If you have small children, your bedtime routine probably looks a lot like ours. Baths. Books. Beds. And I’ll admit it: sometimes a little television time sneaks in there too.
Last night my daughter and I shared snuggles in my king-sized bed, footie pajamas and all. We talked about her day. My day. But mostly her day. And on the television? Blue’s Clues.
When it comes to children’s television shows, I have my list of favorites. Little Bear. Oswald. Sesame Street. I have a much longer list of programs that make my skin crawl. My head explodes. Snakes slither out of my eyes. I won’t name them.
Blue’s Clues isn’t on either list. It doesn’t make me smile and it doesn’t make me want to jump out of a third story window, either.
So we watched, and cuddled, and she sang the familiar songs. I quickly realized that it was an episode I’d never seen before- the one that said goodbye to Steve and hello to Joe. Blue’s Clues devoted an entire episode to this transition and I found it sweet. Thoughtful. Considerate of its preschool audience.
Two and three year olds have a different sense of goodbye.
During my oldest son’s school day my daughter often checks in with me about her brother. Where is he again? At school? He’s learning? Ok.
After long weekends spent at home, she’s not always ready for her father to leave us.Where’s Daddy? At work? At his office?
I have a close friend whose father passed away when she was two. She’d told me that when she was raising her son, she always made sure to say goodbye, to have a moment with him before each departure– no matter how brief. Another friend lost her mother at the same age, and makes sure she has individual pictures taken with each of her children at every age.
We all do this, I suppose. We parent ourselves. Nurture the children we once were.
We say our farewells if we weren’t given the chance to. We ensure that the things we pass down aren’t the things that were passed down to us. We fight for object permanence for all our lives. It’s our way of trying to make sense of goodbye.
Mary Lauren Weimer is a social worker turned mother turned blogger. She's pursuing a career as a freelance writer, and her work has been published in Sleet Magazine and featured on many popular websites. Her blog, My 3 Little Birds, focuses on the small reflections - MOMents - in each day that make life beautiful. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook!