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    « eureka! | Main | wordless wednesday »

    it's over!


    Today was Aidan’s end of the year preschool program. I smiled as they recited the Preamble to the Constitution, stumble-mumbling over unfamiliar phrases like “domestic tranquility” and “general welfare”. I beamed as he did his “part” saying the words to “Hey Diddle Diddle” that he had effortlessly memorized after one reading from me. And I fought a leaden lump in my middle when other kids’ laughter after his recitation completely changed his demeanor. He went from smiles to this:


    And it wasn’t any huge deal that anyone noticed. But I know my boy…and I knew what this face meant for his insides.

    Preschool has been a mixed bag. With most of the *lessons* being social rather than ABC oriented. And the social lessons crush my heart. I debated long over whether to pull him out around February because he dreaded going daily (and I really don’t think preschool is a necessity). “Boys are mean.” “I hate school.” “I don’t feel good.” “No one likes me.” But his teacher assured me that nothing out of the ordinary was going on and the lesson of sticking with & pushing through despite seemed too important (not sure if that decision was wrong or right even now). Still. It’s an arrow in the heart to watch the sinking of sky-high self-esteem. To watch the birth of self-doubt. To not be able to *fix* it all. With a kiss. Or a band-aid.

    And it hurts double to know that so, so much, much more is waiting to be faced.

    There's a definite and high price to being a Thinker and a Feeler.  I watch the difference between Aidan (who  thinks & feels & internalizes) and Davyn (who breezes through life with a smile).  This is one of the Big battles of life, in my mind. Believing in yourself. Despite. And not just for a 4-year-old boy.  I consider myself.  Sometimes I feel the quiet Confidence of who I am. And sometimes that lasts for a long while. But sometimes I flounder and second guess anything & everything that others say…anything & everything that I say. I want to help my Aidan find more of the former than the latter. To cure this human foible once and for all.  Because it hurts far more to feel it for him than for my own self.

    I can't help but think this must be a tiny glimpse of how Heavenly Father feels.  He watches us stumble, grasp, flat-out fall.  Which can't be easy (considering some of my own falls!).  Yet, letting us experience the pain is the definite and Right answer...the Only answer for growth and progress.          
    I know this. Still...I'm grateful to put off Aidan's social progress and enjoy a few months' buffer of my at-home, carefree boy.  Before Kindergarten.  Because this is the face I prefer to see him wear:

    Reader Comments (25)

    I understand that heart-breaking feeling. I've been extra sensitive lately about kids' feelings.

    I'm glad Aidan made it through pre-school and gets an entire summer of carefree!
    May 22, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAngie
    Wow, Amy. The pictures say volumes . . . "But I know my boy…and I knew what this face meant for his insides." This was a post that everyone can relate to and you said it so articulately. Thanks.
    May 23, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterNeighbor Jane Payne
    I completely understand what you're talking about. Kids are so mean!!! My Nate (9 yr old) is super smart and is also a feeler too. Kids make fun of him in his Math class (he's a year ahead in Math). The kids call him munchkin and midget. Isn't that so rude?? I wish we could shelter these kids forever but I know we can't. Thank-you for this post. I needed to read this. I think if we work on Nate's self esteem that maybe he can take what people say about him and let it roll off his back.I hope...
    May 23, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAprilyn
    Don't we all prefer that last face... I'm sorry for your arrow to the heart. It is a hard feeling to want to fix everything--the other children's behavior, the understanding and confidence of your own children, and to always make the right choices and understand perfectly for yourself. Truly life's battle.

    Have a good last free summer before school begins!
    May 23, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTiffany
    I love this post, Amy. I have a feeler, too. And another who breezes through everything with a smile. Motherhood can be so painful! Childhood as well. Beautiful thoughts here.
    May 23, 2008 | Unregistered Commentermichelle
    I remember calling my mom once and asking how she could do it...motherhood, I mean. Olivia was having a particularly rough patch and I just thought I could not bear to see her in so much pain. I told her that I was not cut out for motherhood...for this kind of ache. Olivia was only 6 at the time, and my mom said that I was in for much, much worse. I don't know how we'll bear it.
    May 23, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterApril
    Oh, that is so sad. He is clearly a very feeling boy. Carter is very happy and bouncy, but he has tender feelings, and will think about what he has seen happen and come to me with questions. How to explain the world and the bad things in it? Oh dear.

    Children are so confident of themselves, that watching those first seeds of self doubt is heart breaking. "NO! Don't listen to them! You're wonderful!"
    May 23, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMarie
    Oh how I understand!! I feel so much of the same for my Sabrina. She has yet to really experience the unkindness from others, but still seems to struggle so much with self-doubt when she gets in a group of unfamiliars. I am working on a plan to help her, but I am not at all confident that it will do the trick. I am hoping that it may help.

    I don't at all understand the kids laughter. Why did they laugh when he recited it beautifully? And even if he didn't, where are THOSE kids parents and why aren't they teaching them kindness and compassion? *sigh*
    May 23, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRachel
    Oh, I know, I know, Amy. I have felt this way myself as I've watched my boys struggle to believe in themselves, struggle to find their way, their place. And it's so hard not to be able to jump in and plant a kiss on their cheek and have it all be better. I guess that's just life, though - you said it perfectly - it's a "mixed bag."

