Personal Day

I took March 5th as a personal day. I was going to chaperone a field trip to see a play with my daughter, Adi’s, kindergarten class. I planned to squeeze in some other errands after the trip…a little kid free time.

The field trip was great. We saw a version of The Little Mermaid at a theater I visited as a kindergartener myself. I loved watching the kids’ faces as they watched the stage, wide eyed and in awe.

As soon as the show was over and I had helped my group clean up their snacks and get on their coats, Adi started asking if she could come home with me after the trip. I think some of the other kids were planning to go home with their parents. “You’ll have more fun at school I reassured her. I just have a bunch of errands to run.”

She didn’t let up and I didn’t give in. On the bus ride home, Adi opted to sit with me instead of with her friends as she had on the ride to the theater. She curled into my lap and kept asking about coming home. Then she shifted to telling me she was coming home.

Her teacher, sitting across the aisle noticed and said, “do you think separating will be hard today?” I nodded.

Since we were seated close to the front of the bus, we got off quickly once we arrived back at the school. I held Adi’s hand as we walked down the steep bus steps. I felt the anticipation rising in her, would I leave her or take her with me?

“Adi, come lead the line,” her teacher said, motioning for her to take a spot on the sidewalk.

“I’m just going to go,” I said to the teacher before letting go of Adi’s hand and walking away. “I love you. I’ll see you soon,” I called to Adi. Before I turned around the corner of the building, I looked back and saw the outline of Adi at the front of the line. I knew her eyes were teary even though I was too far away to see for sure.

I walked home from the girls’ school with a heavy feeling. Maybe I should have taken her home. I called my husband and told him how Adi had wanted to come home. How I felt bad for leaving her. He reassured me that she was probably just fine.

I couldn’t shake the feeling, was it guilt? Sadness? I emailed Adi’s teacher. I thanked her for having me as a chaperone on the trip and mentioned that if Adi was still feeling sad to just give me a call, I’d come get her.

Now, I’m left sitting her. Unable to get going on my errands and other plans for the day. Hopefully writing this down here will help me to move forward.

Only two hours until pickup time…

Adi at the theater.

13 thoughts on “Personal Day

  1. Your Slice spoke directly to me, as I am sure it spoke directly to many parents…your Slice reflected the push & pull we all feel, most of the time, between honoring ourselves and nurturing those that we love. You captured that tension perfectly.

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  2. These decisions are always so hard, and then we beat ourselves up over the decision we make. I imagine the same thing might have happened if you took Adi home with you. You’d be running your errands thinking, “Why didn’t I have her stay at school? She would have been so much happier?” It seems that mothers never win. We are always feeling a little bit guilty. Ugh.

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  3. I hope it turned out okay. I think you captured this parent dilemma so well. That moment of stepping off the bus was powerful, as was the image of her curled up with you on the bus seat. If it makes you feel a tiny bit better, I was rooting for you to make that decision. It felt right and kind, not just right. I always try to think about how the other kids in the class would feel, too.

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  4. Ah. Guilt. Still, I think you did the right thing, hard though it was. Funny, isn’t it, that the reason for not taking her home with you ceased to exist because you felt bad about your decision. Parenthood isn’t easy.

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  5. We feel you and what fascinates me, though, is the teacher’s role in creating an opening for you to stick to your original plan. Yes, the decision was yours and you had a little assist from an educator who understands children and parents and the challenges of separation that they face. Also appreciate the conundrum of these time boundaries within which you’re working – should you try to get one thing done, or just read and drink tea until pick up time arrives? Without us lifting a finger, the march of time performs it’s own dance and we move ourselves accordingly.

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  6. I knew her eyes were teary even though I was too far away to see for sure.- We know our kids and that was captured in this line! I am glad she had that special time with you.

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  7. It’s these moments with no perfectly right answer that are the toughest. Adi is so cute & the snuggles are so sweet… but you were right that she would be happier in class & I can imagine another outcome where she is whining as you run errands and you are angry at yourself for caving. Like Sherri, I noticed the teacher’s masterful handling of the situation – I was impressed. And I hope that knowing that Adi was, indeed, fine at school gave you a little space to run those errands.

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  8. You left me with tears in my eyes remembering those moments with my own three kids. You made the right decision, you are leading her to independence, even though sometimes we just want to keep them close.

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  9. This little slice is really the push and pull of parenting. I see above that someone else said they were routing for you to stick to your original plan. I didn´t realize it, but I was too. Working parents need to sneak moments. They help us recharge so we can be the best we can for our children.

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