Change is tough for me. Typically, I don't embrace it. Even if I know the change is needed, good, required, etc., I still struggle. Sometimes I can stop, take a deep breath, and move on. But sometimes, I worry, strategize, worry some more, and proceed with caution. Other times, I move quickly, realizing that the change is so needed that it creates the anxiety that if I don't make the decision to change RIGHT NOW, my
Recently, I had one of those AHA! moments that we needed to make a decision to change. Quickly. For the past 2 and 1/2 years, we have/had been taking our girls to a well-known and highly accredited "school" that really draws you in based on curriculum and technology. They hire certified teachers and you pay a lot of money for all of that. Overall, we were happy. Merrick had attended for only 1 year, but Taya was in her third year. We have experienced a lot of turnover in staff (because certified teachers are typically looking for jobs in elementary and not pre-school) and for the most part, we dealt pretty well with that. I managed to lay low for the most part as a parent. (Ahem, not a small feat for me!) And also, I got "close" with a couple of Taya's teachers. (I have wondered if this was a sub-conscious act on my part to get the teacher on the good side and they will prefer your kids???, but in hindsight have determined that I genuinely liked them!)
Although we thought this was a good school, and I liked the teachers, Taya and I continually struggled with going to school. In 2 and a half years, I honestly can not remember a time when we didn't struggle with drop-off. Typically, it was Taya crying, me trying to reason with her, and ending up leaving with a sometimes sad, sometimes crying, sometimes tantruming, and sometimes completely melting down daughter. We have tried MANY strategies to help, even asking one of my favorite SLPS to write a Social Story. (I also had talked to the Pediatrician about severe attachment issues and was recommended that we go to counseling, but that's another story!) We had temporary success, but never anything long term that "cured" the problem. And we had been seeing increasingly worse behaviors at home that didn't seem right for
The AHA! moment came about a month ago. I had been noticing little things here and there when I would drop Tay off or pick her up, but the realization came on a Friday afternoon when I picked her up and saw one of Taya's "friends"engaging in an EXACT behavior that we had recently seen at home. WHAT??? My bear was imitating behaviors. Yes, I realize that all kids do this. But, her behaviors had become pretty extreme. And I was at a loss. And it was on the way home that day that she finally decided to confide in her mama that she did not like being at school anymore with her "friends" that were bad. UGH! She had been in class with some of these friends for 2 1/2 years, and we had a "routine" (albeit not a great one), and although I realized we weren't in a great situation, I wasn't really sure what to do. Because, if we did anything, it would required CHANGE, and I was still struggling (still am) with the change that I have been going through with my (
And then, the guilt set in. What had I missed? How could I have not seen the cues she was giving? Why hadn't I paid more attention to the fact that we had never settled in to a good drop off? Why did I not put two and two together when she repeatedly asked when she could go to school with Merrick? Why did I lay low as a mom instead of addressing certain issues? Was this an epic mom fail? Hello, anxiety!
The next night, Dave and were having dinner with friends, and I decided that I needed to chat with him about considering a move to a new school. (Great timing, right?) But we talked it out on the way home and agreed that we needed to look in to a new school. Without much hesitation, and very little discussion, we decided that it would be best if Tay went back to the "kollege" that the girls had both attended when they were little, and like that, we were preparing for change. A rather large change. Based on a single instance that had brought about a moment that opened a flood gate of realization.
I chatted with Taya, and expecting her to be sad, quite the opposite occurred. She was excited. She wanted to learn at a new school. She wanted to be away from the boys in her class. And she wanted to be with her sister again. (The "kollege" also happens to be M's aftercare!) And my worry about THIS change went away. Because T was on board. And it would be good, right??? (It was sad, however, telling her teacher, then leaving on the last day with both of her teachers sobbing, I was crying, and Taya skipping out the door ready to embark on her new adventure!)
And for the most part, going through the change has been good. Dave did drop off and pick up most of the first week, and this week I embarked on my solo journey. We had 2 really good days, 2 OK days, and 1 REALLY BAD DAY that resulted in me sitting in my car sobbing, and continuing to cry all day long because I had messed up her routine by FORGETTING to drop her off at school. But, my amazing sister went and checked on her and reported back, and I was a little more at ease. Taya is learning so much, she is reciting bible verses, she gets to hug and kiss her sister when she sees her, she is making friends, and she is overall doing a great job! Her behaviors at home have improved some, and her manners are much, much better, and I am a proud mama that is thankful for the change.
However, as is the story of life, I am facing another change. After several recent chats with one of my closest friends and confidants, I have realized that my well-being is in need of a change. For the past 7 years, I have forgotten who I am. And that is a change I am going to be working on. Changing from "wife, mom and professional" to "Me, including but not limited to wife, mom and professional." And dare I say I am anxious to see what this change has in store for me.