Loneliness and big hugs

Benjamin has had two relatively tear-free days at school.  He seems to be adjusting to the concept, enjoying himself more and making friends.  This morning, however, when I mentioned it was nearly time to get dressed for school, he got sad again.  He started crying.  (My poor guy.)  I asked him how he was feeling, and he said, “I don’t want to go to school.”  Upon further questioning, I got answers that progressed to, “I don’t like the kids”, “I don’t want to go”, “I don’t like it there” and finally, “I’m all alone there — I feel lonely.”

That’s the real issue, I think:  I’m pretty sure he actually does like the kids, and he does like the school.  He’d stay there all day if Dan, Liam & I were there with him.  (Actually, I think he’d probably be pretty happy even just with me.)  I am so proud of him for being able to voice how he feels.  I am so impressed that he understands why he feels that way.  I want to reassure him that his feelings are normal without feeding them.  I want to validate the way he’s feeling, and I want to encourage him to continue to be honest about his feelings, but I’d rather not have it turn into tantrums about going to school.  It’s hard.  I tell him that it makes sense that he feels that way, that I understand, and that when I started school, I felt lonely, too.  And then I tell him that some of my best friends, even now, are people I met at school.  (That’s actually pretty cool — I have friends I’ve known since kindergarten, and he’s played with their kids, so he knows who they are.)

I think that helps him a little, but getting dressed for school, he was still a little sad (although no more crying).  Just before it was time to go, Liam toddled over to Benjamin, fell against him, then took his arms and wrapped them around him, giving him a big hug.  He let go, smiled up and Benjamin, and then tucked his head against him and hugged him again.  And again.  Benjamin smiled and hugged him back.

Then they lost their balance and fell in a heap on the floor, laughing.  (No injuries.)  I told Benjamin, that if he feels lonely today, he should remember Liam’s hug and remember that Liam and I will be there very soon to pick him up.  As he was leaving, he said goodbye to all of us, and said, “Bye Liam!  Liam loves me and I’ll see you soon!”

I love my boys.  I am so happy that I have them in my life, but even happier that they have each other.  Liam isn’t even 1 yet, and he’s already loving Benjamin and providing emotional support.  I feel so lucky to be their mom.

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