Okay, I admit it. I’m straight up terrified of Monday.
Monday, Sam starts back to school. For the first time in four years, only now he’s going back to a new school, with people I don’t know and trust even less. With a zillion other kids – and with the added problem of being LEGALLY BLIND.
We’ve done everything possible to get him to this point. From last summer when he first said that he’d like to try going back to public school up until now, everything we’ve done has been working towards this goal. Fighting for the right location, arguing over what services he’s going to get, getting documentation and letters and God, so much more. Everything comes down to this.
And it’s the ideal set up for a first day. The school has set up an orientation for Monday and Tuesday of next week, and school formally starts the following week. So the two hardest things about going back to school will be split up. He doesn’t even have an official “first day” because he’ll have two half first days. This is the pep talk I’ve been giving him off and on over the past few weeks.
I’m trying so hard to stay positive and relentlessly optimistic. He’ll be fine. Of course he will. He’s been through way worse than this – and I’ll be right there, available via phone, the whole time. It’ll be a walk in the park. Easy breezy lemon squeezy.
But the hard reality that I won’t show him is that I’m unbelievably terrified of what Monday brings. What if he can’t do it? What if it’s too hard? It’s such a HUGE change, he’ll be out of sync with everyone else. He’s had four years at home with me and his sisters, how is he going to fit in with the average 12/13 year old boy? His education is all over the place – he can’t spell, at all. His reading isn’t a hell of a lot better, but it ‘s because he can’t see all of the letters all of the time. But he’s so damn smart – he does all this math in his head, and his vocabulary is way above that of an average seventh grader.
He’s super nervous, and we’re bouncing off of each other in a way that’s not at all helpful. I don’t think he knows how panicked I am, but every time he talks about how nervous he is (and my God, the fact that he can articulate it is amazing and fantastic), my heart squeezes a little tighter. He knows it’s irrational, he knows it’s not based in anything real, that he’ll be able to handle whatever comes his way – but he’s still super stressed and tense.
In order to pull this off, I have to be able to shove all my own fears and panic (and to give an example, I literally started crying earlier when the head of the Special Ed department emailed me back about an aide that he’s going to have) and pretend that I’m completely and totally confident that he’ll be fine. And I am.
Because while the truth is, Sam is going to be fine, and he’s going manage whatever Monday throws at him with grace and humor, the reality is that going back to school is still a huge deal. He couldn’t do it before, it was so awful, we had to pull him out of school entirely, but not before fighting like hell for two months to get him back into the classroom. It was awful and traumatic, and followed by a horrific accident that changed everything.
Sending him to school on Monday isn’t the hardest thing we’ve done. Not by a long shot. But it feels that way this weekend.