It was a day I had been dreading since this time last year - Grandparents Day at my granddaughter's preschool, a very emotional day that left me and my granddaughter in tears.
First of all, I suck at goodbyes. I am hugely emotional and probably could use some professional help.
Grandparents Day last year started off beautifully. When Tilleigh, 4, (now in kindergarten in a different school) saw me walk into her room, she ran toward me in full force and jumped straight into my arms. She introduced me to her teachers and classmates and, for the next half hour, we played, we colored, we read books. Then it was time for me to leave.
That's when things turned bad.
Tilleigh began crying (I think she inherited my ultra-sensitive emotional gene) and begged to leave with me. I had to go back to work, but was tempted to take a vacation day. But I couldn't -- I had an afternoon deadline. So I walked out of her classroom after reassuring her that she would be OK and that we'd be together later that day. It didn't help. Her teacher had to peel her off me.
I managed to hold back my own tears until I walked out of the building. I cried all the way to work. I cried at work. I cried in my cubicle until I talked to my daughter later in the day who told me that Tilleigh was fine.
I was still an emotional wreck.
Fast forward to Nov. 20, 2012 -- Grandparent's Day at the same school. This time, though, it was for the class of my 2-year-granddaughter, Evie. She started preschool in September, and I was not looking forward to the visit because I could foresee Evie's reaction to my leaving.
Not attending Grandparents Day was not an option. I don't miss swim meets, recitals, soccer matches, etc. And I was excited to meet her teachers and see the room where she spends two days each week. I wasn't, however, looking forward to telling her goodbye at the end of the event.
My daughter, who's very aware of my extreme sensitive nature when it comes to my children and grandchildren, had warned the teachers that if Evie showed any emotion when it was time for me to leave, I'd most likely take Evie with me.
And I did.
When I walked into the room, Evie was standing at the window looking for me. When she turned around and saw me, she yelled "Mom!" and, like her sister, ran and jumped into my arms. For the next half hour, we colored and played Legos.
Then the dreaded moment came. The teachers announced that it was time for grandparents to leave. We cleaned up our play area, and I walked across the room to get my purse. When I turned around, Evie had gotten her coat and backpack and was walking toward me.
I tried to be a mature adult.
"Baby, Mom (they call me "Mom" because that's what they hear their mommy call me), has to go back to work," I said, after I picked her up and began kissing her. "Your mommy will pick you up in a few hours and I'll see you later this afternoon."
Her chin began quivering and her bottom lip morphed into a full-blown pout. It had been a long time since I had seen the child pout. Tears started rolling down her rosy, chubby baby cheeks and she said, in a very soft voice, "Mom, don't leave me. I want to go with you."
That's all it took.
"OK, baby, Mom won't leave you," I said.
One of her teachers, who witnessed the drama, was told that I'd probably cave. She was so sweet and understanding.
Unlike this time last year, my granddaughter and I walked out of the building hand-in-hand and being grateful for the moment.
I don't know if what I did would be considered right or wrong with child-rearing professionals, but because it's preschool, I didn't see the harm.
I took Evie to lunch, then dropped her off at my daughter's office. It worked out fine because my daughter's boss is Evie's grandfather (my husband). Evie enjoyed a couple hours at work with her mom and grandfather.
Turns out, it was a very good Grandparents Day after all.
Contact staff writer Karen Nazor Hill at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6396. Follow her on Twitter at twitter. com/karennazorhill. Subscribe to her posts on Facebook at www.face book.com/karennazorhill.