You seasoned mothers may be thinking… I know why she cried…Now she has to come up with 6+ hours of activities for her active child. This does seem a bit daunting, but no, that is not why I cried.
I cried because we made it. My son finished his first year of attending full time public school.
It has been the biggest [normal] leap we’ve taken. We have been in a bubble. We have been encouraged to be in our bubble. One of turning down invitations due to “the crowds” or someone “getting over a cold”. We had been trained to avoid germs to protect my son’s heart.
Yes, we did pre-school… For one year: two 3 hour days per week, spent mostly outside, with 10 other kiddos. It was a step. A pretty big step. He missed about 30% of the days due to illness, but nothing too horrible. Whew.
But transitional kindergarten this year was legit. 5 full days of school… 30 hours per week our son would be in the care of someone else. He would be somewhere where he wouldn’t have the 1:1 attention we give him, where his teacher may or may not be watching him closely. It’s a gamble many parents take, some more comfortably than others. There is no right or wrong here, it is just a matter of when we let go, and when we decide to feel so vulnerable, and if we decide to continue it.
I don’t know how I would parent if my son didn’t have a heart condition. I just don’t so I can’t really speculate on that. I am what I am because of the path we have hiked. Thankfully, he made this transition into school easy for us, making friends, laughing and having a good time daily. We never once had to wake him for school, nor encourage him to go to school. It was his jam.
My heart dropped about 17 times this year when the school’s number showed up on my phone. Twice was for legitimate reasons; once he had a belly ache and another his old g-tube site was leaking. The other 15 times were from the Speech Therapist, or the School RN, wanting to update his file, set up IEP meetings, etc. NON EMERGENT ITEMS. During the school hours, I would dread my phone ringing. The worry that he would have a cardiac event without me being near is on my mind and heart daily. The random phone calls didn’t help. We are the reason the school got an IED (defibrillator device), so you better bet your buns I jump when the school calls.
So, on the last day of school, I cried. He made it through, and so did we. We let go of our baby, and watched him literally fly! I can’t guarantee that the Fall won’t be met with tears, or anxieties, but at least they will be mine! That is the my part of the relationship, right? We want to take those stressors from our children, and bear them if need be.
Not to disappoint those who were expecting a different post- I am a little antsy about filling up the summer hours!