Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Follies and Freak outs....the First Day of School...

Well... if there is one thing that I have learned, it is that my life will always keep me on my toes, and because of that I stay mentally prepared for anything. What I am quickly realizing is that I should mentally prepare my kids for anything too. The kids had their first day of school yesterday, it was middle school for my daughter Baleigh and her anxiety levels were off the charts. Tears rolled as I tucked her into bed Monday night and I did my best to let her know EVERYTHING would be fine because that is my job. She is attending a school of the arts magnet school this year; a publicly-funded themed specialty school out of our district that students must apply for and be accepted into in order to attend. Being the creative-artsy-dramatic kid she is, it is the PERFECT school for her and Baleigh could not be more excited to have this opportunity. With it however, comes a LONG day and at least 4 hours of that day is on a bus. Just to put things into perspective of why, she catches a bus in our neighborhood which then takes her to a "transfer station" where she gets on another bus that ultimately takes her to school.

Here is the story of her first day.

Yesterday morning I woke Baleigh at 5:00 am so we can be out the door by 5:40 to catch the first bus. She is SO scared that she is going to miss the bus, get on the wrong bus, not know which bus to transfer to, and I... being the optimistic mom that I am assure her it will all be okay. We hit the doorway at 5:40 and drive to the bus stop at the front of our development. We sit.. and wait and we are the only ones there for quite a while. Then finally other kids arrive., and we wait.......... Finally the bus arrives about 20 minutes behind schedule (normal for the first day) and I wait to see if all the kids get on the bus... they do so I tell her to go ahead, wish her a good day and tell her once again that she will be fine. She leaves, I go home and start corralling the other two out of bed. My cell phone rings about 20 minutes later, it's Baleigh and she sounds frantic, I internally freak for a moment thinking something terrible has happened; she is breathing heavy and her words are all jumbled. She finally calms down long enough to say "Mom, I am on the wrong bus. This bus is going to HIGH SCHOOL." my nerves calmed knowing that she was safe and I tell her it will be okay. She is flipping out on the other end full of fear and worry... I asked her to stay on the phone with me until the bus stopped and to let me know when it stopped. She says... "Okay we are stopped" I say... "go tell the bus driver you are on the wrong bus and that I need to talk to them." He gets on the phone and I explain what happened and he says that she can stay on his route with him and that he will be sure she gets to school but that it will be late. I get back on the phone with her and tell her how lucky she is to have the extra time to wake up and assure her all is well now. I hang up and continue to get the other two ready to catch their bus.

Over the next several hours Baleigh is flooding me with text messages that literally have me doubled over in laughter. She is describing her bus experience play by play... staying connected to me via text was probably her way of calming fragile little nerves. She begins describing kids on the bus, saying she feels like a shrimp because they are all high school kids, telling me how she is hearing the "f" word and was shocked at two girls kissing. I had a "moment" and thought to myself that my sweet daughter is growing up and she is going to begin experiencing "the real world" and I have to make sure she is mentally ready.

She finally got to school at 10:00, 4 hours after she got on the bus and because of first day delays... she arrived home 2½ hours late at 7:00 pm. We greeted her with hot and ready pizza rolls and cookies and cream ice cream (VERY rare things in my house.) She spent 8 hours on a hot school bus yesterday no bathroom and ran out of snacks and water, but despite all of the craziness, she was smiling about her day and said it went really good. She quickly shared she was going to eat, shower and go to straight to bed. She was mentally and physically drained... WHAT a first day!

Even though she was not supposed to have the "home" cell phone with her due to my rules, I am VERY happy that she disobeyed and had it with her. She has now pleaded her case that she needs to take it every day for emergencies. I have agreed as long as she stops taking pictures of the "weird" kids on the school bus. (yes... she had a gallery of photos to show me.) I will anxiously await her first butt kicking. I am happy to announce she got on the right bus today but had her phone JUST IN CASE.

The lesson I want you to take from this blog is this....

No matter how much we think we should tell our kids that nothing will go wrong, that everything will be okay... there is no guarantee on that and it's actually a lie. Instead, we should prepare them mentally for when things DON'T go right so they don't fall apart and let them know that staying calm is the best thing to do in emergency situations. Below is her first thread of texts to me. I explained that love is not always between a boy and a girl and that "gay girls" are good people too. However, I chuckled as I realized that she is headed for the reality ride of her life!


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