“Mom, this was the BEST party ever. We loved seeing our friends.” Hearing those words made my heart break a little bit.
It’s not that I didn’t want my kids to have fun; quite the opposite, actually. You see, today we went to a birthday party in honor of a friend from my kids’ old school – this was a reunion of sorts because it was the first time in a while that they got to see all of their old friends again. Seeing them today, you’d never know that they had ever spent a day apart. The other kids squealed when my kids walked in the door; my kids were attacked by hugs and preschool kisses, and were quickly whisked away by their friends while we (mom and dad) got an unusual reprieve from having to coax my kids into participating.
This experience has been very different from the other parties we’ve been to lately, which have all been for kids in their new school. It’s not that these parties are boring or bad, or that the other kids are noninclusive. It’s that my kids are still having a hard time adjusting to their new surroundings. It has been four months and I really thought that my kids would be in a place where they felt as comfortable with their new friends as they do their old friends. But the stark difference between our party today and our other parties really shed some light on the truth.
Today, my kids were the kids that I know they can be – confident, happy, and outgoing. This is compared with what we’ve seen in the past four months at these parties – shy, reluctant and whiny. And in the shadow of it all, I am left wondering whether I made a huge mistake in moving them to where they are now.
I know that change takes time and that the transition is character building. A good friend of mine once told me that one of the biggest favors you can do for your kids is to expose them to situations where they are forced to be outside of their comfort zone because it builds independence, confidence, and autonomy. I have to keep reminding myself that this is not only good for them but it is also good for me because I need to become comfortable with the fact that even though my heart breaks for them, they are learning to become stronger, real little people.
No one ever said that motherhood was easy…