I had a proud parenting moment this morning that I’d like to share!

Marshall has been having a hard time with drop offs at school. The last few times I have taken him I’ve left him reaching out with both arms and in tears. It’s heartbreaking to hear him crying as I walk down the hall away from his room. He clings to my legs while I fill out his paper. He won’t go potty unless I sit with him. And his teachers have to pick him up and hold him to get him to calm down.

So this morning while we snuggled in his chair I asked him what was going on. I mentioned that he’s been crying when I leave and I asked him if he was sad that I had to go bye-bye. He shook his head yes and said, “You come back?” I reminded him that I always come back when school’s over and that I think about him when we’re apart and that I’ll never forget about him. We talked about how it’s okay to feel sad sometimes when we have to say goodbye, but knowing that we’ll see each other again soon will help us feel better and not so sad.

Then came the drop off. The test of whether or not our conversation would matter at all. At first he didn’t want to leave my side. But then I told him to go get started on the potty and I’d come in as soon as I got his paper filled out. That worked, and he walked over to the bathroom all on his own. Then after he was done pottying I asked if he wanted to go ahead and tell me bye or if he wanted me to wait until after he washed his hands. He asked me to wait. So I did. As soon as he was done washing his hands he came over to me, hugged my legs, and was taking off to play with his friends before I even had a chance to bend down and give him a proper goodbye.

I’m sure that some might see this as such a small thing, such a minor victory, that it’s not even worth mentioning. But for me, this is a moment to remember. I am proud of myself for trusting that Marshall can recognize and communicate his feelings, and I am proud of myself for giving him the space to do that and for responding to those feelings in a way that made him feel more at ease.