Well. It could have gone better.

For those of you who saw everyone’s smiley first day of school photos on Facebook and felt sad for your child because smiling was the last thing your kid wanted to do today, take solace in numbers. Trust me, y’all are not alone.

Both Sam and Jack say they had good days and managed their little commutes all right.

Three photos. There is one of each of my children. Sam is standing  inside in his photo in pants that are slightly too short for him. Quinn is wearing an entirely zipped up hoodie and walking down our outside stairs. Jack is smiling and has a goofy look on his face. He is eating some bacon.

1. Yes, I know Sam’s pants are too short. Shut up. I’m trying.
2. Yes, it was 80+ degrees today. That sweatshirt serves as Quinn’s shield.
3. Yes, Jack is eating bacon in that photo.

Quinn had a tougher time. He absolutely refused to tell me anything about his day other than, “I liked eating lunch,” but the logistics of the day didn’t go very well. To start, we missed his morning bus. We had a bad combination of a slightly early bus and my miscalculating what time the bus would arrive at our stop. God, that sucked.

Then, in the afternoon, Q got off his bus one stop too early and couldn’t find his way home and I think you can imagine how traumatic that was. That poor kid. Thank god for the nice neighbor lady who walked with him until he found me and thank god for the nice kids on the bus who told me where he’d gotten off. God, that sucked even more.

It has to go better tomorrow, right?

I put this note in his lunch:

A piece of paper held above a cookie. Written on it, I've drawn a picture of a cat and the words, "I love you. You are brave."

He is. So very brave.

Think about how much strength it took for that terrified kid to walk into a brand new school with all new people and new demands. I couldn’t have been prouder of him, even as he faltered.

I recently started a new job with all new people in an all new place with all new demands and an all new way of traveling there and I can tell you that even as an adult who has spent four decades working on controlling my anxiety and learning how to navigate the world and who knows where my house is and how to get there, that feeling of anxiety can be almost paralyzing. That Quinn was able to do it at nine years of age makes me very proud.

It also makes me very sad that he has to battle so much anxiety at nine.

I don’t know how tomorrow will go (although I do know that we will be at the bus stop on time), but I do know that I will continue to be so very proud of all three of my beautiful, brave boys.

24 thoughts on “Post-School

  1. Oh buddy. Our anxiety has been at full throttle in our house… The first day at a new school weighs a person down. I hope tomorrow is better. You all are very brave. Hugs!

  2. Here’s to a better day tomorrow…and you know, we didn’t have smiley perfect pics either. I have 45 pictures from today, and few smiles. Eh.

    I feel for Quinn and for you. My oldest battles the anxiety beast, and it just doesn’t seem fair that kids their ages should have to do that.

  3. I can feel your love for your boys in every word. My heart is with all three boys (and I get the too short pants) and with you. Tomorrow is another day.

  4. Go Quinn! Your courage reminds me a bit of Desperaux- not the one from the movie, the one from the book. If you know the book you may remember that Desperaux has this red thread around him as he is made to go down into the dungeon. I hope you find your red thread today and that it helps tie you to home. The difference here, of course, besides the obvious fact that You Are Not a Mouse, is that your mom is amazing. Go mom!

  5. Oh sister, I and mine had one of those days yesterday too. I thought my second grader was riding the bus home and he thought I was picking him up. Which was my plan, but when I called school to tell them, they said “Sorry, too late to change, he has to go on the bus.” Except when it came time to get on the bus, he said “But my mom is picking me up.” And these idiots believed him. So there I stand at the bus stop at 5:00, and my phone rings and it’s the assistant principal… my child is in his office. He’s completely traumatized and reminds me about this incident approximately every ten minutes. Hope today goes better than yesterday!

  6. I had to change something in my post’s second paragraph. It occurred to me after I posted it that I messed up a little detail. When I was a kid, my parents got a picture on the bus, at least when I was little (elementary). I seem to have a memory of seeing a picture taken of me getting on the bus in my elementary school years.

  7. Please tell Quinn that my parents moved right before I stared junior high. And on on my very first day of junior high school, I got on the wrong bus going home and couldn’t tell the bus driver where my parents lived, because I didn’t know my parents new address. That bus driver drove me all over Montgomery county while I sobbed and my mom freaked out because no one had cell phones in those days. Eventually he drive me back to school, where my mom was in the office freaking out.

    Tell him it’s not just 9 year old boys.

    I’d like to tell you it will be okay, because I think it will, but I know how much that doesn’t help. Instead I’ll give you a virtual hug and tell you I’m here if you need to talk.

  8. My 13-year-old wore his hoodie on the first day of school, despite the 85 degrees. He’s worn it every day since, including on days when it was even hotter than that. “It serves as his shield” is the perfect description. Exactly that. Doesn’t hurt anyone, and definitely helps. Yay for hoodies.

    • Totally. Yay for hoodies. I’m a little worried that the heatstroke is going to get Quinn, but if it makes him feel safer, it’s probably worth it. May both our hooded kids do well this year. :)

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