I Want to Hold Your Hand

Monday, November 21, 2011

This is the second day in the “big kid” class for The Youngster. I packed his lunch (thanks, again, for the suggestions you folks sent my way) and we were out the door, making very good time. As we neared the school, he asked me if his old teacher, the one from the Toddler Class, would be there. I explained to him that she was out, tending to her “hurt knee,” and that he was going to his new class anyway. The one with his new teachers.

I didn’t fool myself for even a moment; I already know I’ll have to field that question again soon. Probably tomorrow morning.

We got out of the car. He asked me to walk him in. I did. As we got close to his cubby to hang his coat and rest his things, I felt him grip my hand a little tighter. Or maybe we both squeezed each others’ hands.

“I don’t want to do that,” he said, as I gestured to his “inside shoes.” And he moved a little closer to me. He was a little unsure, a little nervous.

One of his new teachers came out from the classroom and gave me the I’ll take it from here look and nod. I gave my son another hug and kiss, wished him a good day, and walked away.

But now I was nervous and unsure. I could hear his voice warble. He was getting ready to cry.

I kept walking until I couldn’t. I stopped, at a safe enough distance down the hall, and turned back. His teacher was consoling him. They soon walked, holding hands, into the classroom. I didn’t even get the chance to see if he had changed into his inside shoes.

The drive home was a slow one. I wondered and worried. Is he really ready for this? Is he going to stop liking school, and every morning will be a battle? Maybe he needs a little more hand-holding before taking this next step into the big boy class.  Of course, when I got home I called the school. I was too worked up into Henny Penny mode to rest easy. The helpful front office checked in on QB and assured me that he was fine.

He’s probably snacking on some blueberries as I type. And as much as I want to help him through this, my better sense (and better half!) remind me that the way to give him a hand is to let go of it. Part of growing up is learning how to negotiate your own path, developing confidence and independence as you move along. And as a parent, my place on his path is just off to the side — out of the way, but watching, ready to rest a hand on his shoulder when he needs it.

1 Comment
  • 1
    Kristin says:

    It’s so hard…and that Orpheus-like pull to look back is so difficult to resist. He will love it; any school that requires indoor shoes has got to be amazing. And you will soon love it too because it will relieve some work-at-home guilt — although packing lunches and snacks is less than fun.

    Congratulations on a successful start!