To The Mom Whose Kid is Different on the First Day of School

I just wanted to say I see you. Take a minute to breathe. 

If you are anything like me, you probably didn’t sleep well last night. Maybe you had an anxious child who went to bed late despite your best efforts, who was worried about a new start in a new classroom (or even a new start in the same classroom). You packed their lunch and their bag and worried over their heart and felt their fears as strongly as they did. 

You woke up early, woke them up early, and maybe helped them get on the bus and watched them drive away with a heavy feeling. Maybe you loaded them in the car and drove them to the door, walking them into their classroom and handing them off to their teachers.

Maybe you fought back tears. Maybe you felt a little guilty because you didn’t feel sad; you fought for 3 months with them in your space every minute of every day and now your turn to focus on yourself for a minute has arrived again. 

These are things that every momma feels. 

But it’s so much more magnified when you have a kid who is different. 

For the mom whose kids are non-verbal or physically different, I see you dropping those babies off because you all desperately need the services and interventions the school provides. I know private pay for therapy isn’t an option and it’s hard to let them go because you are their voice, their helper, and their advocate. You worry about who will stand up for them, listen to them, understand them. You wonder how to get through the day without them, and you are exhausted at the end of the day when you are together. 

For the mom with kids who struggle with anxiety and fear, or sensory issues or autism, I see you. I know drop off was hard, and pick up will be even harder – when you have to bear the full weight of whatever sensory triggers or fears your child encountered that day. It’s hard to listen to the meltdowns and the aggressive mood swings, and it’s even harder when you don’t even know what they saw or did that day that might be setting them off. 

For the mom with kids who have food allergies, I see you. Praying that the teachers would have a watchful eye, that your kid would find a friend at lunch so they aren’t the only one sitting at the allergy table, but equally afraid of them sitting near ten other lunchboxes with unknown food hazards lurking inside. I see you packing epi pens and sitting down for 504 plan meetings just to have no one follow your recommendations. I see you worrying, spending your days trying to think of ways to help your child tolerate new foods and teaching them as early as possible to advocate for themselves. 

For the mom of the high schooler that eats lunch alone, I see you. They don’t always talk to you and the world is an impossible place for them right now. I know you are scared because you’ve seen the violence and the depression that’s turned into an epidemic and taken over our country. You want them to avoid your mistakes and listen to your voice of reason but most of all you just want them to come home every night.

For the mom of the kid who talks too loud or can’t sit still or who burps on others or chews on e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g… I see you. 

It’s a hard thing to have a piece of your heart out walking around in a world that is cruel and doesn’t understand someone who is different. Keep seeing their value. Keep listening when they want to talk. Keep advocating. Keep packing lunches and sitting up at night praying and keep digging in. There is tremendous beauty in having a love that is fought for day after day, even when it’s hard.