The first day of school is a joyous occasion for many, a new year of learning and making new friends. But in our house, it’s often the making of a meltdown. I’m never sure who is going to breakdown, be it me or one of the kids, but I know it’s bound to happen. How do you deal with a childhood meltdown? Here’s our story of the first day of school 2015!
The first day of school around our house is a pretty big deal. We bend the rules significantly during the summer months and truly give the babies a break. It’s always been that way in our house, with all 6 kids, but possibly more with the youngest two for obvious reasons (hello, I’m not ready to let go of two more AND I know how quickly it passes). But with that said, when school time rolls around, specifically the day before, it gets real up in here. The day before is chaotic at best, scrambling around to get last-minute supplies ready, lunches made, uniforms laid out, dinner on the table on time, BED TIME…that kind of thing. I anticipate the meltdown. I never quite know who is going to have it in the morning, whether it be me or one of the kids or a combination of both, but it’s sure to happen. For us, a high-strung family, the first day of school is always the making of a meltdown.
The first day of school 2015 actually started out lovely. Everyone up on time. Lunches made. Breakfast on the table. Supplies at the door. Smiles on our faces. Was this going to be the first year without a major meltdown? My hopes were high. We got out the door in more than plenty of time, stopped to take the obligatory “by the door” first day of school photo, and off we went, still smiling and in great moods, just the babies and I.
Got to school and the kids seemed happy, eager almost. Oh no, are my babies growing up? They don’t need me anymore. The what? Maybe it was my year for another meltdown. Fingers crossed, we were ready.
We got there early as we typically do (if you really knew me, you’d find this quite surprising…possibly humorous) so we headed to the gym to meet up with old friends and wait for the start of a new year of learning. Third and first grade, y’all. When did they grow up? Stop that! Bub, first grade check in and line up…check!
As I looked over at my “big” girl (she tends to meltdown as much as her momma does) and saw her smiling face after she told me that I didn’t need to walk her to class this year *sigh* because she “had this” and I should take care of Bubby since he’s only in first grade, I was both happy and sad to let go all at the same time. I was beginning to believe the meltdown would belong to me this year. But Kylee Bug was happy, Bubby was happy, I “had this” too.
Best year EV-AH! Second year of school and this little man was a born natural. He blends in so well, he’s happy to reunite with his BFF, and he’s just eager to learn. He truly “has this“. Bittersweet, but I love seeing him thrive and I thought I’d get out unscathed.
Sat him down, he went right to work, intent on being the next big thing because he’s going to learn and he’ll go places. I was going to get out without a tear. No tears. No meltdowns. It was like the perfect morning.
Until…I turned around to walk out. Standing just behind me, in the back of Bubby’s room, was my Bug. Full of tears, trembling, and sweating. She had gone to her classroom, she had remembered her horrible experience last year at school, she’d had a meltdown.
I wasn’t in the room with her when it hit her, so she found me, exactly where she knew I’d be. Still settling her little brother in, as I would have her had she let me in the first place. I said one last goodbye to Bubby, who hardly noticed I was still in the room, and then my baby girl and I walked, hand in hand, toward her classroom while she sobbed and I tried to console her. As a mom, that’s brutal. It’s the worst kind of meltdown. I’d rather have a meltdown any day than to watch any one of my children have one. It was a long walk down the hall.
It was very hard to walk her down that hall while she trembled and I fought back tears. I couldn’t let her see my tears.
We made it to her classroom (felt like 30 minutes), and I tried to tell her things would be different this year. Her teacher is awesome (so hopeful) and she’s an amazing girl that needs to learn incredible things. Her friends were waiting. They looked almost as concerned as I was. But the sobbing, the trembling, and the sweating continued. That meltdown was real, y’all, and I felt helpless.
I had her call her daddy because he always makes her feel better. Didn’t work.
I talked to her, her teacher, and her BFF once more. Didn’t work. Best bet was to leave with a big hug. She’d be better. She’d be fine. She’s tough. My little hot mess is always fine. But she wasn’t, and at that point, neither was I.
Against my (over doting parent) better judgement, I walked away. After all of these years, I know it’s the right thing to do. It hurt. She ran out of the room, she chased me down the hallway, she BEGGED me to take her home.
I walked her back to her room, told her I loved her, and left as I should have done. I left sad, dry eyed, but trembling…just like my baby girl. Because I should have. Because I had to. Because she WILL have a better year. She’s going to have an amazing year.
Upon later checkin, her tears dried up in about 10 minutes. Oddly enough, I think I took them from her because when I got to my car, I had a meltdown. I sat there, I cried, I trembled, and I sweat for 15 full minutes before I could regain my composure and drive home.
She’s fine now, I didn’t come away unscathed. I’ve been a parent for 25 full years and it just never gets easy. It’s always worth it, but it’s never easy.
This morning? I anticipated a meltdown, I did everything possible to avoid the first day of school meltdown, we were doing so well.
This morning? Another meltdown happened, for no reason at all, but for so many reasons. I’m ready to tuck another (two actually) meltdown under my belt and have a GREAT school year. Who’s with me? I can’t be the only one, we can’t be the only family, that goes through this.
I see other meltdowns on the first day of school and I always feel the parent’s pain, the kid’s pain. If this happens to you, how do you deal with the meltdowns and HOW do you come away feeling OK? Because, honestly, I never feel totally OK again after one of my kids loses it!