The tears were rolling down his face, “I don’t want to go to school.” His little body shook as he cried. And my heart broke looking at him.
What happened to my little boy who said just 2 weeks ago, “First grade is awesome!”??? He came home from school happy every day last week. What was going on here?
I sat down on the couch and pulled him onto my lap. I held him as he cried, “Why, sweetie?” I asked, “Why don’t you want to go to school?”
Between sobs he replied, “I don’t know what to do with my picture stuff. Who am I supposed to give it to? What if they won’t take it?”
Today is picture day.
(These are last year’s pics!)
Yesterday we went for haircuts. Last night I went online to order the pictures. I printed out the “Picture Day Pass” and showed it to the boys. I wanted them to see it because it wasn’t the envelope they sent home that you can fill out and put a check in. We put it in their folders in their backpacks. We picked out clothes for the pictures and they went to bed.
This morning came, and C forgot about the clothes we picked out and came out dressed in something different. If I was a little less of a control freak about certain things, I’m sure I could have let him keep the outfit on that he picked out. But instead, I reminded him that it was picture day and sent him back to change. He came out, sat on the couch, and that’s when the tears began.
When he told me why he was crying, I had to resist the urge to laugh off his concerns. They really seemed so silly to me. Seriously? Crying, not just a few tears, but whole body-shaking sobs because you’re not sure what to do for picture day? Come on! But thankfully, God reminded me that this is a 6-year-old, who’s learning to navigate the world without his Mama by his side. His fears may seem silly to me, but to him, they are huge.
I tried to explain what he would need to do, but that didn’t help. His experienced, big, 3rd grade brother tried to explain what to do. But that didn’t help. Finally I said, “I know it must be a little scary to not know what to do. Would it help if I emailed your teacher and let her know that you’re scared? That way, she’ll know to help you.” He agreed to that idea.
I wrote the email; he read it and said it looked good. We sent it. The tears disappeared. We turned on some music and sang as the boys ate their cereal. They went off to school as if it were any other morning.
As I’ve replayed this morning in my mind, I thought about how originally in my mind his fears weren’t valid. Because of that, I could have responded with, “Oh, don’t worry about it, you’ll be fine. Stop crying. Let’s get going.” But later in life, when his fears are about “bigger” things, fears that are valid in my eyes, will he still trust me to tell me about them? Or will he think I don’t care and that I’ll just say, “Oh, don’t worry about it, you’ll be fine.”
Listen earnestly to anything your children want to tell you, no matter what. If you don’t listen eagerly to the little stuff when they are little, they won’t tell you the big stuff when they are big, because to them all of it has always been big stuff.~Catherine M. Wallace~
I don’t know who Catherine M. Wallace is or anything she stands for, but recently I read this on Pinterest, and it really spoke to my heart. This morning I was tested on it, and I can thankfully say, “I think I passed.” That is not always the case!
So, thank you, God, for opening my eyes to the moment and helping me to see my child’s heart. Thank you, God, for giving me the wisdom to take his fears seriously and to help calm his heart. Help me to do that in the future as well. Forgive me for the times when I’ve been flippant about my children’s thoughts, cares, and fears. And help C to have a good day today, and to not be scared! Oh, and is it too much to ask for the pictures to turn out really cute too????
Pressing on together,