A miracle has happened at our house.
Evan has decided for the first time in his almost 2 years of life that it's OK to leave my side and be by himself.
For those of you who have not been aware of this ongoing dependency saga, just take my word that this is nothing less than a monumental event. Seriously. You see, every moment of every day has been spent not only with Evan practically glued to me, but with him erupting into hysterics if I leave the room he's in. OK, that's a bit of an exaggeration; there have been brief phases where he would play on his own for a few minutes, but every time I'd think we turned a corner he would go right back to his desperately clingy ways. The false hope is even worse than the event itself — but it kept getting worse. In recent weeks it's escalated to him throwing himself on the floor in kicking, screaming, wailing pandemonium if I so much as told him I was going upstairs.
Then just when I had reached the very end of my rope, when I truly thought I could take it no more, it all ended. Evan just woke up last Monday and decided that he would not only venture into other rooms alone, he would happily play with his toys for 10, 20, 30 minutes or more. Yesterday I got to vacuum our entire house while he played in the front room for almost an hour. That has NEVER HAPPENED. Ever.
But it gets better. Just today, I slipped out while Evan was playing in his room and sat at the computer. About 10 minutes later I heard him go downstairs and say, "Evan play all by himself for Mommy working." Honestly, no sweeter words could that boy have uttered. Hugs and kisses could not bring me as much joy as that little moment did, knowing that he's not only OK to leave me for a while, but he may even have some altruistic motive for doing so. What a sweet boy I am lucky to have.
Take my word: You seriously have no idea what this means to me. I cannot adequately describe the stress his clinginess has caused. Not only has it been completely emotionally draining to be so in demand, but to know that all your attempts at encouraging independence, or plans to actually perform a task unhindered, or wishes of going to the bathroom alone would be met with such vehemence is utterly exhausting. Compounding the stress is the fact that I work from home, and my ability to make money to support our struggling family is only as good as the time I have to devote to my work. On top of that, I've faced the daily guilt that this tug-of-war inevitably causes in a mother determined to develop patience and understanding and fulfill her child's deepest need to be loved. I have been truly conflicted in a way I've never felt.
But now we're here. We made it. We've had one week and two days of this heavenly bliss, so now I feel safe in trusting that this is here to stay.
How it all came about, on the other hand, I have no idea.
Truly, I am baffled. I'm overjoyed, but perplexed. I have no idea what brought about this change — and believe me, I have been trying in earnest to crack the case, because if Evan should go back to his old ways I want to know the trick that snaps him back into this glorious phase of independence.
Alas, I have no answer. All I can think is that my prayers have at last been answered, or I've learned some important lesson this situation set out to teach me, or Evan has simply outgrown a particularly trying phase, or all of the above.
I guess the moral of the story is this: Whatever struggle you're facing, as a mother or otherwise, hang on. There may be no way to pull yourself out of a difficulty other than to wait as patiently as you can for it to pass. You never know when the end of the road will be, so take heart. It could be just around the corner, so don't give up.
And when you make it out, don't forget to celebrate! Huzzah! Hooray! Hallelujah!
I'm off to treat us to some fries and Coke.