Tomorrow is officially our last day of “summer.” School starts on Monday and I am so apprehensive. This is the first year that Nadia will not be on the same campus as her younger siblings. The gap between her and the two little ones is oh so apparent this year. She’ll go on to the Junior High/High School campus while Calvin and Lena remain at the Elementary. Her school has exciting things like vending machines and a cafeteria that looks like something I have only ever experienced on sitcoms and movies. I went to the same school from Kindergarten until graduation. We all ate in the same cafeteria with the same fold-out table/stool combos. I don’t know how to do junior high drop off/pick up, where her locker is, who her teachers are. She looks so grown up, and at the same time so vulnerable as she goes through that stage where she is trying to find herself. Her style, her likes, her dislikes, her personhood.
She has violet/red hair that we dyed a few weeks ago, and it’s already starting to fade. An earring with a chain that connects to an ear cuff(both of which I caught some side-eye for from other parents at orientation). She’s getting better at putting on eyeshadow and she loves sarcastic t-shirts. I feel so anxious. How will the year go? How will she do there? Will she let what the mean kids say bother her? Or will she be more confident and self-assured than I ever was? Will she remember how to play the trumpet she’s barely touched all summer? Will she take the year seriously? Keep up in her classes? Make new friends? Keep the ones she’s had so far?
And then, there are her siblings.
Will Calvin have a better year? Does he need an eval? Will it matter to his teacher this year that he struggles to sit still? That he’s always 3 feet or more behind his class? That he can’t be rushed? That he doesn’t follow through on directions the first time they are given always? Will they care that he reads and enjoys books beyond his grade level? Will they see what I see? A smart, sensitive, but God-love-him, cannot-be-rushed-slow boy? Will they care that he just needs a little more time to process instructions or will they get frustrated with him? Rush him? Push him? He doesn’t want to go, and every day as we draw nearer he has said, “I wish school would never start. I wish Summer would never end. I don’t think that I can do Sixth Grade. It is impossible for me.” Nevermind that he is only going into THIRD grade. “Why are you so worried about Sixth Grade, Calvin? You don’t have to do that yet. You will be able to do it when it is time for you to, but for now, we only have to think about Third Grade.” But he worries all the same. He gets the anxiety honest, but I hope against hope that his teachers will love him. That they will see in him, what I see. That they will recognize his sensitivity as a strength and not a weakness and that they will be kind and patient with him, easing his worries and making school enjoyable for him as it used to be. I hope he will make new friends and that they will want to come hang out at our house.
And then, there is my youngest. I didn’t email her teacher this year as I did last year’s. I don’t know what to expect or if it’s right to have expectations. I’m worried that if they expect misbehavior that will treat her as such and she’ll pick up on it and make it so. I made a very quiet, slight suggestion that perhaps her teacher might find that she does better seated towards the front since our last name usually places our kids in the very back row. But then I quickly amended, “But maybe not! Let’s wait and see!” because she knew and seemed to like the child who was seated directly next to her. “He is always nice to me and doesn’t let other kids be mean. He is nice to everyone,” She confided in me afterward. When his mother asked her if she was friends with the boy she only said, “Um maybe sometimes. I have a Five Nights at Freddie’s Shirt!” But it’s usually afterward that she will tell me more details.
I hope that this year will put my anxieties to rest and that she won’t have a meltdown or refuse to work… or ……anything. It pains me to admit that I feel that way. That I hope this is the school year to lay my worries to rest.
School starts on Monday. That’s the day after tomorrow and I am so very anxious.