If you were to meet my son Ryan, you may see his sweet and playful side or you might see his quiet, angry side. You see – he’s a bit of both. Ryan is the kindest, most gentlest person in our house. He loves his friends dearly and his brothers even more.
He also adores all animals – especially insects. He’s the first to give-in to make peace (future job as a mediator perhaps?) and the first to say sorry / cry if he hurts you (accidentally of course). He’s also super affectionate – he can never receive or give out enough hugs and kisses. He wants to be loved and he wants to love! But there’s another side to Ryan – he has some anger management issues. He’ll hit and yell out of frustration and can shut you out in an instant. But John and I hold a sweet spot for our (not so) little, middle son. You see, we’re both middle children too. We get the frustration, and the need to be liked, and the personality flip. We get it…
And so, it tore me up inside so much these past few days when Ryan started Junior Kindergarten and he didn’t have a great start. In nursery school he had his “gang” of friends and he only went for a half a day. Now, he was going to a new school where he didn’t know anybody, and had to be there the entire day. He was pretty much anxious and stressed about school the entire summer. He kept saying “I hate school” before he even started. Due to the school’s stagger start system, he only started school on Thursday (instead of Tuesday). At drop-off it seemed like all was going fairly well (he just kept on asking us for hugs and kisses consistently) but he lined up, with his backpack on, and followed his class mates in to the school when the bell rang.
Friday? Not so great. He cried and cried and had a hard time letting go of our hands. This is the same kid that walked in and never looked back during his first day of nursery school when he was only two and a half years old. Same kid that NEVER cried during drop-off at nursery.
At recess (we live across the school), I saw him play in the school yard alone – just going up the stairs and down the slide repeatedly. Sometimes stopping to look around, but he was always alone. He wasn’t sad, but he wasn’t smiling. It wasn’t the Ryan I knew… and my heart ached for him.
This past weekend, all I heard him ask was “how much longer till school starts?” but not because he wanted to go. He cried to us almost every night about school. I looked at him and told him that I understand, and I promised that it would get better. In reality, I was tearing up inside. My heart ached for my child. He was worried and stressed and anxious and I didn’t know how I could take that pain away. I just knew that with time, he will love it. With time, he’ll make new friends. With time, he’ll get to know his new school and routines. We just need time!
We both went to bed Sunday night a little sad and helpless. Monday was a new day with new hopes and guess what? Things did get better. Ryan still says that he doesn’t like school, but he said that it was his best day ever at school. Okay – maybe it was the fact that I brought him home for lunch, but he also told me that he made a new friend and he came in third during their cross-country run at gym (“beating out many of the SK’s” he proudly told me). So things are looking up, and I hope that with time, they will continue to…