Back To School So Bravely

And so bravely, she got out of the car and went back to school on Monday after being taught from home for part of last school year and most of the summer. She had to stand among the crowd of students and wait for the bell to ring, just after saying she felt sick to her stomach. I prayed that one friend would find her and make her laugh, help her forget about that her stomach was queasy. But I had to pull away as there were so many cars behind me pushing their way forward to let their children out on this first day of school.

Walking GirlThe night before, her clothes were set out, her book bag was packed, but sleep alluded her. She tossed and turned, got up for water, to use the bathroom, trying to get the sleep she so desperately needed. When she did fall asleep, it was fitful. Every little noise awoke her and for what seemed like minutes later, her sleepy eyes peeked at my from under the covers the next morning, begging me for “5 more minutes”.

Better to wake her up early and let her sleep in a bit. Better to have everything prepared the night before, so she is the main focus in the morning. Even though it takes her longer to get ready than in years past, I try to be patient. My mood is essential to her getting off to a good day at school. So I bite my tongue and help her with tasks that she would normally do on her own. She’s out of it, still feeling sleepy, so I can’t blame her.

Two classes a day at school (from 9 AM to 11 AM) and she’s worn out. She yawns in class, has trouble staying on task, but is grateful that the teacher is animated. Plus it’s two hours of reading – Language Arts and Critical Thinking – something she enjoys very much. When it’s time to leave, you can see it on her face, in her eyes, the tired look that comes over her, that she can’t control.

Back home, she eats lunch and takes a nap. So far it’s been about an hour each day. Then, homework, getting everything ready for the next day, a little TV, some time on the computer. Feeling tired again, but can’t sleep so close to bedtime. Eat dinner, take a shower, read, try to stay awake until bedtime. And it begins again the next day.

My daughter, with a diagnosis of Narcolepsy, going back to school so bravely.

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Connie Roberts

Professional Blogger
Living in the Tampa Bay area, I'm lucky enough to see beautiful sunsets almost every day. Although life can be difficult at times, focusing on the positive and being with my family is what gets me through.

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  1. Love the way this post is written.

  2. Connie, this post is beautiful & hurts my heart from two perspectives. From your Mama perspective, and from hers. I know I’ve shared with you before about going through the same sleep struggles as your daughter when I was in high school.

    I’m so proud of her for going back to school today! I know it’s hard.

    Have you discussed her napping at school? Just to throw it out there, because I would often PASS OUT in the nurses office for an entire period & then go to the next class. Given the Americans with Disabilities Act, I’m sure the school could work this out, if you guys thought that would be helpful. Schedule an off period, for example. Many days it was the only way I could get past my 10am class.

    I can just tell that even though she’s facing challenges, 2011-2012 is going to be a school year full of great things for your girl. Tell her I’m rooting for her!

    • Eryn, I always love hearing from you, but on this type of post, your comments are even more helpful and kind. Sammi is going to school for only 2 classes and the rest of her core classes will be done via the Homebound program. The doctor did write a note about naps though, as we are hoping she can stay longer in school each day. I did tell her about you and she’s so happy to “know” someone who has narcolepsy and understands what she’s going through.

  3. This is something not spoken about very often, at least in mainstream. I agree, your daughter is showing bravery. It seems it comes from her mama. I hope the school administration allows her to grow, become more brave & strong and works with her along her more difficult path to education. Beautiful how this is written. I liked not learning of her diagnosis until the last sentence, Connie.

    • The school district will work with my daughter, Rajean! I’ve come to learn how to be her advocate in an assertive way. Not so sure about her learning bravery from me, but thank you! Thanks so much for the comment about how I wrote this post too. It means a lot to me.

  4. She is so brave and I loved this post. You have such a way with words.

  5. Totally captivating and beautiful.

  6. Oh Connie, how I wish I knew you a couple years ago when my daughter was having so many issues and it was only by the grace of God that she was able to complete the year only to end up in the hospital over the summer. My thoughts and prayers are with you supporting you each and every day. I know the look and the angst as you watch them get out of the car and hope that they make it through the day. So many parents don’t have that thought but it is very real for some kids. I am completely rooting for the both of you.

  7. Oh Connie. Such a beautiful story. I love that even though she was scared she made it through. She is such a brave girl and you are such an amazing Mama. xoxo

  8. Very strong writing, Connie. You had me following along attentively the whole way through.
    Beat wishes for your daughter for the year ahead.

  9. Great post Connie! I know it is so hard to send them back. T is on homebound right now for a few days (hopefully that’s all) and I know when I drop him back off at school again for the first time it will be hard. I would love to just hold his hand and be there to support him all day – but I know he doesn’t want that and I know it’s not reasonable even – but I still think it.

    I hope S has a good school year – nice and smooth and calm {{{HUGS}}}}

    • I read about T and wish him well. I think of keeping Sammi home and preventing her from having to deal with the issues that come up at school and elsewhere. Then reality sets in and I realize that I wouldn’t be protecting her, but isolating her. She has to learn to do her best.

  10. Great post! Fantastic, captivating writing! Loved it!

  11. What a beautifully written post and a beautifully brave young woman!

  12. Nice post. You know I am praying for you and Sammi.


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