A few weeks ago, I made my daily trip to our daycare to pick up my kids. I think about my kids all day long and I can honestly say the best part of my day is picking them up. After a long day of work, the hustle and bustle of groceries, Target trips and planning dinner, a good squeeze around the neck can make it all go away.
My kids love our daycare. They have a great time playing with their friends and really like their teachers, who are often our babysitters, too. On this particular day, however, my son liked daycare just too much. Too much that he didn't want to leave.
The preschoolers had just been moved over to the school-age side of the center and were just starting to play with the "big kid" toys. He was very upset with me that I ruined his chances of getting to play with these other toys. So mad that he wanted me to leave and pick him up later. He cried, he kicked, he pouted, and my heart broke. Amidst a number of parents who were also picking up their children I tried to fake a smile and jokingly said "I want them to like it here, but not this much!" Ha ha. But I was really holding back tears. Why can't they want to be with me as much as I want to be with them? Okay, so I realize that playing with his buddies at daycare is a lot more fun than hanging out with mom at home. I get it and I realize I'm going to have to get OVER it, but it still hurts.
Going through this I have reflected on my own childhood. Did I ever do that to my parents? Treat them crappy and not realize it? Maybe they were yelling at me but deep down just so badly wanted me to show them love, cuddle with them and say I needed them. I guarantee I did this to my parents, as I'm sure we all did. How many times as a teenager did your parents try to talk to you and you brushed them off? You didn't give them the time of day and all they wanted was to feel like they still knew you, like they were still an important part of your life. Parenting isn't supposed to be easy but this is a feeling I SO was not prepared for. I can handle the bumps and bruises; I can handle the flu, fevers and have recently added casts to my resume. But heart break, my kids not wanting to be with me all the time, not needing me? I just wasn't prepared.
So all I can do is treasure even more the beautiful moments I have with my kids; when they crawl up on the couch to sit close to me or ask me to read a book. Shoot, right now I even get excited when my son needs me to button his pants. Hey, he still needs me! I also realize I owe my parents a big apology for the times I broke their hearts. And, I'm officially forgiving my kids, in advance, for all the times in the future when they will unknowingly break my heart too. Kids will be kids, and until they turn into parents themselves they will never really understand the love of a parent.