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The apple does not fall far from the tree
Maybe I'm a little oversensitive when it comes to these things. I was one of those kids who had serious separation anxiety issues. I have very clear memories of my father peeling me off of his leg at kindergarten drop-offs. And I remember the (very rare) occasions when my parents would go out on a date, when I would sit by the window waiting for them to come home while my siblings were popping popcorn and watching movies with the babysitter. Every time a pair of headlights would turn down our dark street, I'd perk upÂ and then sink back down into my chair as pair after pair of headlights passed by our house. I would sit there for hours, leaving my perch only to go to the bathroom, or to go upstairs and smell my mother's sweaters.
So, I'm trying really hard to help Charlie and Julia get through their own fears. I'm putting on a brave face, and hoping they're too little to see through it. Because the truth of the matter is that I'm scared, too. I'm afraid to let my babies out into the world...out of my sight...out of my care, or Will's care, or Wendy's care. For me, it's a matter of losing a little control, and gaining a whole lot of trust. I know that everything will be fine, and that we'll all be better for these new experiences. But, that doesn't make it any easier.
My moment of truth
When I pulled into the parking lot of Julia's camp and walked around the car to get her out, she was still crying. I'd get one arm out of her car seat strap, and she'd slip it back in, clutching it to her chest and begging: "Mama, can we please go home? Will you please drive the car home?"
I heaved her up and out of the car, as she clung to me like a sobbing, damp, crab. I pulled Charlie out with the other arm, snagged Julia's backpack and lunch box with two free fingers, and marched up the stairs of the preschool, where Julia was peeled off of me by a camp counselor and I was promptly ushered out the door.
Hours later, on a tip from another mom, I crouched in a "spying place" around the corner from the school and peered through a chain-link fence, looking for Julia. The playground was dotted with dozens of happy faces, splashing in the wading pool, climbing on the jungle gym, digging in the sand box. But, I couldn't find Julia anywhere in the tangle of mingling midgets.
And, then—I spotted her—off on the edge of the playground, sitting alone on a swing, staring down at the ground.
It was only then, crouching alone in the corner, that I finally let the tears spring up into my eyes.
Next Week: Dana loses control...
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Read the next entry: 8.6.07: Separation Anxiety, Part II