    I agree - our Father in Heaven must have similar feelings as He watches us stumble and bumble through, knowing that He could swoop in and fix all that's amiss, but having greater perspective, He doesn't always play the part of the fixer. Recognizing that Heavenly Father must have similar parent feelings makes me feel even closer to Him. Thank goodness He understands us! And our children, too.

    Your pictures captured the day perfectly. And I am SO impressed that they can recite the Preamble! I wish that were less a surprise and more of an expectation. My mom said they repeated it each day when she was in school. Wish we did that, too... Hmmm, that may be a good thing to work on in our family!

    I am rambling. It's just fun to pop by and say hello! Have a great weekend!
    May 23, 2008 | Unregistered Commentershawna b.
    Watching our children grow up is such a mix of emotions. You captured this one so well.
    May 23, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth
    This is so sweet! The expressions. Your feelings. I
    can insert ME or my kids into your post and it wouldn't change! It is so hard sometimes.
    May 24, 2008 | Unregistered Commentersista #2
    Amy, this one made my heart hurt for both of you. You can just see all that is going on inside his little head. I say bag preschool for a few months and come join us for a swim day!
    May 24, 2008 | Unregistered Commenteramberly
    Oh, this was a tender post, Mims. I think this is what they mean when they say, "Motherhood is like having your heart walk outside your body". Avery is my feeling kid, and I so know the ache of that leaden lump. It's too much sometimes.
    May 24, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKelly
    thinking. doing.
    feeling. breezing.
    failing. soaring.
    of course, there is no way to avoid any of these. no way to choose when to fail and when to soar. no way to know if the Confidence will be fleeting. or if it will carry us another day.

    and so especially hard when the thinking/doing/feeling/breezing/failing/soaring is not ours, but our childrens. yet they will stumble-mumble through it like we have before them. and we will absolutely Know, after all, that this is how it was meant to be.

    you've managed to say it just so. thank you!
    May 25, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterlelly
    The firstborn has a big cross to bear. My Seth is the same. I've seen him completely crushed and that sight sends my whole world splashing to the floor. My Lucy is just like Davyn--smiling through it all--like water off a ducks back, really.
    May 25, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJordan
    This is such a sweetly heartbreaking post. Poor Aiden, he shouldn't have to deal with such things as early as preschool. I'm surprised by that because usually kids are so clueless at that age that they don't make fun of each other yet and just go with the silly flow.

    May 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJill
    Those "social lessons" are exactly why I laugh when anyone says, "but what about socialization?" when they hear I homeschool. Not that homeschooling is the end all, but if you want to talk about it let me know.
    May 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLindsay
    Amy, this brings tears to my eyes. Watching our children grow up is one of the most wonderful things, and one of the most hardest things. You are such a wonderful Mom. Your boys are lucky to have you.
    May 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle M.
    Although I didn't experience trials with preschool for my older children. It was a mixed bag for Luke last year as well. This year he seemed to have soared more than I ever imagined. And I can't believe our boys are starting kindergarten *sniff** And in just a few months. I hope that next year will be completely different than this year, that really is heart breaking for him AND you. That last photo is adorable! Hope you guys had a great weekend. :)
    May 27, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterjenny c.
    That hurts. And hurts you just as much as it hurts him. So tough. I know that feeling of wishing you could protect them and knowing they have years of it ahead. I had some worries with Alexis, but gratefully in Kindergarten kids are starting to understand social codes. It's hard with boys who feel because they are taught to hold it all in so you have to watch for outward expressions of inward pain. Hopefully kindergarten will be easier for him.
    May 27, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnnalisa
    The birth of self-doubt. Yep, it's a sad thing to watch. I have a boy like that, too. He's almost 8. When he spent the entire summer dreading first grade I decided to take some action and I talked to the principal about switching his class. Some kids are just plain mean and sometimes it's just best to avoid the battlefield. (I don't usually intervene like this--for example, he had to talk to the teacher himself about his "right" answer that looked wrong because of sloppy handwriting.) And it's a daily process for me, too, knowing when to help, how to help, and when to just let him feel the pain of stumbling his way through life. But on the positive side, his happy times are VERY happy times. Hopefully that's also true for your Aidan.
    May 27, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAlisha
    I love the pictures, Aidan is so grown up, it blows me away. And I agree with you, it's so hard to be a mom sometimes and watch your child have insecurities, I see it in my own boys and it breaks my heart!
    May 27, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMegan
    This post brought out the mother bear in me! The protective instinct.
    I do love this boy's smile.
    May 27, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBarb
    It hurts so much more when it's someone you love, and when you can't fix it. *sigh*

    Well, hopefully, the smiles will last all summer long and into the next school year.

    (That Miss Reagan is adorable!)
    May 27, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKatie
    My heart aches as I look at Aidan's little face. No one should ever have to go through that and I have a feeling I will be very "mother bear" when it comes to these situations for Ry.
    May 28, 2008 | Unregistered Commentermandy

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