Resiliency: A mother’s back to school story

By: Sylvie Griffiths

The irony of counting down the days until summer break is fully realized by the last two weeks of summer. My four kids have become beyond annoying; not only to each other and us as their parents, but I truly think to themselves as well! For the first time, even three of my four kids were EXCITED to start school and my high school aged child, though certainly not joyous, was excited to plan his wardrobe selections in advance for that first week of classes.

I am an anxious mom and I am legit in this anxiousness as I have General Anxiety Disorder. I remember hearing the explanation of the acronym GAD and thinking, “General, ugh, I am just like everyone else.” Which, like the summer countdown, is super ironic. I am trapped in my own thoughts, fears, insecurities, and panic attacks in my mind daily that I sometimes must walk outside for a minute just to clear my head or do deep breathing so my crying doesn’t worsen in a public area at the worst possible time.

I have four kids and I am super anxious. So back to school gave me worrying to the likes of which my husband had not seen in several years. Would their teachers like them? Would they fit in at their new schools (we moved over summer and changed school zoning so all were new students this year) and if not will they resent us from moving? Add my husband and I both starting new jobs and being in the middle of a possible lawsuit against our super crappy previous landlord and you can see how carefree and whimsical our summer break truly was. And I was admittedly miserable most of summer too due to stress and job hunting. So besides worrying about school starting for the kids I was also concerned that they had a shit summer break.

But here is the part that I didn’t expect; my kids had a great summer. They told me all the time before school began. “Mommy I love my new room!”, “Mom, I am so glad you are working from home all summer!”, and even “My summer was so awesome! I slept all day and stayed up late eating junk food!” (100% accurate and I am not ashamed.)

My youngest is newly eight years old as I write this post. He is funny, snuggly still, and has the face of my husband when he was younger. My youngest daughter is now 10 and is beyond sassy and defiant. I hope she keeps those qualities as she ages as I know first-hand that being a person with your hand up is the only way to get around in this world nowadays. My oldest daughter is 12 and she is literally gorgeous and smart and riddled with a lot of my anxieties. She still wants to lay in bed and watch horror movies with me regardless of what else is going on. And my oldest, my stepson, is becoming his own person right before my eyes at nearly 15 years old. He is designing clothes, learning to be a very talented drummer, and is so confident and funny his once shy self seems of a different boy.

Back to school, that first day, like many parents I am on pins and needles. My kids range in age and frankly, there are so many of them, that I should get updates like news on the hour to fully check on all four kids! The oldest have phones so I clutch my phone waiting for that text mentioning how their day was until it happens. My younger two kids communicate with me through their siblings or their tablets, and I usually hear from them first due to bell schedules.

So, the kids embark on their first day back with apprehension, excitement, happiness, and curiosity. And, me, the mom, embarks on a day of being fully distracted due to watching my phone so much and wondering what I forgot to send them with. The details of planning four kids at three different schools is less than magical I assure you. But by the end of the day, I am home with them finally and hearing about their moments, their new teachers, what was for lunch in the cafeteria, and who their new best friend is and I am happy. And, somehow, like previous years, we survived.

About Sylvie Griffiths:
Sylvie is a happily married mother of four who enjoys writing, people and chocolate.

She is an Evaluation Associate and has a Bachelor’s Degree in Behavioral Healthcare-Adult Community Concentration, from the University of South Florida. She holds more than ten years of experience in performance assessment and behavioral health services and is currently enrolled as an MBA student at Springfield College, School of Professional and Continuing Studies.