Tears streamed silently down his face and mucous darted in and out of his
nose as he sniffed. I motioned to him to come to me. He did. When I asked him what was wrong he tearfully told me, “I miss my mommy.” I told him I missed my mommy too and asked if he would give me a mommy hug. He threw his arms around my waist and I hugged him back tightly.
Kindergarten can be a scary place on the first day. Sure the room is bright and interesting, but it can also be overwhelming. No amount of crayons, blocks, computers, books etc. can take the place of a mommy’s love. Leaving home for the first time- or maybe any time – can be sad and scary.
After a moment’s embrace, I told this little fellow his mommy would be sad if she knew he were crying. He agreed that he did not want his mommy to be sad. He dried up his tears. I gently took his face in my hands, looked him deep in his eyes and told him we would both be okay. He cracked a slight smile and made his way back to his table spot.
We made it through the day. Not completely tear free, but each time a tear came I responded the way I felt deep inside. I understand missing your mommy. I’m almost 40 years old, but I understand. I miss my mommy because she suffers from Alzheimer’s disease.
It is a terrible disease that only those with loved ones suffering from it can truly understand. Others may be sympathetic, but until you experience the disease up close you can not imagine it. It is what makes me empathize with those children who cry for their mommies on the first, second, and even third day of kindergarten.
The children in my class will not know why I relate to them. The reason is not important to them. The only thing that matters is that when I hug them they sense my sincerity and understanding of their fears. The difference between us is that at the end of the day they will fall into the arms of the mothers they love. I will go home to the stark reminder that the passing day takes with it another piece of my mother. I know this difference, they don’t need to. They only need to know that when tears shed for mothers stream down their faces I will give the hug that says without words, “I understand.”