Every morning, I keep seeing the Mommies attached to their hysterical children, clinging to their legs/waists for dear life and sobbing uncontrollably.And every morning, I thank God that Bella isn’t doing that. Mostly because I couldn’t handle it. I just can’t imagine how that would wear on your heartstrings, day after day, watching as your
child baby is overcome with fear and anxiety at leaving the safety and love of their Mommies arms. I do realize that if Bella were doing this, you could find me every single morning after drop off, emotionally crumpled in a puddle of tears and snot. It would be awful for both of us. I mean I am, after all, the Mommy who laid in labor with her second child, crying at a cell phone photo of her first born, because I felt so sorry for abandoning her to go to the hospital and give birth. Yeah, the apron strings are pretty taut between me and my Bella. But I loosen them as needed, for her sake. I am mature enough to know that I have to let her grow up, no matter how much I may not like the idea.Then Monday came.
There was absolutely nothing special per se about Monday, at least not noticeable to the untrained eye. The only thing that was different, was that the Big Guy had gone back to Iowa on Sunday night. You know to his hole that he lives in for work during the weekdays.Sunday’s are always hard on all of us but I had totally forgot about this Monday.I have noticed over the years that though I may be Bella’s “Best Friend” ( as she lovingly refers to me), Daddy has always been her rock. There is just something about a 6’5″ man, with a big strong body and an equally as big heart, that makes a girl feel safe and makes it easy to draw strength from. That is the Big Guy. Monday morning we followed the same routine that we had on Thursday and Friday; the absolute only thing missing was her Daddy. There were no tears from my Bella amidst the plethora of tears falling that morning amongst her classmates. I assumed all was fine.
When Gabs and I picked Bella up from school that afternoon, she seemed a little rattled as if something were missing. In retrospect, she was looking for the Big Guy. We drove home, as she rattled off the days events at a furied pace. We got home and things started going south. She proclaimed, almost angrily, that she didn’t like her outfit and promptly discarded it onto the floor. I was a little annoyed and quite confused by her behavior. I asked her to pick up her clothes; she responded with whining. I asked her close the front door; she responded with tears. I asked her what she wanted for lunch; she barked a hostile “NOTHING!” at me. The responses were becoming increasingly inappropriate to, what I thought was, seemingly innocuous requests. It was quickly a train wreck speeding out of control from bad to worse. Then Gabs had the audacity to ask her how school was; then the sobbing began.A fly landed on her and all hell broke lose! I was baffled. Is a 5 year old supposed to get PMS?
Concern trumped annoyance and I asked, in every possible way, what was wrong. After an eternity of sobbing and undecipherable blubbering, once she hit the point f hyperventilation from hard and ugly crying, she had Gabs joining in on the hysteria. I was a hair away from breaking down myself. Then she leans in and wraps her little arms around me, hugging me tighter than she has in a LONG time ( tighter than all those aforementioned Kindergartners holding on for dear life to their Mommies) and whispers this through her sobs (in her little baby kitty sounding voice) “Mommy, I don’t want to go to school. I just want to stay home with you and Gabs!I only love Mommy!” How could I not feel my insides turn to goo and my heart start to fall apart?
I held back my own tears,even though I wanted to curl up into a crumpled mess of snot and tears on the floor. It made me realize how hard all of this Daddy being out of town business has been on the girls. Sure its been difficult on the Big Guy and I but we are adults, most of the time. She misses her Rock and the collateral damage was a small nervous breakdown. I held her tight for almost forever and then a little longer and told her how we were so proud of her for being so brave and going to school. I told her how much we loved her, about all the exciting things she will do, the friends she will make and that Daddy wished he could be here with her. Then I told her, whenever she felt sad and missed us,to close her eyes and think of us and we would be at home thinking of her at the same time, because we are always thinking about her. We ended it with a nose kiss, a group hug, and a promise to walk her into class the next morning.
She called her Daddy in Iowa and he assured her that he was so proud of her, loved her more than life itself, and that he was thinking of her always. She seemed to take comfort in this.Apparently, everything sounds better coming out of his mouth. He also told her that we would send a photo to school in her backpack of all of us together. She hung up the phone, renewed and relaxed. Her entire body unclenched. Daddy the superhero. In the end, she felt better; we felt worse about the letting go. She grew up and we broke down. The letting go is the hardest part of growing up.