The start of a new school year has brought anxiety and worry! I have been holding my breath for days! Obviously, this is a bit of an exaggeration since I maintained consciousness, but I have walked through the past two days with shallow breathing and a tense body.
Monday was the last “real” day of summer for my family. We were determined to enjoy this day without a schedule or long list of errands. I enjoyed Monday and I could tell that my son appreciated the extra time at home too. This carefree feeling came to a screeching halt on Monday night with worries about the upcoming Meet the Teacher. That is when I stopped breathing.
Would she like him?
Would he get a fresh start?
Would he refuse to walk in?
Would the room be inviting?
Would THIS be the teacher that educates him instead of contains him?
The meeting of the new teacher was uneventful…which in our book is a great thing! He walked in, distributed his supplies with parent help, and even agreed to a photo with his new teacher. The taking of the photo could have had SO many possible outcomes, but it was okay. There were a few students from his previous class that he knew and who approached him in a friendly manner. This too was met with socially appropriate responses and surprising comfort.
Don’t get me wrong….I was thrilled that it went well. However, I still held my breath thinking that it didn’t mean much. There was parent support and a short visit that didn’t require doing undesirable activities. The first day of school was going to be the REAL test: however, I was cautiously optimistic with the initial feelings of comfort and confidence.
Last night, his school clothes were laid out and his lunch was packed. We reminded him that the morning routine would be different now and that he would only have a limited amount of free time before school. This morning, he woke up easily and got himself dressed. He did not choose the new shirt and pants that we had selected, but instead came downstairs with his Mine Craft t-shirt and shorts. This was not going to be a battle worth having, so we praised him for his prompt dressing. So far so good.
We hit a bit of a speed bump when he talked about wearing tennis shoes. Since flip-flops are against dress code and a safety issue for PE and Recess, we had to stand firm. With a bit of convincing, the socks went on and he seemed to understand the expectation. I was relieved that a pair of flip-flops didn’t ruin the tone of the day. I wished him a wonderful first day and went off to work. As I walked out of the house, I could feel my tight shoulders and nerves. This was not for my busy day, but for the extreme hope of a great first day for my boy. I felt the importance of this day and knew that it could be hard. It had been months since he had to focus for hours on tasks that may or may not be interesting with classmates that he may or may not relate to.
When I returned home from work, I was met with a great surprise!
I saw a happy boy! He had a great day! He met a friend! This friend was a Mine Craft addict and they talked all through lunch & recess about the game. The friend is new to the school and therefore is not aware of the struggles that my sweet boy had last year. This was the fresh start that was needed!
In addition to a happy boy, I was met with an email from his teacher. Not just any email…but a great email!
The teacher shared that my TBP ate with his new friend, participated in recess and the specialist time, and was actively involved in the many “getting to know you” activities. She shared that he had a great day and wanted us to know how well he did.
As I read these OH SO important words, my eyes watered with relief and happiness. I also started breathing. This message meant so much and was a sign of good days ahead!
I know that this is only Day 1 and that my son will be hit with challenges at school. I know that there will be times when he is persistent and inflexible. What I hope, is that this happens after his 2nd grade teacher sees his good qualities and that she doesn’t allow those struggles to define him.
I ate dinner tonight and was breathing. I write this and notice that I’m breathing. I was able to smile and breathe as my son recalled the favorite parts of the day.
I am beginning to think that this might be HIS year and that we are off to a great start!