Wednesday, September 16, 2015

First Day of School, 2015

Last week Olivia and Landen started school. Landen is in 2nd grade this year and rolling with the punches. He has a typical boy attitude, taking it all as it comes. He was a bit nervous the night before the first day, waking up at midnight, then 2:00 am, then 5:00 am . . .  just to make sure we wouldn't be late. He gets that from me, I am punctual and hate to be late for anything too. Other than that though, he's done great, he is enjoying school and doing much better this year than he did at the start of last year. I think it really helps him that he is helping Olivia out too, so he's got a brave, strong attitude going. Not to mention, he's matured so much, so quickly and he's my big 8 year old already.

All in all, Olivia is doing really well also. She's in kindergarten and she has the best teacher in the world, I couldn't have hand picked a better one if I was given the choice. I am so blessed for Mrs. Heath, she is great! It's been a bit tough but Mrs. Heath and the school staff have been so great and accommodating. Olivia's first day was stellar, it was new, exciting and something she'd been looking forward to. She did well and was happy to run off as Landen walked her to her class that first day. Tears were shed on my part but not hers.

The second day was harder, she didn't sleep well and was more nervous as she realized she'd be away from me for quite a long time and from day two, the days just progressively got worse and worse each and everyday . . .  until yesterday.

Beginning on day three, she was increasingly nervous and scared, so much so that she couldn't eat lunch and wouldn't drink fluids. In turn, she didn't stool for over 36 hours, she became dehydrated and suffered through a bout with vomiting and lethargy that night. Surprisingly though, aside from that one night and with greatly slowing and reducing her nightly g-tube feeds to get over this bump, she didn't will herself to vomit last week like I had anticipated she would. Given all of her GI issues, I figured she might have a few cases of not making it to the bathroom on time, but she also did fine there. Currently, her biggest anxiety triggers are when she is with large groups of kids; lunch time and recess and then at the end of the day for pick up. Huge crowds are something she isn't used too. She hasn't been in a school setting before and she hasn't been around so many kids before, so it's all new and to say overwhelming; well that'd be an understatement.

She'd tell me that she missed me so much, that she hated school, she thought it'd be more like being at home, etc. etc. For as much as I wanted to scoop in and say, screw it all and do home school, I knew we had to keep muddling through. Olivia needs the chance to get out of the house, to make friends other than myself, to do life and be a kid. It's been hard, everyday for me to pull her hands off of me as she clings and begs to not go, but we keep on pushing on. Thank the Lord, I have Landen to help coax her along, to tug at her hands and walk her to her classroom. He is a lifesaver, no doubt the best protector and big brother Olivia could have ever been gifted with. So as we kept pressing each and every day, it was with great happiness and a jump for joy when I received a message yesterday from Mrs. Heath that Olivia had a perfect, happy day with no tears. Yea! I was so excited for Olivia and even though we will still have hurdles, I'm so glad she's progressing after that tough first week.

For so, so long, probably since I first began to understand the magnitude of this disease that is cf, I've dreaded Olivia's first day of school. I feared the thought of sending her out into the world, into this germ infested world, surrounded by tons of little kids. At first, I was terrified of her picking up germs, getting sick and what those sicknesses could do. We live life, she's been ill numerous of times, over and over again so although I still hate when either of the kids gets sick, and do all I can to prevent it, I know it'll happen so that wasn't my biggest fear heading into last week, not at all, it was the letting go.

For everyday of Olivia's life, minus those days I can probably count on both of my hands, I've been the go to for all of Olivia's care. I'm her mom, her protector, her caretaker, you name it, I wear the hat. So it was with no surprise that in the few weeks leading up to that first day, panic would settle in. At night I'd feel my heart racing, I'd try to calm myself down and sleep, but the thoughts of someone else giving Olivia her pills, of Olivia having to use the bathroom at school with her loose bowels, someone else making sure she was drinking enough, all those things, the little things, were terrifying for me to have to let go of. The what if's would constantly plague me and the fears surrounding them. This was all going to be new and different and it was definitely a cause of anxiety for myself. However, just as I do not coddle the kids and keep pushing along, I did the same for me. I'd eventually turn my thoughts off, and fall asleep and wake to another day. It did help after we met with the school to establish Olivia's plan of care, the kindness and willingness of the school staff, eased some of my fears a lot, but I won't lie, that first day was hard, I'm sure 100% harder for me than Olivia.

You see, for over 8 years, I've stayed at home and raised my kids. For over 8 years, I've had little shadows to follow me around, someone to always care for and look after. It was very, very weird when I came home to a quiet and empty house that first day after dropping Landen and Olivia off at school. It was too quiet, a quiet I hadn't heard before. Eating lunch by myself, with only one plate to make and no pills to administer, was just not "normal". It was and is still an adjustment. For now I'm volunteering when I can at school and trying to stay as busy as possible at home to drown out the quiet. It's funny, for as annoying as the noise and screaming and fighting and loudness that is life with kids can be, I sure do miss it. Of course it comes back alive the minute I bring the kids home, but these hours when it's just me, it's definitely a new kind of strange.

Thus it's still an adjustment but we all are making progress and that is all that matters. I'm grateful that both of my kids are out there, doing what kids do, making friends, getting an education and experiencing life outside our home. I'm grateful I continue to get to stay home and get done all the boring tasks that need to be done while the kids are away so that we can really enjoy our time together after school and in the evening. I'm grateful that I was able to let go and allow Olivia the chance to go to school, as homeschooling was a serious conversation Jeff and I had a few years back. This is a new journey for us in uncharted territory, but one I'm blessed we are trekking along. Olivia is a social, independent little lady and I know that she will love school, the more used to it she becomes. It is no doubt, hands down, the best part of my day, when I see my two little sweet faces bouncing and waving with smiles plastered on their faces as they enter the lunch room where I pick them up after school. I bounce and wave and smile right back and rejoice in knowing that my baby birds are back in the nest.

First Day of School - September 8, 2015
Landen (8) - 2nd Grade
Olivia (5) - Kindergarten