One morning last week, I left my 6-year-old standing on the sidewalk in front of his school, with tears forming in his eyes and a look that said “how could you leave me here right now!” As we start the kindergarten phase of his life, this whole “letting him go” thing is happening more often.
Before you think I’m a terrible mom, let me explain. It is our third week of kindergarten now. So far, my husband has dropped our son off at school in the morning.They will walk in together and my husband will sign him in to Kid’s Time, our before and after school program – and then my son runs on his way to play. Already, only 3 weeks in, this is normal; this is routine.
Well, on this day I messed up the routine. I was able to take my son to school that morning – for the first time. We were able to leave a little later, and I could drop him off right before the first bell rang. So he did not need to go to Kid’s Time. I explained several times during our drive what he would need to do – basically, get out of the car and stand on the sidewalk for about 3 minutes before the teachers opened up the front door and he could go to his classroom.
We pull in and there are a lot of cars, and lot of kids standing around. All of a sudden this familiar place became foreign to my son, and I could tell he was very nervous to step out of that car. Unfortunately, there was really no place for me to park, and a line of cars behind me waiting to drop off their own kids. So, I forced a smile, told him again what he needed to do, said he would be fine, and made him get out of that car. I slowly pulled away watching him in the rear view mirror. What I really wanted to do was stop the car, let him run back inside, and drive off saying “No school today! Let’s spend the day together and play!” But I didn’t; I pulled away. His image faded from my rear view mirror and then was gone.
I can only imagine what he felt in that moment: scared, betrayed, alone, maybe even angry with me? But I knew he was safe, I knew this experience was teaching him independence, and I knew in a short 3 minutes he would be in his classroom, back in his familiar routine. And he may have felt completely alone in that moment, but I knew he wasn’t. I knew he was safe at school, and even more he was on my mind, in my heart. I left him on that curb, but we were still connected.
This experience was a lesson in the new kinds of parenting experiences I have ahead, but was also a reminder of the relationship we have with God. There are many moments in life where we feel abandoned at the curb. We face a situation and feel ill-equipped, alone, scared. But we are not alone!
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
I did not abandon my son, and similarly, God never abandons us. There is no need to be afraid! Our God never leaves us!!