I started writing a post for today just before school pick-up time. Having felt cold-y all day, I’d not achieved anything but I was starting to feel better and luckily for me, both children had after school playdates on the same day.
However, I still walked to school for pick-up time, to collect all the book bags and packed lunch bags and related paraphernalia, and because Mighty Girl (7) can be anxious and the person collecting wasn’t who she was expecting.
I thought it was the right thing to do to allay her fears.
I was wrong.
Seeing me, she clung to me and burst into tears and said she didn’t want to go.
She’s known her friend since she was 5 months old. They were at nursery together for four years. They’ve been at school together for over two years. She’s been to their house several times (admittedly with me there too) and the person collecting was someone from nursery who she also has known for most of her life.
But she doesn’t get to go to their house often. But she’s not been to after school club at her old nursery for over two years and had forgotten the people there. But she was worried about people she didn’t know being in their house. But she was worried because she said she’d bring a game to play and she’d forgotten. But she wasn’t ready today.
Danger Girl (5) happily skipped off for her playdate without a backward glance or a wave goodbye, as I dropped all the bags in the mud of the car park to clutch Mighty Girl to me so she didn’t run off.
Short of forcibly dragging her into their car and letting her go screaming, there wasn’t any choice. She didn’t go.
She missed a playdate with a lovely family that we’ve known for over seven years but just don’t see enough of. She missed an afternoon with friends she doesn’t see enough of. She missed out.
Because I was there.
If I hadn’t got to school today, she would have had no choice and would have gone. And she would have been nervous but the nerves would have faded. And she would have had a wonderful time.
But I was there.
So she came home with me. And she cried. And I cried, for being a useless parent, and because I couldn’t hold it back. And she apologised for my crying being her fault, and I told her it wasn’t, and it wasn’t.
But the unexpected change threw me. I’d planned to finish the blog post, and hang up the laundry, and get the packed lunches ready for the next day, and have just those extra two hours of silence.
And I tried but I just felt miserable. I felt that everything had gone wrong because I didn’t get to do what I planned. I felt like shouting at my child just for her existence. I wanted to scream, and cry, and slash my arms with a sharp knife.
How pathetically melodramatic.
So I stared into space, and cried, and reassured my daughter it wasn’t her fault. Of course it’s not her fault. And I booked a GP appointment online.
And she played quietly at my feet. And we coloured in pictures together. And it wasn’t perfect, and I did push her away more than I wanted to.
All because of a tiny change, and I’m not good with change.