that this is a phase, that she’ll grow out of it in a month, the pain you feel in your stomach is visceral, real. She was pulled from me and I wanted to go into the nearest closet and cry. I talked to her teacher for 20 minutes and that helped but when you see your child suffer that way...the creases of their face...the wrenched look of pain and abandonment....that stays with you for hours if not days.
Today she was a little better. I found myself tap dancing in the car; singing, joking, anything to keep her in a good mood so she wouldn’t be petrified when I left. She bounced on the trampoline for a few minutes and seemed so happy. Then I moved to leave quickly and she bolted off the tramp and ran after me. I had to leave. If I stayed it would have only made things worse. As I type this all I can really see is her face as she chased after me. That look that said "why are you leaving me when I need you to hold me, daddy?"
Laura will pick her up. She will have had a great day, bouncing on the trampoline, playing on the swing, eating four bowls of sweet rice…but right now all I can see is her face, chasing after me like she’ll never see it again…