You Can’t Make Me Go!

Have you ever stopped to consider what you really want for your children? What kind of qualities you would like to see them develop as they grow and mature? When we attune to our children, we promote a healthy secure attachment within them. When we model how to tune in to the self, we also promote a foundation for resilience and flexibility.  

I remember looking at the clock when I was getting ready to leave with Rylan for his lab appointment. I felt some alarm begin to ring in my chest as it tightened. Mindfully I slowed down the moment, I noticed I was telling myself we were going to be late. Taking in a deeper breath and breathing it out slowly, I smiled as I recognized and named for myself how much I value making and keeping agreements with others. 

Feeling a sense of inner restoration, I called out to Rylan, "It's time to be going, did you brush your teeth and wash your face?"  

"I'm not going!" Rylan said with a determined look as he stood with his feet firmly planted.  

I felt my gut clench as I took in his expression, needing trust that connection was possible. I placed my attention on riding the wave of my breath to stay calm while reaching out to embrace him, right where he was standing. 

For a few moments I just simply held him in silence while keeping my attention on my breath. When I felt his body relax a bit, I looked into his eyes and jumped right into strategy, asking hopefully, "Do you remember we are going to meet Kelly and the kids at the park as soon as we are done?"  

For a second his eyes brightened. Then frowning as if in pain, he pulled away from me and literally fell into the easy chair, grabbing a hold of its arms tightly, "You can't make me go! I'm not going! I'm not going! You're forcing me!"  

Hearing the desperate edge to his voice and seeing the terror in his eyes, I dropped to my knees by his chair and gently stroked the hair back from his eyes as I empathized, "Oh sweetheart, are you frightened to go? Are you needing trust that the injection won't hurt and that you will be safe?"   

Tearfully he nodded, "Yes," as he released his death-grip on the arm-chair a little.  

Making another guess, I asked, "Is it that you'd really like more choice around getting ready to go and what it's going to look like when you do go?" 

"Uh-huh," he sniffed, as a big tear rolled down his cheek.   

"Oh, come here and let me give you a big snuggle," I said as I reached out to envelop him in a loving embrace and gently rock him back and forth until I felt his body relax and heard his breathing deepen. "You feeling a little better now?" I asked as I kissed his forehead.  

"A little," he said quietly.   

Continuing to hold him close, I reflected, "I'm remembering the last time we went in for your injection. What was it, again, that the nurse said we could come in early for?"   

Watching his eyes as he began to remember, I saw them light up as he caught my gaze. "That I could get a numbing cream so it won't hurt!"   

"Yes, that's what she said, isn't it!" I agreed with a grin. "Is there anything else you can think of that you'd like to take with you or might need?"   

"Can I take my blanket Ashley made me?"   

"You really know you matter when her blanket of love is wrapped around you, don't you! I like that idea." I assured him, "Anything else?" 

"Just you, Mom, I want you to stay close to me, okay?" 

"Oh, sweetheart," I felt my heart melt as I witnessed my son's resilient spirit. "I'm right here, and I'll do my best to stay right beside you the whole time.”

The connections we forge with our children when they are young become the blueprint for how the rest of their life unfolds for them. Their earliest sense of safety is formed during childhood and directly shapes their capacity for intimacy and trust.


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