The night before the first day of school was always a tough one for me. I was so full of excitement mixed with terror I couldn’t close my eyes. One year I was awake until 2AM. The anxiety of who was going to make fun of me extinguished the excitement I had about meeting up with friends after the summer. I kept seeing the faces of people from the year before, laughing at me, finding some flaw in what I was wearing or some other social faux pas I must have done. My stomach would be in knots as I lay there, listening to the Joshua Tree on my Walkman for the millionth time.
When I would see someone I knew, it would be like getting a life preserver thrown to me while I was drowning in anxiety. They appeared happy to see me, I could talk about my summer and feel a little more at ease. My chest would lighten. I could actually feel ok.
People always wonder how and why I remember the littlest details about our times in school. Whether it is what someone was wearing when they presented a project, or where they sat in my 7th grade homeroom (Derek Gorman in front, Brian Hammond behind me, Linda Maloof, Tammy Collins and Stephanie sat in the back with Lisa Coveney and Summer Bucholz to their right.) I remember these things because it was those moments of connection I would have with my peers that helped me through my ADHD anxiety-riddled brain.
I have heard from people that they had no idea how much I struggled inside. Personally, I wear everything on my sleeve and would have made a terrible poker player but hey- if you don’t remember me this way than maybe I was a better actress than I thought! I could have made the cast of the last Boston Globe drama festival piece I was involved with. And then I think, did I really want to be linked to anything called “Sand Bags?”. Yeah. Dodged a bullet with that one.
My point is that the first day of school for many kids is a mixed bag. It’s exciting, you get to see friends you haven’t seen in three months, and you get to wear some new cool outfits that make you feel like you stepped out of Seventeen magazine. And then there’s the comment, joke at your expense, or worse- no one seems to want to talk to you. Thinking about it makes my stomach sink as I type this. A new outfit can become a clown suit in seconds and you never wear it again. In spite of how happy you were when you got dressed that morning, it stayed in your closet.
Adeline is starting her first day of preschool this week. Elizabeth has her first day of her Junior year tomorrow. I hope that she is happy in spite of any anxiety she may feel on the bus ride in tomorrow morning. My hope is that as her day goes along, she is welcomed by friends and has a great day. I pray that Adeline has a happy school experience in a school that I still love walking into after 30 years. And as I am sure many of you know, once they are in school, time only flies by so much faster.
Which brings me to Isabelle- my perpetual baby. She doesn’t seem like a toddler at all. She still cuddles like a baby and has yet to take any steps on her own. Time has slowed down for her and I don’t mind at all. It doesn’t bother me that she still wears 9 Month sizes and she would rather play with a sippy cup than drink out of one. Her smiles and joy are enough for me. I am so grateful I can enjoy every minute of them.