My daughter has been very clingy lately. I don’t know if it’s the age, or the time of year, but she has been like a fabric softener sheet stuck to my leg. Most of the other Kindergarten parents have started to drop their kids off and let them walk into school by themselves. Not me, I am still making that walk every morning down to my kid’s locker, trailing a few feet behind when I can, trying to become part of the background. She carries her lunch box and backpack as she leads me through the halls, around the corners, all the way to her locker. She puts her things away, chats with her classmates and gets ready for school to start all while I stand back and watch. If I lag behind too much she grabs on to my hand to drag me along.Each morning before we take the walk into school, I tell her that she can go by herself because she is a big girl, and on each of these mornings she starts to panic. I see the anxiety build as her face flushes and she begins to ask questions about the tasks that we will perform. All of a sudden a casual breakfast turns into a trip to the doctor’s office. Everything is now a procedure, her mind wrapped up in the fear of all the “what ifs”. By the time we get into the car to leave for school she has talked herself into a stomach flu by snack time and a broken limb by recess. Also, nobody will want to sit by her at lunch. I don’t want to point out that nobody wants to sit next to Debbie Downer while she is still listing off all the possible tragedies that may occur, all of which require her to leave school.
Once we have made our way into school and she sees the smile of another classmate her anxiety vanishes and she is ready to go be with her friends. Its the anticipation of what if there is no friend there to show her kindness. She somehow forgets in the twenty four hours that passed that everything will be okay. No matter how many times I tell her it will be okay she needs me to be next to her showing her that its okay. I know that eventually the day will come that she doesn’t want me next to her as she greets her friends and I will long to be there with her. So I am grateful for these mornings with her and that for at least the time being I am still who she turns to to feel a sense of comfort.