Clingyness isn’t a bad thing

Published 4:29 pm Wednesday, February 11, 2009

We have a routine every Sunday morning. We start talking up Sunday School as soon as Sutton wakes up on Sunday.

“Aren’t you excited to go see your Sunday School teacher and all your friends?” I ask her. “Are you going to have a good time?”

She just looks at me. I guess this is normal since she is 19-months-old and connecting the events one Sunday to the same events a week later is probably too much to ask.

When we arrive at church, we take Sutton to her classroom and make a big production of getting her inside her room.

“Mom and dad will be back,” I say. “We won’t be gone later.”

Then I dash out of the room, trying not to look back. I hesitate and then keep walking, trying not to worry about her while I’m gone.

All of this routine is a farce. The truth is, Sutton doesn’t even notice when we leave. She loves Sunday school, loves playing with the other children and the toys there. It’s Greg and I who are stressing out.

“Do you think she will be OK?” I ask every week. “I did leave her bag and juice, didn’t I?”

“She will be fine,” Greg responds. “Don’t worry.”

We go on to church and I try to follow Greg’s suggestion. Greg, who tries to act like he’s cool, calm and collected, gets caught several times checking the beeper they give all parents when they drop off their children.

“No beeps?” I ask.

He smiles and nods and then checks it again just to make sure.

Church is over. We head back to the nursery, walking in the room.

“Sutton!” we exclaim, waving at her like maniacs when we walk in the room.

She just looks at us and goes about playing.

“It’s time to go home,” I tell her. “Tell everyone bye.”

She looks and me and then bolts for the corner. She runs away and I end up chasing her.

“She’s just playing,” I tell her teacher. “She really wants to come home I’m sure.”

I chase Sutton around some more, calling in Greg to run a more complex defensive scheme.

We grab her up and she starts crying. OK, she starts yelling. Loudly.

“See you next week,” I say as we walk out the door.

I look at Greg.

“Aren’t you glad we don’t have one of those clingy kids?” Greg asks.

“Yes,” I reply. “But a little clingyness would sure make it easier to round her up each Sunday.”