Whew! We got back home from our long road-trip and hit the ground running. I haven’t even unpacked everything yet because we’ve been getting ready for today — the first day of school! This morning, I kissed two-thirds of my children goodbye and sent them across the street to begin first grade, second grade, fourth grade, and fifth grade.
I can barely believe it! It seems just yesterday I had a house full of preschoolers and was always pregnant or nursing babies. At the time, I felt I’d be in that stage forever. Now, my baby is nearly three. Every child can walk and talk and put on his or her own shoes. Everyone can go up and down the stairs without being carried. My children can toast breakfast bread, spread cream cheese, and pour cereal, and the older ones help the younger two. I have a ten-year-old who can cook an entire meal by herself. We’re moving on to the next stage of life.
The stresses I have now are different than the stresses I had five years ago when I had four preschoolers and was in the throes of morning sickness and trying to start kindergarten with Lauren while a construction crew took off our roof, put on a new one, and built a new room onto the front of our house.
Now, I don’t have morning sickness and I don’t spend my whole day changing diapers, and we don’t even live in that house anymore. I’m not trying to figure out how to get a baby, a toddler, and two preschoolers in and out of car-seats and through parking lots. Instead, I’m helping two children learn to cope with Tourette Syndrome, and I’m encouraging their older sister to cope with their sometimes embarrassing, sometimes annoying behaviors. I’m navigating my way through conferences at school and learning to be an advocate for a son with learning delays. I’m trying to decide when I feel up to potty-training my last child. (Not today, I’ve decided.) I’m trying to decide when my four-year-old needs speech therapy, and then I’ll need to work with a new school system in this town I’m not all that familiar with. I’m scheduling appointments with neurologists and developmental specialists, along with doctors and dentists. I’m making chore charts and supervising homework and trying to not say words I shouldn’t say when I step on yet another tiny LEGO that didn’t get picked up with the rest.
So I’m learning that in every stage of life, there is stress. Well, maybe I already knew that; but I’m experiencing it first-hand. There will always be something to cause stress and anxiety. Sarah asked in a recent comment about anxiety, which I thought was especially timely considering the stress and anxiety I have been feeling lately. So how do we handle anxiety and stress? I’m going to plunge into this topic in my next post. In the meantime, feel free to share your suggestions in the comment section. What has worked for you?