Learning to See the Lovely

This is truly one of my favorite bible verses:

"Finally, brothers [and mamas], whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. ...practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you." -Philippians 4:8-9



Preschool started off really rough for us this year. I was hopeful that it would be like I have always imagined the milestone of going off to preschool for my children. I pictured a montage of beautiful pictures in my head...me helping Logan dress with smiles on our faces...combing her hair into pigtails, while she pauses to smile up at me with admiration and love in her eyes...the whole family sitting around a healthy breakfast sharing affirmations with Logan and expressing our excitement for her first day...you get the picture.

So, what was it really like? Ummm... lets see...lots and lots (and lots) of crying and emotion and
sadness. To say that Logan has always dealt with some separation anxiety is like saying that women giving birth sometimes feel a bit of discomfort. She has had off the charts, "screaming and clawing for my mother until I throw up" separation anxiety. The blessing of having a child who is super verbal is also a little bit of a curse sometimes because there is no way to escape witnessing the angst and anxiety that they feel in certain situations. Logan is a sharer and a processor and we have had lots and lots of times where we have been heading to church or somewhere else where we would be separated for just a little bit of time, and the entire way there we would be talking about it. Even if she wasn't talking to us about it, I would be able to hear her in the backseat talking herself through it. There is nothing more heartbreaking than hearing your sweet 2 1/2 year old's little voice saying over and over, "Mommy will be right back. Mommy always comes back..." Fast forward to the start of preschool and what we had was a lot of discussions about why she did not want to go to school, why she really wanted to stay home with mommy and Callen and how she did not need to learn anything at all. As the start of school got closer, it got more emotional and more intense. I was literally at my breaking point and ready to halt the preschool train entirely.
What mom wants to send their kid away from them when they are asking with tears in their eyes to just stay home with them "because I really love to be with you, mommy!"? There is a very long back story to our sweet, miracle of a daughter, but a little part that relates to this is that we were being encouraged by a lot of knowledgeable people to get her into a preschool program. I felt confident that I had found the most nurturing and right program for her, so I knew we had to push through.

The first few days were really hard...crying the night before...crying the morning of...crying through breakfast...crying on the way there...and kicking and screaming and more crying during the drop off. Of course I would then cry the entire way home!

About 2 weeks into preschool, at breakfast one morning while Logan's lip was starting to quiver and the tears pooled in her eyes, these words just came out of my mouth:

"Logan, I need you to tell me 5 things that you are excited to do at school." She responded with a look of surprise, and then begin to make a list, and with each new activity that she listed, her countenance brightened. -"Snack time...playing outside time...doing the teeter totter (so very different from playing outside time)...making a craft...singing time".

"Wow, those sound like really fun things. I would be excited to do that too."

For the remainder of the morning and our car ride to school, each time Logan would start to cry or express her anxiety at going to school, I would ask her to give me a new list of things that she was excited about.

That drop off was the first drop off where we did not have a very sad parting. We got to the door and Logan was able to give me a hug and say, "Bye bye, Mama, I will see you later." She turned and walked into the chapel as though she was really happy to be there.

It could have been a coincidence, or it could have been that she actually had more peace because she had chosen to meditate on the good that was awaiting her at school (snack, craft, letter of the day time, circle time, singing time, playing outside time, holding onto the rings time...) . I still cried the whole way home. This time, though, it was happy tears.

I am learning that there are many times in life where I have to pause to do this for myself...to begin to list all the good that I see in the moment, and all that I know to be true. We are in the process of selling our home because we cannot afford to keep it and while I am very, very sad to be leaving the neighborhood we live in and to leave a home that I poured my heart and soul into creating and making just right for my family, if I truly stop to think, I can list that which is true, noble, lovely, and praiseworthy all day long. And when I do that, I truly do feel my racing heart and anxious mind and the small seed of self-pity evaporate into peace and thankfulness.

Lovely.

-ab

4 comments:

  1. We had the same experience with our son last year at preschool -- kicking, screaming, having him physically removed from me at each drop off -- thank the Lord that we worked through it, that He is good and promises ALL of us that he won't give us more than we can handel (although at the time the transition to preschool seemed the most traumatic thing a mom could ever go through) ..... I just recently found your blog and LOVE it. Your insight, encouragement, humor and faith ... bless you in and THANK you!

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  2. Ali! You have to look at the EO today (Sat.) It's pretty crazy that I'm asking moms to do this very thing in my post today! Oh, how I love cool timing and such...

    This is such a great post. I just love how you think (and believe)

    Peace,
    Heather

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  3. Once, while picking up my son from the church nursery, I told him I'd "missed" him. I didn't realize the word "miss" translated into his mind as "abandoned." So for the next few weeks when I dropped him off at the nursery, he screamed, "Don't miss me! Don't miss me!" My poor kiddo.

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  4. Oh, I LOVE this post! I relate to every thing you said and have been through. I have a clinger, too. (But she is the most wonderful little clinger!!) :) We are finally looking forward to each day of preschool. She is loving it at last!

    Isn't it so true that what we try to teach our children, often teaches us more than we ever intended it to teach them?! Great way to translate this small event into a revelationary moment. That's goodmomism! :)

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