I found I couldn't write about the start of kindergarten, because my emotions were too big, and my thoughts were too scary. Having been in the school system for years, I intellectually know that everything should be fine - but I also very well know just how bad it can get when it goes badly. And, well... I knew there was a very, very good chance things could go badly just as easily as they could go well.
It was hard to put my feelings into words. When my oldest went to kindergarten, I was nervous, worried, and a bit emotional for her growing up. Normal parent feelings.
With my youngest, who now has PANDAS? I was terrified. Although many of my worries sounded like typical new kindergarten parent worries, they went so much deeper than that. In a way, I couldn't share my worries because people would say "Don't worry, mom, it will be OK." But those reassuring platitudes just don't help. And they only serve to further separate me - or all of us parents on the other side of the fence - with those parents are the "right side". I honestly don't think my husband and I slept at all the night before school started. You over there, on the "right side" of the fence - the one with the green grass - you've never driven up to the school, scared to go in to hear the behavior report from the day.
The first day of kindergarten should be emotional on the parents because it means your baby is growing up - not because you are scared of how your child might react in a group, and how the adults may treat your child after she reacts. This disease stole the sweet childhood moment from us.
My poor PANDA. The first thing she said to me when I picked her up on the first day was, "Mommy! I didn't go to the principal's office!" A wave of relief came over me, and I cheered out loud in the after school room, even though I hadn't realized that I was worried about that.
Her favorite books to listen to are Junie B. Jones, Ramona Quimby books, Roscoe Riley, and Clementine - all strong characters who mean well but end up in big trouble. So, I suppose it wasn't a big surprise that she thought she'd end up there. But I think her fear was deeper than that. She knows that she has trouble controlling her anger - and she knows how preschool went. I think she was just as terrified as her father and I were of what could happen in kindergarten.
So far, so good. She says she loves school and her teacher, and for the last two days we've seen some of her old personality come out. The confident, happy girl we had a year ago. So far, two days in, kindergarten has been good for her.
Knock on wood.
Just having the first two days behind us has been a relief. I'm sleeping better - focusing on my work better - my anxiety is calm. Yet even now, at pick up time, I feel it coming back. Will we have another good day - or did things go wrong today?