I love back to school. I love school shopping (for the most part), I love getting new clothes, picking out back packs, learning, and all the good that comes from school. I have always loved it and would still be in school if it made sense and wasn't too costly. All the kids we have had come in and out of our home mostly have loved school as well. My parents are teachers, mother in law works in a school, my husband works at a school, and I have several friends who are teachers. You get the picture, though I didn't want to be a teacher myself I do love all things school!
Back to school this year though has not been all smiles. You see I have a child who struggles with trauma related anxiety. I have been asked by several other parents in the same boat what we do and how we handle this time and also we have been asked by our friends what can they do to help. So I write this today to share a glimpse into our life for nothing other but hope that another family doesn't feel alone and to help those who may not have this issue know how to help/love on a child who deals with anxiety.
Even as I write this my daughter is sitting in my lap with her arms around my neck. This has been my last week, Lots of snuggles, needing hugs, asking questions and saying " I don't think I am going to go to kindergarten" Her little brain is in high alert and bless her she can feel the changes coming. There is a lot that goes into back to school that I never thought of before. New classes, new room, new hours (we go all day now), no naps, new friends, new routines, new things to learn, new sounds, new smells, new new new. We have practiced walking down the hall to the kindergarten rooms, we practice getting up and getting dressed, eating breakfast and getting out the door.
We have gone over who are her safe people. Who do you tell when you feel scared, when you don't know what to do, when the newness becomes too much. We are blessed to be in a school district that loves my kids. They love them well and who allows for our quirks. My daughters knows her teacher is there to keep her safe, she knows her principal will help if her teacher needs it and she knows her daddy is across the parking lot in his office if she just can't make it.
What is hard is though she knows this she has a hard time feeling it, We read books about being in school (The Kissing Hand is my favorite) and we have rituals we do about feeling safe and how mommy's and God's love is with you everywhere you go. But again, for her 5 year old brain she doesn't always remember.
I have been dreading this week all summer. Telling my friends how hard it's going to be and asking for prayers. As I have been praying this summer I keep asking God to take her fears away. Today while showering (it's my only alone time and that's only if my husband is home) I was praying again and then laughed. I remember praying God will take my daughter's night terrors away when we found out we were going to have a bio daughter. I was already super tired and couldn't imagine a non sleeping infant as well in the mix. God is faithful and funny. My bio daughter is an excellent sleeper from the day we brought her home and the night terrors didn't decrease for another year. But God made a way.
And that's just it...God will make a way. I don't know if we will rock the first week, if it will be hard, if we practiced enough or if I told her enough that I love her. Trauma is a tricky beast. What I do know and what I have been singing in my head all day and have made it my theme song for the week is God will Make a Way
God will make a way
Where there seems to be no way
He works in ways we cannot see
He will make a way for me
He will be my guide
Hold me closely to His side
With love and strength for each new day
He will make a way, He will make a way
Look it up if you don't know it. It's an old song that honestly I forgot about until today.
God will Make a Way (this is not my youtube and just found it so you can listen to the song if you do not know it)
If you are a parent of a child who shares the same struggles know I am with you. I know this time can be hard but I also know God gives a strength to you if you ask to be the best parent for your child. He will make a way!
If you see a parent struggling or a child please feel free to ask how they may need help. You may just be part of the way God is providing. Please feel free to teach your children how to be kind to kids who are a little different but most of all show us patience. We may be late, we may look like there have been tears, we may look tired, we may smile and feel nervous about the day or we may just need that nod that acknowledges you see us. Pray for our children and their teachers and classmates. Back to school though full of fun pictures and new beginnings for some is not as picture perfect.
Yet I hold on to this God will make a way and happy back to school to my Texas friends!