I watch my son’s tears pour down his cheeks. He holds up a sore finger, the result of a clandestine foray into the bathroom drawer.
As I kiss the offending finger better, I marvel at this elemental nature of a child. This nature of trust in the world and, in particular, in me that all will be better.
The Little Dide looks at his finger. The kiss didn’t work. He holds it up again. I kiss it better… again. We go through this routine 15 times before he decides Mommy has worked her magic. He slithers off to bed, presumably to resume whatever mischief he originally intended. Instead of investigating what might end up being a problem, I find myself focusing on the awe I feel over the trust he places in me.
There was no doubt in his mind that Mommy could make the hurt better. To him it was just a matter of perseverance.
This fundamental nature of trust is something we, as parents, instill from the moment our children our born. Released from a warm and comfortable womb, the bright and cold world is a shock to a newborn child. We respond by taking that child in our arms and making all kinds of grand promises.
We spend the next months and years responding to every cry and every hurt. We teach them to trust their needs will be met. We teach them to trust the world.
The world then spends the rest of their lives eroding that trust. Whether it’s a bully on the playground, or the cattiness that seems to possess teenage girls, or a broken relationship, children see a systematic tearing down of that sweet trusting nature we took such pains to instill.
As a stay-at-home/work-at-home mom I have been privileged to do the majority of the caregiving that has produced that trust. As the Big Dude approaches the start of school, I can almost feel it slipping away. There will be seven hours each day where I have no control over his life. I can’t make the hurts better and I can’t predict him from the complicated microcosm of the world that school can be. It makes me sad that the world will take a bit of that sweet, trusting nature away from him. He will soon be embarrassed to say the ‘I love yous’ that are so freely given now.
Change is good, I know. Big Dude needs the stimulation and challenge that school will offer. Still, he’s only four and it doesn’t seem fair to thrust him into the world so early.
Perhaps the problem is my own lack of trust. School was hard on me. I learned not to trust people who were supposed to be friends. In many ways my wounds are still raw. My mother tried to kiss it better but I had already learned the truth about Mommy magic… that, as much as they want to, Mommies can’t make it all better.
So, perhaps, as I take the Big Dude to his new school for a special orientation day this week, he can kiss my wounds better. It’s amazing how much a Big Dude bear hug and a quick ‘Je t’aime‘ as he runs into the classroom can do for a Mommy’s heart.
Maybe we loose our trusting nature as we grow but we get it back through our children. I may not trust the world but I will trust the Big Dude. I will trust that his sunny nature, his generosity and his curiosity will help him become the man I know he can be. School is just the first step on a very long road. My job is not done yet… I just have to learn to share.
Note: Wednesdays is for Writing is a weekly experiment in writing. I look for writing starts in the form of single words… it can be complicated or mundane just comment with a few words to get me started. Thanks to those who have helped so far. If anyone is interested in joining me in this writing exploration please send me the work you have produced from a random writing start and I’ll consider posting it.