Separation anxiety is rearing its ugly head in her little heart and mind once again. Drop-offs at Sunday school have grown more painful, with feelings of increasing anxiety leading from the time she starts getting dressed all the way up to the actual dropping off and signing in at the door of the class. Drop-offs at pre-school are increasing in difficulty also.
For two Sundays in a row now, I've had to stop at the doorway of the nursery (on the way back out to the sanctuary) to compose myself. Her tears and cries for Momma are heart-breaking to hear.
In my head, I know that this revisiting of the stage is developmentally normal. Age-appropriate, life-experience appropriate. Even "adjusted age" appropriate. It's normal... the other kids did it at 3 and 4, too. In my head I know that.
In my head, I know I've done all I can do to prepare her, assure her, and then prove to her that Daddy and I will be back to get her. In my head, I know she is safe and well-cared for. In my head, I know that SHE knows she is safe and well-cared for.
But it doesn't make her tears and cries for Momma any LESS heart-breaking.
Nor does it make this stage any less exhausting.
Which, ironically, I think might actually be making this stage last longer than it needs to last.
(It might also just feel like it's lasting longer than it needs to last. I know that too.)
Because I am finding myself much less patient with her constant need for reassurances as we're walking down the hall to Sunday School.
Because I'm finding myself snapping at her barrage of questions about who is in charge in her class room and who will pick her up when church is over.
Because I find myself bristling every time she asks me who will be the drop-off teacher at the pre-school line.
Because I find myself so.over.the.drama. that all of the reassurances and questions and crying are creating.
Like just now.
She just came to me, asking who was going to be putting her to bed tonight. She interrupted my train of thought, asked it in a whiny, nervous tone, and I didn't hear her at first. So she asked again. On the verge of tears at the thought that the answer might be Daddy instead of Mommy.
I heard it that time. And because I was being interrupted. Again. For the same basic reason as so many other interruptions in these last 5 weeks. I snapped at her. I told her to ask me again later. That I didn't want to talk about bedtime so far before bedtime.
The irony is that while I'm this tired and worn out from the constancy of this need, what she needs the most to move past this scary-to-her part of the need is my gentle, tender reassurances and patience. She needs me to be present and to validate her feelings while taking the time to allay her fears and insecurities. My impatience and snappish-ness is just making her more nervous and uncertain.
So, I stop what I'm doing. I stop thinking about what I know she needs, about what I know I've done to meet those needs, and I do it. I just do it.
I'm pretty sure that what I was doing (typing out a blog post) WAS going to translate to something brilliant here. But the brilliance is gone.
That's okay, it was fleeting and likely not as brilliant as I'd like to think it was, I'm sure. It rarely is.
Instead, there's soft hugs, back rubbing, and tender whispers of love and constancy.
Praying while I whisper of the constancy of our presence and our love.
Of The Father's Love.
Fighting back the ugly head of her anxieties. Slaying the dragon of insecurity once more, vanquishing its hold for another day.
And trusting that there is brilliance in that.