The first days of school are both stressful and exciting for young children and parents. There are lots of emotional ups and downs as we try to figure out how we will survive without each other for portions of our day. As a mom I wanted to be brave and smiley as I sent my children off to kindergarten, thus being a positive role model, giving them confidence in their ability to start this new adventure in independence. I didn’t have to do this for preschool. I just took them to work with me. I was lucky that way. However, with each child I recall wiping a tear and wondering who I would talk to during my lonely lunch hour. I wondered if they missed me during the day…….or even thought of me at all. Did they have a secret plan for connecting with me when they were lonely?
My two and a half year old grandson said something recently that made me think maybe kids have their own way of staying connected when we are away. Over Labor Day weekend, my daughter had to work at the State Fair in the Eco Experience building. She works for the Polution Control Agency and that is just part of her responsibility. She also had a wedding to attend on Saturday night. My son-in-law and the two boys were coming to the cabin with the rest of the family. On Friday night Britt was explaining to Karl that she was not going to the cabin with him but she would see him on Monday when they got home. Karl got especially snuggly then, rubbing his face against hers over and over and touching her face and neck, which he often does when he is falling asleep. Then he said, “Now I will smell like you, Mommy.” Was this Karl’s way of taking a little of Mommy with him to the cabin when she wasn’t there? My “mommy heart” wants to think so.
Karl’s actions remind me of one of my favorite books, “The Kissing Hand” by Audrey Penn. In this story, Chester Raccoon is reluctant to leave his mom and head off for his first day of school. But Mommy says she has a secret which she will share with him. She takes Chester’s hand in hers and kisses the center of his hand. Chester feels a special warm feeling go up his arm into his heart. Now, whenever he feels lonely he can press his hand to his cheek and think, “Mommy loves me. Mommy loves me.” Chester loved his “kissing hand.” It made him feel safe. The next day when Chester was saying good bye to Mommy before going to school, Chester said he had a surprise for her. He took Mommy’s hand, spread open her fingers and kissed the middle of her hand. Now she, too, had a kissing hand! Love goes both ways in a connected family!
Parents, you are so important to your children! There is no one who can take your place. God gave them to you and He gave you to them. What a blessed gift. Thank you for sharing your children with us this year!