Before the Beginning of School Anxieties

My children look to me to create the rhythms of their lives. They do not watch clocks, they wait for Mom to call them for lunch. Sometimes they pay attention to calendars, but usually only when there is a holiday or birthday to anticipate. In the summer they are even cast free of the school schedule, each day shaped very much like all the rest. I watch clocks and calendars. I track appointments and set alarms. Which is why I am very aware that school starts in only two weeks. On August 19th the changes that have been roiling and causing anxiety since last February will solidify. We will have things to deal with instead of things to worry about. But we are not quite there yet and I’m not looking forward to the moment when the kids figure out how close we are to that day. When they do, there will be emotional reactions and I don’t know what shape those emotional reactions will take. In fact part of my brain is convinced that one or more of the kids will melt down into major anxiety which will snowball causing stress and emotional upheaval for all of us that won’t resolve until sometime in October.

It is possible that the kids aren’t the ones I need to worry about with the before school anxiety. In fact all current evidence suggests that I am the one who is going to be stressed and fretting during the next two weeks. I’m already there. And I am trying very hard not to signal any of my anxiety to the kids. We’re not going school shopping. I haven’t scheduled before-school-starts haircuts. I’m not trying to do a few last outings before the summer is gone. As much as possible I would like this week to be summer-as-normal. Next week is soon enough for all the other things.