Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Back To January.

I just got back from dropping my oldest two off at middle school.

It's a first for the younger one. He's never been. He hasn't seen the inside of a classroom since March 13, 2020 and back then he was a third grader. All snuggled up in his one cozy classroom with a teacher we knew well and trusted. Today was a much different feeling. A firm shove out of the nest - I struggle with those every time.

And I just can't settle on how I feel.

My youngest had his first day of in-school second grade on Monday. He said it was the best first day he'd ever had. His teacher did an amazing job of talking him up to the class and getting them involved in welcoming him, and the way he described the experience was like he was a low-key celebrity. They all wanted to sit next to him or stand in line next to him. One little girl made him a card. He's in excellent hands, and I couldn't have asked for a better return to help him adjust.

I'm grateful that I don't have to worry about that part of things. His teacher even managed to get his reading assessment done yesterday and said he's right on track. He's got this - academically and socially. My little firecracker youngest is incredibly likeable and friendly. My sparkly Scorpio.

My oldest, all routine and regimen, can figure out just about anything. (Albeit with a nervous gut, which already kicked in this morning.) He'll be back to topping the honor roll and navigating that school like the back of his hand before Friday. My predictable Capricorn.

My middle worries me the most. He's all emotion and overwhelm. He's frazzled in the face of organization and schedules, and doubts himself until the moment something is mastered (which he always fails to realize he's done until he's had it mastered for a while). He's all smiles and silliness and snuggles at home, and clawing to get back to me when he's not. My tender-hearted Cancer.

Unfortunately, their individual struggles are not the only things I have to consider. What I wouldn't give to go back to 2019 motherhood - when I only had to look out for them and their unique struggles.

Now, I'm also stressed about them getting sick. I always had to worry about that to some degree with my oldest and that finicky gut of his. And how every little sniffle became a big, lasting thing thanks to his struggling immune system. In a way, I'm used to this. But it's never been to this scale. 

I know we'll all be fine. But it's been a long, long two years of keeping everyone as safe as I possibly could, just to jump into a community that has more transmission than ever before. It seems like bizarre timing - especially if you know me in any personal capacity. Maybe you have questions.

It basically boiled down to this.

August and September were two of the most mentally difficult months of my life. I was having daily panic attacks and crying fits. I went back to therapy. I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Inattentive type ADHD. I lost my Grandpa. If I wasn't overwhelmed with grief, I was overwhelmed with curriculum and lesson planning and scheduling. Despite weeks of settling into homeschooling, my kids were very unwilling students in general. It was hard to get them to take me seriously as their teacher (it's just a different relationship when you're not used to it), and I had nothing in the tank. 

My daily life consisted of: hours of teaching unwilling students, hours of lesson planning and school prep, dishes, laundry, cleaning up the mess of 5 people never ever leaving the same 1200 square feet, ordering groceries, and constantly cooking. There was no time for anything else - other than the occasional shower and 20 minutes to read. I felt like a shell of a human. I felt like a mindless caretaker with no worth other than to make everyone else's lives happen. And I'm always happy to take care of my family - but it was ALL I did. It became the ONLY thing I consisted of. And to have that become my reality after nearly two years of already feeling stretched thin? I wasn't doing well.

So I made the decision to send my kids back after the holidays, once they were fully vaccinated. At the time of the decision (early November), it made perfect sense. I put my head down and finished all of our plans and units for the rest of 2021. I focused my energy on cultivating a fun and memorable holiday season. My boys got their shots and Matt and I got our boosters. But then...omicron. 

And yeah...I've questioned my sanity over going through with it about 700 times.

But at the end of the day, the transition was perfect academically and socially right now. They're returning at the same time everyone else needs to get used to being back at school again. And, they have a 3 week buffer before the second semester begins. Which means their grades won't be held against them while they readjust to school. They will get a "not enough data" grade on their report card that gets adjusted for their late start. Not to mention, there are several other kids (according to their counselors) who either started right before the break or are also starting this week because of their vaccine status. They're in good company.

So I decided to trust their vaccines and masks and hope for the best. And yes, I spend basically every moment wondering if I'll regret that. But what I think is right for them and what I know society will someday require of them are different things, and sometimes I have to make decisions that don't feel fully right to me in order to set them up for success. (And also, our society is stupid - the fact that we sometimes have to ignore mother's intuition to help our kids succeed is a red flag - but that's a chat for another day.)

Anyway, that's where we're at. KTU has closed it's operations for now. I'm thankful to at least get my dining room back. The rest is yet to be determined.

No comments:

Post a Comment