Anyone who asked me two week ago if I was excited for back to school was meant with a groan and possibly a quip about how I wasn’t ready for the summer to be over. I love the freedom that comes with summer; there is no real obligations, there’s a spontaneity that you can’t duplicate during the school year. Social media was abuzz with all those somewhat obligatory back to school memes, videos and posts about parental excitement over the kids going back.
My lack of excitement over back to school has nothing to do with my love of being a referee for the last three weeks of summer over silly things like who got what cup or who was at fault for a game not being played “right”. I don’t particular enjoy the weather we get in the summer. It’s not even that I love my kids that much and need them to be with me all the time.
Simply, back to school is a whole different ballgame when you have a kid with “needs”.
For us, school starts a week before everyone else.
We’ve been in the school at least twice, almost a third.
We’ve been talking about going back to school since the middle of July, because we have to be talking about transitions way before they happen.
There’s been appointments, emails with planning for the transition, for a month. That doesn’t even include the transition we began at school, during the last year in April, preparing for this coming year.
Then there are the questions:
Would I have to sit in the office for an hour every day to help my son get acclimatized to school? How many meetings would this year bring? Would there be panic attacks or rage on the mornings when things didn’t go just so? Would the bully that is thankfully no longer in my son’s class be replaced by another, only adding to the anxiety of school?
Could I handle all of this, yet again?
The answer is, “You will, because you have to.”
The guilt associated with that response runs deep. I want to be the parent who is excited for my kids to go back to school. I don’t want to be anticipating the worst; I don’t much enjoy living in the fight or flight mode that’s requisite for the school year.
I don’t want sympathy, I promise. This is my world, and as tough as it is, I love it. Sometimes, though and this is real talk: It’s really fucking hard to be together for everyone else when the only thing on your mind is going home and crawling back into bed because you just don’t wanna with anything anymore.
School hadn’t even started and I was semi-close to falling apart over it. When my anxiety peaked in August, I finally raised that white flag and asked the doctor for some help. . Between the stress of finances (or lack of), a brand new diagnosis, and just life in general, I had hit that wall. I couldn’t just breath, or yoga my way out of this anxiety. Especially when I knew what was coming in a few short weeks. I needed to be on my A game. Or B- at the very least.
However, the primary cause of my anxiety was the dread, the eternal dread, of what this school year would bring for my family. My husband tells me that half of my issues would cease to exist if I stopped planning or trying to control the uncontrollable. I know I can’t control it all, logically; he’s right. I also know what the aftermath looks like when you’ve not been a step ahead of the potential issues.
I feel like I would have been a great Girl Scout with how prepared I am all the time.
I’d be a damn liar if I didn’t tell you that I look at those posts on social media with a fair bit of envy. I wish the only thing on my mind when I dropped off my kids was how much time I’d have to myself and not making sure the phones in my house are charged. Just in case.
I’m not judging anyone either. I really, truly do wish that I could gleefully shout my excitement over the new school year. Maybe one day I’ll be able to.
We got through the first day. There were no tears, no yelling, no ultimatums, no panic attacks. Only anxious smiles. I’m carefully hopeful while I cross one day off the calendar. I’ll take it, especially if I can’t barter another month of summer out of the powers that be.