2 Sep
Posted in: parenting
By    1 Comment

Avoiding a School-Induced Panic Attack

Today marked the start of my 8th year with kids in the public school system. More importantly, it was the first time I left school at drop-off with no children. I’d like to say it was no big deal, but it was infinitely worse than I imagined.

None of this has to do with the children. The children were fine, excited even. Today was selfishly about me. The kids, even our freshly-minted kindergartner, are pros at this school thing. They know the routine. They know what to expect. My routine went out the door this morning. I don’t know what this stage of life looks like. This new chapter makes me wary and a tad bit excited for my own potential to be unleashed. I’m confident I’ll grow to enjoy accomplishing work projects before 10 p.m. I may even pick up more work. I have options, but for today, I’m a little lost.

three children wearing backpacks walking on a sidewalk

My goal was to not cry in front of the kids, and I didn’t. However, I did have a moment standing on the playground waiting in line with my kindergartner to enter the building when my stomach clenched uncomfortably, and I felt panicky. I, honestly, thought I might be physically ill. I couldn’t believe I was minutes from walking away.

I refused to make eye contact with the smiling faces of staff members as we walked through the hallway. I appreciate the love they have for the students, but the happiness and smiles were too much for my achy heart and unsteady stomach. Tone it down ladies. Currently, my coping skills are not at peak strength. Eye contact or worse, a hug, would have unleashed the tears.

three children running onto a school playground

Our daughter told me I didn’t need to walk into class with her. I knew that was coming. She’s grown up at the school. She’s not nervous or afraid. These are our people. She’s glad it’s finally her turn. I told her I knew she could do it without me, but I needed to see her at her table and promised to only stay for a bit. I didn’t stay long. A panic attack was not how I wanted to start the school year.

four siblings posing for back to school photo

I’ve never walked home as fast as this morning. I desperately kept the tears in as they threatened to spill. They came as soon as I crossed the threshold. Not all my tears were steeped in sadness. I’m proud of myself. So many times over the almost 13 years I’ve been called mother I’ve felt like a failure. I’ve crumbled under the pressure of raising humans and risen countless times with, yet another, lesson in my parenting repertoire. We reached this milestone together.

They’re OK without me, even though I miss them. This new reality will become routine soon enough. The kids will continue to grow and utilize all the potential I see when I look at them. It’s alright to feel all my feelings, as complicated as they are, but today has been exhausting.

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1 Comment

  • Lovely! The post, not the morning;).