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    The Darndest Things: Separation Anxiety

    June 18, 2008 by Brandy Vencel

    After a day like today, I need some comic relief. Or at least a distraction from things that I cannot change. Children are wonderful for comic relief. Their lives are very simple, and with the simplicity comes much delight.

    Yesterday, for instance, my older daughter A. made a trip with Granmama to visit her great grandparents, whom she had been missing lately. This is the first time I can think of that she has made a visit alone. She was so excited.

    E., however, was nonplussed. In fact, he was ticked. I had expected Jealousy to rear its ugly head. After all, he is the oldest and so he has been making solo trips for a few years now. He feels entitled to be the one to go. He hasn’t yet learned that there are years ahead of him in which he will be taking turns.

    So, as I said, he was upset. He grunted. He groaned. He made sure that I knew how unfair this was.

    I told him we’d do some Big People work while she was gone. So we spent the morning outside slaving away vacuuming out and washing the Suburban and dead-heading the geraniums. Q. was sleeping, so it was just the two of us, working and chatting together.

    Frankly, I enjoyed it. And I think he did, too, though he didn’t want to admit it.

    But at lunch, he discovered that A. would not be coming home for nap time. He was astounded. Astonished. Offended. I was watching him with interest through all of this internal commotion that he didn’t quite contain.

    And then he surprised me.

    “But who will I play with after nap?” he cried.

    “Q. is here,” I suggested.

    “But I always play with A. She has to be here!” he was visibly upset.

    And then it dawned on me that he was missing her. A good mommy would have offered comfort, but I have to admit that I am sometimes more of an impish mom than anything else.

    So naturally I teased him.

    “Wait. You mean to tell me you miss her?”

    He looked at me with surprise. “No!” he denied his guilt.

    I was not deterred. “Admit it!” I said. “You like her. She’s your friend!”

    “No she’s not!” He was flustered. “Family can’t be friends! Friends are people outside the family. She is not my friend.”

    “But you miss her and you want to play with her.”

    “That doesn’t make her my friend.”

    “It’s okay to be friends with family, you know. Daddy and I are friends. Ask Daddy who his best friend is. He’ll tell you that it’s me!” I smiled triumphantly.

    “He will not!” E. insisted. “You and Daddy are not friends. And A. is not my friend. I just want someone to play with.”

    I decided to let it go at that, but I was laughing inside. Some days, those two can’t seem to get along. And part of me wonders why in the world God gave them to each other. And then I am reminded that they are perfect matches for each other, and for the whole family.

    What a blessing it is to find that our children have become friends along the way.

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