(Yes. I know it’s been a while since I wrote. This summer was…hard. For many reasons. I have about 20 blog posts written in my head about, well, just about everything. But every time I sat down to write, the words just couldn’t come. Not writer’s block. More like censoring myself. I am now beginning to learn why it was so hard to write what I needed to get out any why I just couldn’t do it. )
This post is about letting it be. And learning to let go. Just a little.
Howie. Every support needed for success in school this year is in place for him. He was staying with his incredible teacher from last year for second grade this year. He had two amazing aides assigned to work with him – teachers who have known him since preschool. The summer saw him regressing before our eyes in so many ways and he needed this setup to work for him.
It was the first year I went into school with no anxieties for him.
And because of that, I began to let go on controlling it all.
Instead of the mini bus, I’m driving him to school in the mornings to give him time to eat in the car and relax. Those first mornings I held my breath as he got out of the car and went in alone. Now, he walks into school by himself and waits with a friend (!!!!) in the cafeteria before school starts. Supervised from afar by his aide, but waiting independently. .
He’s asked his aides to sit back away from him in the classroom to give him the space to be himself and show what he can do. Like the other kids, he said. He’s learning to ask for breaks appropriately when he needs them. He’s starting to understand what his body needs and when. He’s making friends.
He takes the bus home and listens to his iPod with Feel This Moment on loop and behaves appropriately.
Homework time is easier. The calls from school are fewer and far between.
And I am breathing.
Lewis. Every plan for him last spring was for him to go to pre-K this year half days in the afternoon. But after an outside evaluation found he needed more, the school proposed the full day pre-K inclusion class with more supports for social skills, speech and more opportunities to get him ready for kindergarten. Everything I had planned for this school year was turned on its head. He would be gone 6 hours a day, eating and toileting turned over to the school.
The teacher was Howie’s teacher for preschool. The best of the best. Eyes on him all day to help him navigate through all the areas that were still hard for him.
I started to let go. I held my breath and hugged him goodbye on that first day.
After only three weeks, Lewis is fully entrenched in the new routine. Eating lunch and snack with friends. Reading. Singing. Walking in and out without me.
Six full hours for me. Alone.
And I am breathing.
Gerry. This week he is away with his sixth grade class. The whole week. He’s never been away for more than 12 hours even on that rare sleepover. There’s no contact, no pictures. He’s been anxious about this trip since 3rd grade. But he wanted to go with everything he had.
The night before he left, every fear came out. He begged me not to send him, to come up with an “out” for him. He told me that he knew deep down that he needed to be there – no, wanted to be there. But anxiety was winning.
I was that kid. I was the one begging not to go to summer camp and then begging to come home. I was the one who hated sleepovers with a passion. I was the one finding my mom on campus my first weekend of college, homesick as hell.
I still am that kid, struggling with my anxieties as I get in the car, or airplane, or even going for a walk. Dealing with the fear of the unknown.
But I had to let it go. Let him go. I took a deep breath and told him he could do this. That I knew he could win. There may have been a bribe (or three).
He got on that bus Monday with all of his classmates.
He comes home tomorrow.
And I am still breathing.
With every step they take away from me, I learn how to take those steps alone.
Their independence has become my new life line.
I’m able to work more at my business.
Work more on being a better wife.
Work on getting back to me.
And with all that, the suffocation of summer is gone.
As is my inability to write here.
By letting it be and allowing them discover who they are, I’m now able to find me again.
“Let it be, let it be
Ah let it be, yeah let it be
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be
And when the night is cloudy
There is still a light that shines on me
Shine on until tomorrow, let it be
I wake up to the sound of music,
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be
Yeah let it be, let it be.” – Let It Be by The Beatles