“If you are lonely when you’re alone, you are in bad company.” – Jean-Paul Sartre
My daughter told my husband yesterday that she had spent recess walking around with her teacher. When he questioned her about whether she was playing with the other kids, she said that she had been spending time on her own.
My first reaction was to email our daughter’s teacher and ask if everything was alright. My husband had the same impulse. The teacher had assured us earlier in the year that if she saw anything that was concerning then she would contact us. She’s got her hands full in that classroom, but she is an incredibly perceptive woman and competent teacher. So I took a deep breath. And then another.
No one wants their child to feel pain or be uncomfortable. I don’t want my daughter to feel isolated, but the longer I sat with the situation the more I felt that things were absolutely okay. My daughter had rounded an emotional corner while on her winter break, and has been consistently agreeable with us and very playful with her brother. She enjoys going to school, and pulls me back into the classroom if I pick her up at the end of the day. She isn’t showing signs of anxiety; quite the contrary, she is stronger than ever.
My daughter is reconfiguring her inner landscape right now. If I stepped in and told her that she was having a hard time then I can be assured that she would turn around and have a hard time. This is one more step in learning how to let go of my child. Give her space to breathe. To be alone. To reconnect how she wants to with those around her.
Do you tend to step in and try to solve other people’s loneliness? Does that work?
Altered photo from Flickr Creative Commons, “Alone in Splendour” by Peer Lawther