This is the phrase that I, or others have said to me over and over again the past six months: “It’s going to be ok.” The sentence suggests that it’s not ok now. And I suppose it really is ok now. It’s just really, really difficult.
I always grieve the first day of school. As a mother, I feel like it is a bigger right of passage for my children than birthdays. It’s a primal feeling for me. My cubs are leaving the den to be with other cubs and they might run in to other wild animals and the mother bear in me is fiercely protective.
To be clear, I believe in empowerment and letting them adventure off, and all that, I just grieve that I can’t go with them. I know they will fall down and be resourceful in getting back up, but man it hurts to think I might not be there to help them.
This year is more anxiety producing because we have moved and are at new schools, in a new town, where my cubs know no other cubs. Today they go to a new part of the forest. Alone.
This school system we are walking into is huge. People ride the bus, even if they live five minutes away, everything is computerized, you have to pay for a background check to volunteer. I predict there will be way more homework. I find it overwhelming and intimidating.
Along the way, as I have attempted to navigate this new school system, there have been other mother bears who get it and have supported my cubs. There is the secretary at the district office who volunteered in a conversation to say, “oh, there is nothing harder than moving kids. It’s so stressful. I have been where you are, hang in there.” There is the secretary at the middle school who said, “I will be looking out for your daughter. I will check in and make sure she is ok.” There are the moms who have said, “lets meet at the school and make sure they know where to go.” There is the wonderful parishioner who sent a note to my children and told them that Jesus goes with them to school and she will be praying for them.
And of course there are my strong, capable children who seem to be braver than I. My little boy, who just ran up to bigger boys on the basketball court and asked if he could get in the game. My middle, social daughter, who is grieving the most and has the highest anxiety, who spent the night drawing and writing to her friends. My oldest daughter, just on the brink of adolescence who snuggled next to me last night, as she did when she was six months old, and said, “It’s going to be ok, Mother.”