It has been a very long road with this little beauty. From years of infertility, miscarriages, high-risk pregnancy, bed rest, hospital bed rest, high-risk delivery, extremely needy baby, birth of a new business as a result, panic attacks by 2 1/2, learning about Social Anxiety, learning how to help Bean function normally, tears….so many tears…….and today…..Kindergarten.
I remember when they first handed Bean to me in the OR, on a gorgeous Day in December. So swollen from all the fluids I had been pumped with I could barely fold my arm to hold her safely. My ankles hurt, I was SO hungry and my c-section incision ached.
Perfect in my eyes, she could do no wrong.
Our journey together has been filled with so many lessons in Life; I could never share them all. Lessons that have made me a better Mother, friend, wife, sister and daughter. Lessons that were either going to break our relationship or make it stronger. We always chose the second option. Together.
Our biggest journey has been with her anxiety. We didn’t know what it was at first because it showed up randomly with a new environment. She would suddenly shut down and become very stand-off. At first we thought she was being a bit bratty and scolded her for it. But soon enough it started manifesting in ways that showed us a different perspective.
It got to the point where I would avoid certain Lines at Walmart to avoid ‘men,’ bought her ear defenders for loud noises, and let her keep her little routines and ‘quirks’ that seemed to make her feel safe and comfortable. We thought we had it all pretty well under control.
Until – her first Panic Attack. It was late summer after she turned 3 at a bridal shower. The father of the bride came over and tapped her on the shoulder and said ‘Boo!’ (He was NOT trying to be mean)
Well, for Bean, we had told her there would be no ‘boys’ at this event and that shock, combined with the sudden introduction sent her into a panic attack. She had lost control.
What happened in the next 10 minutes changed the course of the rest of our lives.
To an outsider, it probably looked like a little kid that didn’t get her way, having a fit. But this Mamma knew. I carried her outside and collapsed into the grass, in my dress and onto my knees.
I held her.
I let her scream.
She was shaking, in fear and started to sweat. I closed my eyes and started to whisper to her; ‘it’s ok to be upset. Mamma’s here. Mamma’s got you’. She tried the ‘deep breathing’ techniques we had developed with her over the years but she couldn’t catch her breath. She looked up at me, with those big old blue eyes and kept screaming as if to say ‘what is happening?’ She looked so confused and so scared.
That day changed how we approach everything with Bean. We are now Always upfront with her whether it is a trip to Walmart or getting a shot at the doctors. We don’t keep secrets. We put her into pre-school a year early to get her into social situations as soon as possible, and even had the most wonderful teachers that Spoke ‘Beep-beep-beep” instead of playing the actual fire alarm.
Then, today, after years of preparation, is the day I had to send her off into the world of Kindergarten. A day where I had to trust strangers to take in and care for and understand my daughter as much as I do.
Ultimately, as I walked her down the hallway, she started whispering “I am not excited anymore, I am not excited anymore” as she squeezed my hand harder. I stopped, in the middle of a busy, crowded and noisy hallway and I said “It’s is ok to be scared. Mommy is scared too.”
“You are? Why are you scared Mommy?”
“Because this is your first day at school and this is my first day without you. And that scares me.”
“It’s ok Mommy- I will be ok.”
We turned & made it into her class. She placed her lunchbox into the red wagon, removed her coat and joined the other 2 kids on the rug. I turned to leave, “Mommy?” she called out to me, (and secretly I wanted her to ask me to stay) “I love you!” She yelled in front of everyone.
“I love you more Bean.”
This little girl has Changed. My. Life.
Good, bad and ugly.
I am grateful for the journey and lessons we have had, and all the great adventures that are to come.