Today was my son’s first day back to school. Like most other people (judging by the crowds last night) we waited until the last possible day to go school supply shopping. Not a very wise thing to do for me! We spent most of the day on the run looking for this or that, the perfect trapper keeper, backpack and jeans. Not to mention the crazy list of actual supplies needed. I had to come back to the house and rest in between stores so it took a bit longer than it would take most people. I was expecting a battle with my son this morning to get him up and out the door but was pleasantly surprised when he was very cooperative and actually seemed like he was in a good mood! Great morning for the first day!
The entire school year is exhausting for me, despite the good morning we had, I am already looking forward to next summer! I know most parents look forward to their kids going back to school, not me! Let me explain how these different times of year affect me.
By the time August rolls around, I am dreading the days when I have to wake my son up. He is 14, so this chore is somewhat difficult. Then once he’s up, I make breakfast, keep him on track, make sure he has everything he needs for the day and take him to school. After what seems like just a few hours later, I go back to pick him up, make sure he actually does his homework and takes a shower (this is an ongoing battle) and get ready for the next day. To the average person, this seems like a piece of cake or at the very least, not a huge deal physically or mentally. Some even look forward to more structured days, less daycare if you work and more time to yourself if you’re a stay at home mom. However, when you have a chronic illness, like Fibromyalgia and MCTD…it can become very taxing very quickly. Let’s not even take into account that the changing of seasons generally throws me into a flare!
Like almost everyone else on the planet, I have to get up early. For most, this is simply annoying, but when you don’t know how you are going to feel when you wake up, it can become a problem. It usually takes me an hour or more in the morning just to get my body and brain to start functioning. By functioning, I mean walking without feeling like my joints are going to break and actually able to form a complete sentence. This is not an exaggeration, trust me, I wish it were! I have no idea how long it will actually take to bring my pain down to a level where I can walk without wanting to scream and start being able to make sense to others, so mornings during the school year for me are a bit of a crap shoot. Will I be able to get him up and motivated in time to eat breakfast? Is he going to wake up like a moody teenager or actually want to cooperate this morning? If it’s a particular bad morning for either of us, sometimes it’s a cereal bar on the way out the door. Hopefully I haven’t forgotten anything like lunch money or signing something. Never mind trying to remember if it’s picture day or anything like that. I can’t count the number of times I have forgotten things like that!
When making doctor’s appointments, I have had to keep in mind school is back in session. Does he have any after school activities I need to remember? Otherwise I am calling and having to reschedule. Again, usually not a big deal, but I have 4 doctor’s appointments a month and see a specialist every 3 months.
Also, I have to keep in mind if he has any after school activities or tutoring when picking him up. I literally have to make sure it is in my calendar with alerts! If not, I could be there at 2:30, when I should’ve been there at 4:00. Example, he has tutoring Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays this year. I have to put an alert in my calendar to pick him up at 4:00 on tutoring days. I also add alerts for Tuesdays and Thursdays to pick him up at 2:30. Yes, I need a reminder to pick my son up from school! Of all the things I’ve lost, I truly miss my mind the most!!
The school year also means my youngest daughter will be busy with Marching Band Color Guard. She is captain, so she is constantly at practice or at competitions, even doing parades from time to time. It seems she is also forever making cupcakes or cookies for the guard girls. Add into the mix school and work and she is hardly ever home. I try to go to as many competitions as I can. Sometimes they are pretty far away, so I have to be having a really good day to make one of those. I am so proud of her and never want to miss seeing her perform. Because of my pain, if I am lucky, I make it to half of the competitions! Again, all this information goes in my calendar with alerts…how does a mom forget her daughter’s state final competition? I almost did last year!
This school year is pretty momentous, my oldest daughter is starting college. Thank God we have addressed most of the requirements like registration, orientation, schedule, books, etc. over the summer. The down side is that she won’t be around as much to help out now. She does a lot for me during the summer when she isn’t working. She will mostly be sleeping, gone to class, studying, at work or spending time with her boyfriend. She is growing up so fast!! It’s amazing, scary and sad all at the same time.
Really, the only up side of the school year are those precious few hours during the day where I am completely alone, well except for the dogs. By the end of summer, I am looking forward to this time alone. Unless of course I am having a high pain day, then I really miss someone being able to get my meds or help me up.
The school year differs greatly from the summer months where I pretty much can get up whenever I want to. Most nights I don’t sleep well, so this is pretty nice. There are no set schedules to remember or keep up with except for my doctor’s appointments. Summer is definitely my favorite time of year because I don’t have to deal with the cold or try to live on a schedule. As addressed in an earlier entry, schedules are almost impossible when living with chronic pain.
During the summer, the most I have to do where it concerns my son is trying to make sure he is getting outside enough and not playing video games all day. Giving him chores to do, making lunches, trying to keep him entertained mostly. This is easier now that he is older and I thank God that he isn’t younger than he is. I don’t know if I could handle much more than I do now.