Today was…interesting.

The Tao of Bird started school yesterday. He’s been really anxious about it, but I have been doing my best to get him prepared. Slowly over the preceding weeks we’ve worked on desensitizing as much as we can, and I’ve tried to remain positive with him even though my fucking heart is breaking about this and I think it’s totally dumb. I’ve reassured him that he’ll be fine, that he’s prepared, that he’ll make friends…that there’s nothing to be afraid of, and that, regardless, just about everyone else there has the same fears.

My plan was to get to the school early Monday morning to get his schedule so I could at least make sure he knew how to get to all of his classes. Unfortunately, the registrar had other plans, and we spent all the time I had intended to spend further preparing him for a successful first day sitting in the office (yet again) because there was some question about our paperwork. Oh, the endless freaking paperwork you have to fill out to go to school these days – most of which seems to center on keeping certain students OUT of certain schools.

But we got it figured out, and we were directed down the (wrong) hallway to TOB’s first class, corrected ourselves, and I shooed him in the right direction before going home.

I spent the whole day expecting to get a call from the counselor…or someone. But, nothing. It seemed like this school thing might take. TOB came home in a somewhat upbeat mood, and managed to maintain that for several hours before breaking down in tears, telling me how stressful it was, telling me he couldn’t even eat lunch because the cafeteria stressed him out so bad. Telling me he wasn’t going to go to school anymore. And I gave him the pep talk. And I went over the routine for bedtime, breakfast time, school time, and after-school time.

And this morning when I tried to wake him up…he didn’t want to get up. Then he got up…but he didn’t want to get out of bed. Then he got out of bed, but he was ABSOLUTELY NOT GOING TO SCHOOL. And over the period of an hour, we inched closer and closer to the door…me alternating between attempting to encourage and trying not to scream at the top of my lungs. Closer to the door. Closer. Closer. Until I was able to get him out. Said goodbye. Locked up. Went to my office. Came out to check 5 minutes later, and he was gone. “Phew.” I thought.

On my break, I felt a twinge of sorrow when I exited my office and there was no TOB flinging himself at me from some corner of the house.

I went to the back door to let the cat in…

And there was TOB.

“What the…?” I opened the door. He said “Hi mom. I’m going to school tomorrow. I thought about it. I’m sorry. By the way, while I was out there the cats and I started a cult of Carl Sagan. Tiny Cat is a bad disciple, though.”

You know…sometimes you look at your children, and they seem so much BIGGER than they should be. Today I looked at TOB – who is pretty much as tall as me now. And I couldn’t get over how tiny he seems. I gotta say – I think he’s a tough kid. I think he’s a lot stronger than he should have to be at his age. Don’t get me wrong about that. But after all of the phone calls and conversations with counselors and emails to his father and tears and discussions and agreements…all I could think about was how very much I love that little guy. Like, with all my fucking heart. And I just don’t want anyone to fuck with him. I want him to be as HIM as he possibly can be. Silly, smart, brave, kind, strong, sensitive, sweet…HIM.

So, I’m trying to remain honest. I’m acknowledging that I’m not feeling great about all of this, but that it will be good for him to be settled into a routine. This whole year has been a huge disruption in the life of our family. In the lives of these children. They’ve been through the ringer. Being in school gives TOB a good neutral ground to stand on and cultivate his own identity independent of his overbearing mommy and his know-it-all big brother. He has a foundation of learning, and love of learning, that I know will persist. And he has some pretty significant obstacles he needs to overcome. I’m not averse to having a team of experts helping me support him in dealing with those obstacles.

I’m trying to focus on these things, but I will still visibly flinch when I read teacher handouts that contain misspelled words. And I will still audibly complain when I’m filling out YET ANOTHER FUCKING FORM, especially if said FUCKING FORM is on treated paper that’s impossible to actually write on.

Onward and upward. Tomorrow is another day. I’ve been assured it will be better. Cross your fingers for us, plz.