We had been priming him all summer...every time we'd drive by the school we'd point it out and ask if he wanted to go there (OK, we didn't ask every time because we pass the school at least four times a day. Can you say "overkill"?) But, anyway, we discussed it often. Every time, he'd give a positive, if not enthusiastic, "Yes, I want to go to Montessori school." (FYI, it's never just "school," it's always "Montessori school." An overachiever already.)
The prospect of school was actually motivational for potty training, too. We'd say, "Brogan, if you want to go to Montessori school, you have to learn to use the potty like the big kids." "I will, I will," he'd always assure us. And, sure enough, he did. One 4-day weekend and two minor accidents later and we were dressing our big boy in big boy undies. Hooray!
Equally as frustrating as the separation anxiety itself was the 2-day delay in its onset. He started school on a Wednesday. Wednesday and Thursday went off without a hitch. It was Friday that it all became too much for him. For any number of reasons, he decided he did not want me to go. Bless his heart. And mine, for that matter. It was heart wrenching to pry his little arms from around my neck. And I'll remember the episode long after he's forgotten it. Honestly, I'm so glad it was me and not Daddy. Daddy's a big softie where Brogan's concerned (which makes me love my sweet hubs even more). I'll spare you the play-by-play but the drama ended just after Brogan got so upset that he threw up. Fun times.
Things got a little better after the weekend (no tossing of the breakfast cookies) but drop off was still pretty rough on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Then something wonderful and completely unscripted happened Wednesday night. Brogan called me into his room, as he often does but had been doing more of lately since his confidence in my permanence was shaken (after all, if I could abandon him with those strangers, who's to say that I wouldn't do a nighttime bail out?). I asked him what he needed and he said, "I just wanted you." Aw. Poor guy. So I explained to him that even when Mommy isn't in the same room with him, I'm always in his heart. I told him he can take me with him everywhere he goes.
Bingo! The light went on in his eyes and a warm smile spread over his face. That satisfied whatever doubt had crept into my little boy's head. Mommy was always going to be with him.
The next morning at drop off, when his chin started to quiver, I touched his chest and reminded him that "Mommy is always with you." I watched as he bravely changed his shoes (they wear a different pair indoors) and the teacher encouraged him to come to the window and watch as I drove away. As I pulled out of the parking lot, I rolled down my window and waved at my little guy, then I put the icing on the cake: I held up the hand sign for "I love you." He flashed the same sign back at me with a huge smile on his face. He knew his Mommy loved him and that's all he needed to get through the day.
I know it's unlikely, but I can only hope that my love will be enough to help get him through the many challenges that Life holds down the road for him. My dear, sweet Brogan.