Yesterday morning I dropped my 5-year-old son off at his elementary school. We were running a little bit behind and so I didn't have time to feed him breakfast. The plan was for him to run in and get the free breakfast that they offer through their cafeteria. I told him that they were serving yummy pancake wrapped sausages and he was excited to run in there and eat. After school I went and picked him up and I asked how eating breakfast at school was and his face instantly changed. He looked at me and said, "I didn't eat breakfast." My curiosity was peaked, not that it was unusual for him to skip a meal but he just seemed so excited about eating breakfast at his school for the first time. I asked, "why?" And then he responded by saying, "I had nobody to sit by." My heart sank!
When I was growing up I always had a tough time making friends. When I was in 8th grade I wouldn't even eat lunch most days because I didn't have anybody to sit by. I would usually hide out in the bathroom until lunch time was over. In high school I sometimes wouldn't eat, or I would just sit and talk to the lunch lady because I didn't have any friends. I was very happy when I got my drivers licence because then I could go home during lunch and not have to worry about the awkward moments of sitting all by myself.
When my son told me he had nobody to sit by, all of my middle school and high school memories came flooding back to me. The feeling of looking around and seeing not one person move over so I could sit next to them. I remember walking into the cafeteria and praying that some kind sole would look over to me and say, "Nicole, come sit with us." I just pictured my sweet 5-year-old looking around for somewhere to sit and not knowing what to do so he just turned around and walked away. When he told me that, my whole heart shattered.
The thought of sending my children to school has haunted me ever since I even found out I was pregnant. I remember crying hysterically and holding my belly when I was about 9 months pregnant because I was afraid my child would struggle with the mental illness that I had to deal with. I thought about all the hardships I went through and the difficulty I had making and keeping friends. I did not want to have to watch my child go through those things. I know it is important for my kid to learn how to make friends, but it is so hard to not jump up and yell at all of the kids in the cafeteria and force them to be my baby's friend. It is so hard having to sit back and let them grow on their own. Parenthood is just so darn difficult.