05 June 2015

The Worry Within Me

Four and Five are both away on overnight class trips. Four and The Captain departed for Washington, D.C. on Wednesday morning, and Five left for The Wetlands Institute this morning. I've been out of sorts all day, feeling like I'm forgetting something. It's been strange and delightful to have no one to answer to, no one to pester about homework or bedtime.

But I still worry.

Four's class had another sleep-away trip this past fall, but we all agreed he wasn't ready to go. He'd just started at the new school, didn't know anyone, and I wouldn't have sent him without parental supervision. Luckily, when this trip was announced, The Captain agreed to go as a chaperone. They've been hoofing it all over our nation's capital and everything seems to be going smoothly.

But I still worry.

Worry is my default mode for Four. I pray every morning he'll have a good day at school, and I hold my breath until I pick him up. When the phone rings I glance at the screen, hoping it's a short name (Cap) and not a long string of letters (Charter School). It's taken most of the year to get him on track academically, and the process has been bumpier than Jersey roads after a hard winter.

Four's smart, but he doesn't want to do the work. He's never met an assignment he couldn't complete in one paragraph instead of three. His speaking voice is loud and he's quick to be defensive. This does not endear him to teachers or classmates. His small-group instructors have more success with him, but not all his classes can be taught in that format. So, it's been a learning process for everyone: the teachers, the administrators, and Four. I'd like them to appreciate him the way I do, to see the kindhearted boy beneath the bluster. I'd like him to make a friend at school.

Naturally, I worried about the trip.

The Captain says Four is doing well despite the really long days and extensive walking. He's been a real trouper and hasn't lost his cool once. He's talked with classmates, although that's where he really struggles. He's managed to go all day with no electronic devices-a true miracle! The whole trip is really going as well as could be expected.

But the worry lingers. All the time, like post-traumatic stress. I can't shake it, even though it's short-term fretting. Interestingly, I don't have the same concerns for Adult Four that I do for Adult One. I truly believe Four will overcome his social deficits and go out into the world one day. It's just getting him there that's exhausting.

I know I should be celebrating the fact that Four and Five are both away on school trips (!!!) and focusing, as Cap reminds me, on all that we've achieved this year. Both boys attend school regularly. Five gets out of the car and walks into the building without me. Four is in a public school after spending years out of district. THESE ARE ALL  GOOD THINGS.

So when will I stop worrying?


  1. I am guessing, as a non-parent, special educator and decently analytic person, that you may never stop worrying. However, you may worry less once your trust (more) yourself, your outstanding mothering and your boys. Oh, and let us not forget the outstanding Captain!! I love you Megan.

  2. Though I kind of hated the movie The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio, the one thing in it that's interesting is a couple scenes where the mother is trying to teach her daughter to enjoy the present, and not let it be ruined by her anger at her father.

    The other thing I think of (when my present is being highjacked by anxiety) is something from Martha Beck. Her advice is to act as though the outcome you desire has already come true.

    And the THIRD thing I think of to help me, is one of the last conversations with my grandmother and my dad, when she said to him: If I'd known how good you kids would turn out, I wouldn't have worried so much!

    All this to say... IT IS HARD. Something I struggle with all the time. But probably a useful skill to develop, so I keep trying. Best of luck to you :-D (And to Four of course.)


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