With a 15-year-old daughter, I’ve been through a lot of back-to-school days. I’ve seen her grow from the cutest little preschooler to a beautiful young lady in high school. Every year it’s a struggle to get used to the transition and early mornings – and there’s always a first day of school picture. This year, though, I was a little more apprehensive than usual. I hardly got any sleep the night before as I tossed and turned the entire night. Because this year, you see, would be the very first time that I’d be sending my youngest off to school.
For most kids, starting school is an exciting time. Going to school, meeting new friends and playing with new toys are all things that most kids look forward to, but for my anxiety-prone kid with sensory integration issues and difficulty with transitions, it was something he was dreading. We tried getting him excited about his first day for weeks, but every time we would bring it up he would immediately say, “But I don’t want to go to school. Why can’t I stay home?”, and those statements are usually accompanied by tears. It broke my heart a little more each day.
Why couldn’t he get excited about it? Why was he so afraid? What more could I do to get him pumped about it? Thoughts like those and more are what kept me up the entire night before.
When morning finally arrived, I was probably just as nervous as he was. I was probably most afraid that he would have a meltdown at drop-off and not let me leave. (For those of you that don’t know, my son is very loud, and neighbors down the block would likely be able to hear him if he started bawling!)
We were able to get him up, dressed, and fed without much issue, but as you can see by the red eyes and nose in the picture below, he tensed up and started crying right before we headed out the door. I’ll be honest and say that I was thisclose to saying to hell with it all and keeping him at home.
But, if I want my son to be a “big boy”, I couldn’t let him run from his fears. We’d both have to suck it up, get in the car, and just go.
The car ride was fine. He wiped his tears, and I kept trying to reassure him that he was going to have an amazing day, that he’d love his teachers, and he’d get to play with some new friends. He was letting it sink in…a little.
We arrived about 10 minutes early, and it was just enough time to let him let loose a bit, get out of his super-comfy (and super-safe, and my-shameless-plug-because-I-love-them-so-much) Britax Advocate 70 CS car seat, and take some selfies, of course! By the time school was about to start, he had calmed down a lot, and was ready to go.
And you know what – he did have an amazing day.
How were your kids on the first day of school?