As a guy, I have no experience in dealing with long-term, complicated emotional reactions. For a man, most emotions are created by a single moment of stress and are dealt with. Problem happens, man thinks about problem,man bashes head against problem until it goes away. It’s not elegant, but it does the trick.
But this new category of emotion, the unresolvable kind, is quite a different story. The signs of the little dude’s increasing maturity and the looming inevitable separation that will happen as he gets older is the thing I’m still dealing with. Today, the trigger was the idea of his eating lunch at school. For some reason, I was saddened by the notion that we wouldn’t be eating lunch together for those 3 days a week. Lunch, for the love of pete. A couple of weeks ago we watched Toy Story 3 as a family, and it was a fantastic experience, but when Andy drove off for college and waved goodbye to his toys, I was snuffling and trying to keep it together. There’s nothing wrong with a dude crying, but on the flip side, I really didn’t want to explain why daddy was sad during a very happy family moment.
So I guess the key is that you end up dealing with the separation sadness one step at a time. You acclimatize to each change with some moping or overeating or weeping, whatever gets you by, and you put your brave face back on and greet them with a cheery smile when they come back.So bring on the 3 full days at preschool next year, then 5 days a week at kindergarten the year after that, and on and on.