Monday, February 13, 2012

I'm Not Ready Yet.

12:30 p.m.

I'm sitting on the chair watching the day unfold around me. There is so much going on at this moment but I do not feel like I am a part of any of it. The long list of things I need to do today is rolling around in my mind but I cannot push myself to even begin. It is like time is frozen somewhere, although I know it is not. 

Each second that passes brings a heavy wave of guilt. I know I should be doing.... 
I can't put my thoughts in order. I can't slow the cycle of worry or fear that seems to keep welling up inside me. My heart is somewhere else. With my child. A big day for us, for him, as he discovers a new world that is just waiting to open up for him.

I'm filled with pride at the way he just steps forward into the adventure, much like the first day of kindergarten several years ago. He is nervous, but he doesn't let it show. Maybe he knows I'm feeling it for both of us. Maybe there is a small part of him that knows I will be a mess for both of us. Like he can just peek into my eyes and transfer the fear into me.

It seems like nothing in so many ways. Every child every where eventually has to move up in the world. Take on new territory and face the unknown of a new school. It's not something we can avoid. But this boy, my first born, clutches a piece of my soul unlike my other children. We are connected in such a different way. 

Every year, a child moves on. Every day, a child grows up. Every single minute, another mother somewhere is facing this feeling of dread. That this one step into a new school, out of the world of elementary, is stealing a part of the child they are living to protect and guide. This is a giant step towards independence. Every day is a step towards letting our children go.

I'm proud of him. 
I'm thrilled at the way he can keep pushing himself forward.

I wish that I could do the same. But I'm can't. I am stuck. I am consumed with worry and fear and hope. The phone rings suddenly, temporarily breaking the cycle in my mind. My heart stops, my breath freezes in my throat and I force myself to the display on the telephone. "Please, don't be the school" I pray feverishly. I press myself forward and look, feelings of relief washing over me when it's someone else, 
anyone else.

Everything has always seemed so hard for this boy. Like he was born to always have the short end of the stick. There are always roadblocks, or at the very least speed-bumps in the the course of his life so far. I envy the way he just keeps going. I wish that I could close my mind and just move forward. If there is a defective toy in our house, it was his Christmas gift. His batteries die first. If someone is going to get hurt during something fun or exciting, it's going to be him and it's going to be bad.  He's cautious and careful, but not consumed by fear. Somehow, no matter what goes wrong, he just keeps going. And it's always hard to watch.

Today, I can't be there. Today, I desperately want to be there. In the shadows of that big school, watching over him. Protecting him from anyone who might not understand. He's facing a whole new world full of people who don't know him, don't know his temperament or needs. They don't know he has Tourettes, or anything else. In their eyes, he's just another kid. And I'm obsessively thinking over all of the worst case scenarios.

Logic tells me he'll be fine. As I just wrote, he always keeps pushing. He always keeps going. I know that he'll be fine. But I'm terrified for him. I'm frozen in time, yet every second slowly pounds by. Someone did the dishes. Someone washed the floor. Someone played with Angel Baby after she had breakfast.  But I'm quite sure it wasn't me. My body is barely in a functional place. I'm unable to do anything more than I have to. I just need to make it until 3... then I can breathe and life can resume.

3:00 p.m.

I arrive at the school with my loving trucker who was home early from work on the most appropriate day. We are early, so we sit in the truck a little longer and play with the Angel Baby. She is only a little confused to be picking up Macboy at 'the big school' but is happy to wait with us.

I brace myself and step out of the truck. I remind myself as I walk to the doors that having no phone calls means that nothing major went wrong.  I have tears creeping into the corners of my eyes. So much concern for the reaction waiting inside for me.  What if he hated it? What if it was horrible and long and boring and he regrets asking to go?  What if he's upset, or crying already?  How could I calm him? Maybe I should have waited before handing in our paperwork!

I am nearing the office where I'm supposed to meet him. Feeling like a child in so many ways, I try to shake off the worry that just doesn't matter. In seconds I will know the results of the day. I wipe my face, pull my head up high and paste the biggest smile I can on my face. Stepping around the corner, I can see my boy inside, facing away from me.

He's leaning on a railing, facing the teacher. His shoulders are slumped and he's already got his coat and backpack ready. He hears me coming and turns to me. I can't read the expression on his face as he greets me. "Cool. You're here. Let's go."

My heart drops. He's in a rush to leave. This can't be good.

As he walks to the door of the office, he starts telling me about baking cookies in Foods. I asked if he saved any for me and he says "Actually, YES." To which the teacher replies "Hey! I asked if you saved any and you said no!"  Macboy starts grinning and walks back in. This is when the breath returns to my lungs and my heart starts beating at a normal pace. He's laughing and joking with the teacher, he's smiling wider than I've seen in a while and Much Bigger than I've seen on a MONDAY in ages!

9:00 p.m.

We've had some great discussions about the day. I've told him how proud I am that he just walked through a day that could have been very scary for some kids. He admits he was nervous at first and some parts were hard, but he is in love with this school. I am so happy that he's had this opportunity.

I'm slightly frustrated at my lack of ... well, anything... all day. But I knew my heart was in the right place. I can't be angry with myself for worrying, even if it was more than most people might do.  I'm just not ready for this boy to grow up. We are connected. I know he feels my pains, my stresses and my joys. I feel all of his too, very intensely. So maybe, I just helped him carry the nervousness through the day. Maybe he knew he wasn't alone and maybe that makes it worth it.

Seeing him so happy made every second of my anguish worth it.

I will never stop worrying about any of my kids.
That's just my job.

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