Things are lovely…repeat as necessary.

writing my heart out about living from our hearts

Six Preschool Lessons for Getting Past the Panic

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The facts are what the facts are.  I am separated from my husband.  It was not my choice, but I know why.  We are still married and as long as that is true I aim to focus on my half of the troubles that took us apart and learn to correct them.  For better or for worse, this can still be good for me.

The first issue I need to address is the devouring sense of panic I feel at being separate from him.  The sadness at failing him may never fade, but this clinginess has got to go.  It must be suffocating to feel the kind of NEED I am emanating coming at you all day.  The panic is something I remember from the preschoolers I used to teach, and even from my own children in the face of babysitters.  Looking at it that way I know it will pass with patience and a plan.

If I was a teacher, facing this panic-stricken child that is also me, how would I help me through this time?

  • Hold me.  I would hold the child in my arms and offer solid comfort.  Walking and using movement to encourage my to process my feelings and get a little outside of myself.
  • Talk to me.  I would sweetly and gently point out to the child the pretty things around  us in hope of eliciting some connecting response.
  • Stay alongside me.  As the child becomes more interested in her surroundings I would keep a circle of quiet safety around her as she tentatively explored a toy or book.
  • Remind me who my friends are.  The child might be walking beside me now, or reaching down from my arms and I would beginning to introduce her to the other children, ones who are calmly going about their day and allow her to come alongside these new friends.
  • Keep me in sight.  As the little child moves off to play on her own, she may still seek me out and I’ll be ready to offer encouragement as she works her way into a productive day.
  • Do it again, and again.  This might be a process we go through every morning or several times a day, but it will subside and soon separation becomes a normal part of a healthy day.

Now, preschoolers endure separation concretely secure that the parent s coming back.  I have none of this.  My only assurance is in that this is still a separation and in his own words, “We don’t know where this is going to go.”  It’s a slim assurance. but those are the most joyful words in my head right now, and the little girl I have to care for is repeating them over and over in an attempt to be brave.


Written by Shannon Udell

July 12, 2010 at 3:20 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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