Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Coming Out of His Shell

Finally. Most kids go through a short-lived bout of separation anxiety around 1 or 2 years of age. Jacob was completely normal in that respect; however, his separation anxiety has been anything but short-lived. A couple of years ago, I was the only Cubbie mommy to accompany her son on stage to receive his ribbon; I had visions of walking across a similar stage with my grown son as he received a diploma, marking the end of his college career. This year I've been teaching AWANA and, as I go through my preparations and set-up for the lesson at church, there he is so close on my heels I trip over him every time I turn around; I've often wondered what it would be like to, instead of tripping over his short 5-year-old frame, run smack into a 6-foot-tall man everytime I make a move.

He's not like this at home. So, essentially, it's like Jekyll and Hyde. Ask any of my friends from church--they come over to my house, and their mouths drop open in astonishment as they watch Jacob interact in his comfort zone. "Is that the same little boy I see at church?" they ask. Same one. That's why it's been frustrating. This frustration has led to several battles because we initially were of the philosophy that if we didn't push him out of his comfort zone, he wouldn't ever have the chance to get over it. But when the tears started Saturday nights in anticipation of the next morning's activity, we realized that sobbing over the prospect of going to church wasn't really a positive thing. So...we began just letting him do as he felt comfortable to do. For the past two years, this has meant him tagging along to service with us...and sitting so quietly you wouldn't know he was there (I think he was terrified we'd send him to Sunday School).

This past week, however, he began baby steps toward breaking away from us. Wednesday night he decided he wanted to participate in Game Time. And...he couldn't stop talking afterwards about how his team won Tug-of-War--TWICE! On Sunday, I asked him my standard, "Are you sure you want to come to service with us? Wouldn't you rather go to Sunday School." He shook his head. And off to service he went. But half-way through the singing, he said quietly to me, "Actually I do want to go." I don't think I've ever sprinted so quickly out of a church service...before he could change his mind. And he was a brave boy and had a wonderful time in Sunday School!

My big boy has already told me he plans to play games tomorrow night. And plans to go to Sunday School on Sunday. My baby boy is growing up! Looks like I won't have to walk him across that stage to get his diploma after all!

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