Ren is not much for change. Neither am I, I suppose. But still, I guess I didn’t appreciate the impact that moving up from Nursery at church (18 mos. to 3 years) to Primary (3 to 12 years) would really have on him. We had prepped him for the transition, and the Nursery leaders had taken the incomers to Primary for part of the time during this month so they could get used to the idea, but Sunday was his official last day. I think it finally hit him, and kinda hard.
As we pulled into our parking lot coming home from church, I mentioned how nice it was going to be that he was now finished with Nursery because he wouldn’t be exposed to a million illnesses every week. (Twenty or more kids under the age of three chewing on the same toys… a regular germ fest.) Not very sensitive of me, I know, and the results were pretty ugly. First he became whiny, then he didn’t want to get out of the car, then he didn’t want to change his clothes, he didn’t want to eat lunch…
At first, Colin and I were fighting his defiance as we tried to tackle each refusal. That got us no where, of course. Finally, it dawned on me to ask him how he was feeling.
“Are you feeling sad, Son? About being all done with Nursery?”
He started to cry, but not in that defiant, irritating way. He really was just sad and didn’t know how to express it.
“Yes,” he said with a sweet and tender voice. His little mouth curled down and his cheeks flushed. He buried his head in my lap.
I felt so bad for him, and terrible that I had tried to make him do irrelevant things when he just needed to talk. “Tell me what you’ll miss about Nursery,” I said, stroking his back.
“And your teachers?”
This was not an unfamiliar feeling for me. Letting go and moving on can be hard for me, too.
“I feel like that too when I have to say goodbye to things and friends,” I told him honestly. “But they’ll still be there. Maybe you can say HI to them on your way to Primary each Sunday, until you don’t miss it so much.”
We talked about the things he did like about Primary– what he was looking forward to which included Singing Time and seeing some of the big kids that he admires, as well as sitting with Justin. Then I asked him if he was worried about going to Primary at all.
“It’s hard to sit in my chair. I want to wiggle.”
Yes, that’s a difficult one… many go through their whole Primary years never conquering that! I assured him that he’d do just fine as time went on.
“I feel better, Mama. I don’t want to cry anymore,” he said signaling the end of our conversation.
I said a quick prayer of gratitude that I could chat with him and help him overcome his sadness. I prayed that this would be the first of many heart-to-hearts with my sweet, sensitive son.