Ok, it’s not like I haven’t raised kids before. It’s not like I haven’t had to, at some point, let them march out on their own into the big, bad world. I have done that. I have. And my kids are all fine, despite daycare and sitters and the like.
But here’s the thing. And this just hit me, by the way, because we are working on getting everything we need together to get Jordan enrolled in Great Beginnings this fall. The thing is that in order to help Jordan, I have to load him onto a bus and trust him with strangers, and I can’t be there, and all I can think about are the things that might go wrong.
What if he’s scared to get on the bus? What if he’s confused about why Mommy is shoving him onto this giant yellow bus filled with more fidgeting, jabbering kids his age?
What if his teacher can’t understand what he wants or needs? He can’t talk—or doesn’t talk yet, which is a lot of the reason he’s going to school in the first place. But still. What if she doesn’t know what he’s trying to sign to her?
What if this experience is the worst thing I can do for him? Would he be better off at home? What if he hates being separated from his brother?
And the list goes on and on. And I am freaking out. I have never, EVER done this before, never freaked out about school and kids. I happily carted the others off to daycare without a second thought. (Ok, maybe there was a second thought, but definitely not a third. They were fine.)
And the list gets more and more ridiculous. What if there are a lot of strangers handing out candy at the school? What if the entire school is abducted by aliens? What if there is a hurricane (yes, in Missouri—hey, it could happen) and I can’t get there in time?
I don’t remember ever worrying like this before. But this is Jordan. And Jordan is special in so many ways.
The fact that he isn’t talking yet doesn’t define him, not at all. He has as much personality as a dozen chattering 3-year-olds. He is funny, and he is a pleaser. He is sweet, and he is a hugger. He needs those hugs, and you know what? I need those hugs, too. He can’t say, “I love you” yet—but he can give one darn good hug, and that’s all I need.
He has his own signs that we understand because we are around him all the time, but what if his teacher doesn’t understand? What if the people at the school haven’t worked with a kid like him before, and what if, what if, what if…?
I am so worried that I will put him on that bus and he will cry. And then what will I do? Do I take him back off the bus? Or do I make him go on the bus…and then take myself back inside the house for a good cry?
But then, there’s another what if. What if he is so brave that he surprises me? What if he is excited to get on that shiny yellow bus? And what if he makes so many friends that he can’t wait to go to school every day?
I hope, hope, hope that this is what happens. But I worry. I am scared to put him on that bus.
I have resigned myself to the fact that it would be completely inappropriate for me to be sipping on the tail end of a couple of margaritas while putting him on the bus. Nothing screams pitiful more than a wobbling, drunk mommy putting her kid on the bus for the first time, so I will try to refrain from that sort of self-medication.
Therefore, I need meds. And good ones, please, Doc. None of that Tylenol stuff. I’m afraid I’m going to need something a bit stronger.