The bathroom should resemble an actual bathroom by the end of today.
I miss Saturdays. What they once meant. Getting out, seeing the trees and towns nestled in the back roads of rolling hills, relaxing on the couch with a book, doing nothing but breathing deep and letting time continue without a fight.
Now Saturdays are nothing if not a chore. Something to survive though, watching the minutes and hours pass. Fingers crossed. Kids hitting each other, annoying each other, screaming, hitting, crying, whining. There are things to be done outside, inside, hours to recover of lost work. Work. Chores. Work. Food. Hit. Scream. Timeout. Another terrible cold coming on. It\’s the fruition of a life flowing with too much and bubbling over. Melt down. But we do it quite well.
I had lunch with Abbie yesterday. As I rounded the corner, toward her classroom at the end of the hall, I saw her sitting at the small table they have set out in front their room door. She was crossed legged. Tense. Like a few years ago. The anxiety was back again. Shivering and contained in the pressure of her little body. Even with the smile wide on her face she was paralyzed.
Butterfly. She had to write butterfly — two times. The pencil strangled in her grip the letters were shaking and random. It was nearing lunch time, the kids were lining up. Her intensity grew and whimpers started to squeak out.
She finished up, cryptically writing the last “butterfly”.
Then it released. She was ok. The class was still there. They hadn’t left her behind. I don\’t know how to help her anxiety, when I don’t see it. Thankfully I was going to lunch with her and saw it.
Like so many times when she was 3 and 4, sitting at the kitchen table with a crayon in her hand, starring out the window, her mind bombarded and battling itself — the journeys it took to whatever fantastic and horrible voyage. Daddy will be taken away by and eagle who will drop him into the ocean and a shark will eat him. The purple bears in the trees that will come out at night and be in her room. A plague, trapped in her head. Fear twisted around her body.
We saw a child therapist for a bit and he helped us identify the issues, work through them with her and she improved quickly. For over a year she was able to express the fears, anxiety, without burying them. Sonya and I both suspected that the newness, the stress of a new school, or learning so much – coupled with Abigails need for perfection and rules – that it might come back.
I talked with her yesterday, at Chipotle for dinner, about how she must be very afraid her class will leave her behind, and she\’ll be all alone in a new school. She told me about how one time she went to the nurse to get some new underwear (her habit of holding in her poop because she\’s afraid to go and the class disappear). Well, the class did leave. They were gone. I can’t imagine how scary that was. But she told me some older girls took her down to the cafeteria.
Now it’s our duty, as parents, to find where this fear of being left is coming from, allow her to reveal her deepest fears, embrace them and encourage her to be brave and direct her to the truth. Reassurance.
Parenting. Too much for us to handle, but by the grace of God.