Bringing a Loved One to School – Part One

9 Oct

Last Spring, Ben’s school hosted ‘Bring a Loved One to School Day’….I was the loved one leading up to it. And then, in the parking lot, my son turned to me with watery eyes and said  “Mom, I don’t want to hurt your feelings or anything, but I’m not sure I want you to come.” Wow…Talk about a zinger. I assured him I wouldn’t embarrass him, since I thought that was what he was afraid of. He assured me that wasn’t it. He just wasn’t sure how many other kids – especially boys – would be bringing their parents and he didn’t want to be one of the only ones.

We sat in the parking lot for a while as Ben tried to figure out what he wanted to do. He wanted me there and yet he didn’t. (Pretty much sums up adolescence, right?) He didn’t want to hurt my feelings. He didn’t want to go in alone and find out I should have been there. He was struggling to make a decision. And although I promised him I could handle the rejection if he chose to go in without me, I was struggling to keep it together. But I did. I shared with him that I hoped there would come a time that he wasn’t as concerned with what others were doing or thought, but rather could simply do what he wanted or believed in. It broke my heart when he agreed that he would like to be able to do that one day, too. He asked me what would happen if he went in alone and found that he made a big mistake. I told him that unfortunately, that is sometimes necessary in order for us to figure out parts of our lives that need adjustments.

Then it was now or never time – the bell would ring in less than 10 minutes. He asked if I would walk in with him and then if there weren’t a lot of parents, would I please leave. I agreed (but nixed the plan to walk three feet behind him). As we entered the 6th grade hallway, there didn’t seem to be a whole lot of parents. He looked at me and said “next year for sure, okay?” I kissed him on the cheek, told him I was okay with his decision and walked away. Just as I was about to leave, he came running up behind me…

If this were a movie, we know the ending would be that he came laughing up behind me, begged me to stay and we went hand-in-hand to his first hour class. But, alas, this is real life. My sweet, sensitive son, came running up just to make sure I was okay – and to remind me that next year was for sure.

And then I left.  I held it together almost all the way home.

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