This morning when I left my son at preschool I had a little breakdown.
The tears were not for my own child. They were for total strangers. For a child that I've never met and a mother that I had never seen before in my life.
A new child started in my son's preschool class today. As I walked up to hand my son over to the teach, I saw a mother and her beautiful little girl coming towards the teacher. The little girl began to cry before her mother even started the separation ritual that we all get to know when we leave our children at preschool.
Even after my son had already gone in (he's used to the routine by now, hug-kiss-go), I still stood there watching the little girl crying and desperately reaching for her mother who was slowly walking away from her. I looked at the mother and saw that familiar expression of devastation, loss and determination.
I turned back to the little girl and she was still crying her little heart out and struggling to get out of the teacher's arms. Every fiber of her being seemed to be saying, "please don't leave me here alone mommy! I need you. Don't abandon me."
I was frozen in place watching her pain. And as her tears were rolling down her chubby red cheeks so were mine. My heart just broke for her. So scared. So alone. So young. And also for her mother who had to let her go and watch her little girl in so much pain.
I remember the sadness and heartbreak I felt the first time I left my son in preschool as if it was this morning. And I don't look forward to leaving my other baby next year for his first day of preschool.
So for now, I will just cherish having my youngest at home and not having to watch him cry his eyes out as I walk away from him so that he can start his independence.