Last night I tried to find any kind of webpage that had tips for dealing with the stress of your kid transitioning off to highschool. I'm REALLY good at googling stuff. It could almost be my career...if they had a career for that. Do they have a career for that? I would like a career in that. I tried to word it in all kinds of ways; "tips for stressed parents of kids going into highschool," "how to deal with the stress of your kid going to highschool," "parental anxiety when your child is starting highschool," etc, etc. And you know what? I couldn't find anything. Every return showed all kinds of websites for how to help your teen make the transition, how to help your teen deal with the stress of going back to school, sites about kids starting school anxious and depressed, "9 ways to help your kid with back to school anxiety..."
What about me?
I know. That sounds selfish. It's my SON who's going into grade 9. On the outside, I keep smiling. Saying things like; "I feel good about this!" and "I think highschool is really going to suit you!" and "you must have felt like you were too big for elementary school by the end anyway." I tell him that he needs to have his own adventures. I'm here for him. Hey, anytime you need to talk about anything, or if you feel stressed, just let me know. I keep myself one step back. Breezy. Cool. Casual.
it's all flashing before me. Nursery school when the instructor told me she "didn't know how I did it," meaning, how I coped with my high-functioning, at times volatile son. I guess that was a compliment. I guess it was like giving me a little Super Woman cape. It hurt. Or the time in nursery school when he came back after I'd started to give him Omega 3 supplements, and I was told "I don't know what you're doing but keep doing it!" Another "compliment." I guess.
Going to junior kindergarten. Waiting for the bus which was ALWAYS LATE. The bus that was always late that freaked my son out because schedules are important, yes, but they're of PARAMOUNT importance to a little boy with Autism. We gave up on the bus. I tucked my son and his baby sister into the double stroller I'd gotten cheap online, and I whizzed them up the road myself.
Will the highschool bus be on time?
The lady who was like an eccentric, kind, odd little bird who was my son's EA (educational assistant). The one who helped him keep it together when life became overwhelming.
Then we moved and came to our present city and school. Eight years of meetings about that "Individual Education Plan." Eight years of gushing commentary about what a neat kid he is, what a character. So witty. The little kid who nearly vomited before school in grades 1 and 2 because the sound of the school bell was so horrifying to him. The kid who a teacher gave a little toy bee to to hold onto a recess because he was-- and still is--completely FREAKED OUT by bees. Fighting for him to continue to get extra help in grade three. Each year he gets older, memories coming out of him like conversational anecdotes of all the times teachers said things to him that were really, really not all that patient, kind or remotely empathetic. And then at graduation, he left that school having made zero friends. Maybe he doesn't care. He always said he was fine with it. Not acknowledged during or at the end of elementary school for all the fucking effort it took just to sit there and be as unnoticeable as a shadow, as a whisper. I know, because I was invited to class one day and I saw it.
So now he's headed off to highschool. This is a monumental change for him, and I know he hates it, but even the fact that he's keeping it together, and quietly sequestering himself off in his room, teenager style--that kills me too.
I decided a day or so ago to chill the fuck out. I'm happy that he's okay. I'm happy he can physically walk to his bus stop. I'm happy he's healthy. I'm happy he's here to go to highschool. I'm happy. I'm happy. I'm happy. I want him to have experiences. I have so much hope. I have fantasies of this bold, bossy girl I've invented in my head who tells him "Come on!" because they're going out of the school to buy a slice of pizza for lunch. Or maybe there's another awkward guy and they become friends, even if it's hanging out in their room, barely chatting because they're each on their ipads. You know--like that line from "The Breakfast Club:"
Anyway, I'm good during the day. Well, maybe not "good," but better than at night that's for sure. I have lots of up/down moments. So much dread for the unknown. I just don't want him to panic and totally forget those new combination lock skills. I just want the bus to be on time. I just want those older teens who are part of his "link crew"--the ones who are supposed to help grade 9's find their way around the school--I just want them to be nice. I want him to make a friend. Just one friend. A dozen if possible, but I'll take one. I want to not yell at him on that first morning when I walk to the bus stop with him if he's mouthy to me because he's nervous. I want him to have a girlfriend one day. I want him to find out he is so proficient at computers a post-highschool career will be in the bag. I want him to not hate school anymore. I hope he realises how proud I am of him.
And yeah, I wouldn't mind a website with "10 Tips On How To Deal When You're Teen Is About To Start Highschool." Thanks, google, that would be great.