The parent drop-off line. A parent’s greatest dream or worst nightmare.

The dream becomes reality when mom or dad drops Junior off for a day of school. Child gleefully jumps from the vehicle, swipes a quick hug and kiss and trots toward the school building.

The nightmare comes when the child gets out of the car and seems a little clingy and maybe even a little teary-eyed as he looks to walk through the school doors.

The latter happened Friday morning (Oct. 11, 2019) as I took my son to school. We arrived a few minutes earlier than usual so he could get himself together for his class trip. A little boy got out of the SUV in front of us. He gave his mother a hug and turned to walk toward the school building. He stopped and turned again to his mother. He gave her another tight hug.

He turned again toward the school, then back again toward mom, who was getting back into her vehicle. Mom gave him yet another hug and a gentle nudge.

My son and I watched the scenario unfold. He had already gotten out of the car and got his big hug and kiss from me like always. I told him to have a good day and that I’d see him after school. As my son walked to the entrance, I could see the little one walking slowly. I watched his hands reach toward his eyes, which were undoubtedly filled with tears.

As the line of cars began to slowly move forward and from the paved recess area, a lump welled up in my throat. I remembered the few times that my son turned on the tears at the dropoff. I wondered if the mother driving in front of me felt the same way as she slowly drove from the dropoff point. DId she wonder if her little one got comforted by a teacher or aide as he walked through the door? Did he perk up once he rounded the corner to his classroom?

I hope all went well for him. In my children’s cases, it usually did. Some mornings, I have a grumpy boy who didn’t sleep well the previous evening. He might give me as much as a quick hug and stomp off, but checking in with his teacher, he’s fine once he gets to class.

Gotta love the joys and sorrows of school dropoffs. But like all-things little ones, they’re over before we know it.