This update is taking a bit of a different turn that my usual posts. In addition to the promises I’m making to myself, I am also vowing to be more aware and compassionate with regard to my son’s struggles. And sometimes, if I’ve being brutally honest, that is so damn hard.
It’s impossible to describe the heartache I feel on a daily basis when I see evidence of Grant’s anxiety play out. We’ve been out of our usual routine for the past few weeks because of Christmas and when it came time to get him to school yesterday I couldn’t shake him from his incoherent screaming, so we didn’t go and went back to sleep instead. This morning we did some talking about school and some visualization practice on what a day at school is like, which eventually convinced him to go.
But we were late and missed the carline, so I had to walk him in. His pace slowed more and more the closer we got to his room. Once inside and he saw the other kids he didn’t want to let me go. Crying and clinging as his teacher gently tried to peel him off of me. I know he’ll be fine eventually and will have fun, but walking away from him in that moment is the worst feeling. Leaving him in tears means I also leave in tears.
We had him evaluated by a child psychologist and after our meeting with her yesterday his diagnosis is worse than I even suspected. She said he’s emotionally immature for his age. But if you’re dealing with emotions bigger than you, that you can’t even understand much less talk about, I can see why “immaturity” might occur. It’s a debilitating condition. Shoot, I’m still emotionally immature myself some days.
He’ll start weekly play therapy with her and we’re now to do daily mindfulness practices to help him learn to recognize when he’s experiencing the uncomfortable feelings and how to bring himself to a calm place so he can focus. I’m hoping to get him to a good place before kindergarten next year.
This is all so hard on my heart. Anxiety is real, folks. And children can have it, too, and it can really hinder their development. Most adults can’t manage their anxiety appropriately, so now imagine that in a four-year old body. It’s up to us as parents to give them the resources and tools they need to be successful, to be their advocates when they’re hurting. It’s up to us to resist dismissing it as typical four-year old behavior. It might be so much more complicated than that.
This is so hard.