Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Separation Anxiety

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The nursery leader at church said Erin could start attending nursery class little early.

"If she's nervous or cries she might not be ready to come without you."

Of course she's going to cry, I thought as I gathered up the yard sale we dump on our pew at church each week. Books, silly putty, snacks, drinks, discarded jewelry, sacrament cups, crayons, crumpled paper, hair accessories, magnets, toys stolen from the pews behind--and in front--of ours. So much entertainment required for a little over sixty minutes of the first hour of worship. And like every week, as I pick up crumbs and dying crafts I wonder if it all leads to over-stimulation and makes the kids more church hyper.

(Don't tell me, let me figure it out myself.)

The salvation of the church-going parent comes when the children are off in their respective classes for the next two hours of church. In our case it's Anson to Primary and Ever to the older nursery class. Chup and I have been bouncing Erin between us for the last six months waiting until May. May--the month Squish finally turns eighteen months and we can put her in the younger nursery class and actually hear words spoken in Sunday School and teach our third hour classes without her mid-afternoon red-faced melt-down. (We've also employed our friend Jessica to help with the bouncing, bless her for her troubles.)

Yes May! The month of our church-going peacemaking.

And yet, I worried for Erin's side of the bargain. She's many things: quiet, sensitive, emphatic, observant and skeptical, but not so much a socialite. In crowds she's fiercely devoted to me (shall we say) and when we leave her with a babysitter she curses at us through the front window. For weeks leading up to May I had visions of Erin in nursery clawing at the door, splinters in her fingernails, praying (with her limited vocabulary) for freedom.





So last Sunday after our pew was cleared of debris, I walked my Erin to the nursery door for the first time. And just before I opened it I crouched down and looked into her eyes.

"You can do this Squish!" I told her with a kiss on her nose.

And then I took a deep breath and opened the door and my Squishy, in her rose dress with the ruffly shoes and that big pastel bow placed on her head, ran fast right through my legs into the nursery and with her arms extended skyward, she let out a huge,


like she had won everything.

And that's when the door slammed shut in my face and my eye was level with the peephole parents use to check on their children in the nursery room.

You know what? That girl didn't even look back.