Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Those back-to-school blues and woo hoos

I see the photos everywhere on Facebook, kids holding up those "First day of ___ grade!" signs. I marvel at how big my friends' kids are getting. And I get the occasional twinge about Max and the different life he leads than other kids. "What grade is he in?" people often ask, and I explain that Max's school doesn't go by grades.

OK, not that I can get it together enough this time of year to have either of my kids holding up a back-to-school sign, although I always do capture them standing on our front porch. But when I see those photos, they are a reminder of the different life Max leads. He'll be returning to a school for kids with special needs where he will learn, along with reading and math, how to use both hands and basic life skills such as making conversation.

I am very aware of these twinges—they're unsettling. Because otherwise, I could not feel more content with who Max is.

I had a bad case of comparison-itis when Max was little. Facebook wasn't around back then, but there were all those kiddie birthday parties to attend and parks to visit. It was a time when Max's development was a big unknown, and my anxiety was great about what the future held for him—a bad combination for my mental well being. I continuously looked to other kids to make sure Max wasn't lagging too far behind. It took a long time for me to accept that he was on his own timeline, and all that matters was that he continued to make progress.

These days, I hardly ever compare Max to his peers, in person or otherwise. My friends' social media or emailed photos of their kids don't usually make me consider the differences between them and Max—I'm happy to see them. Yet these back-to-school photos of kids holding up those signs, for whatever reason, give me pause.

Mostly, I am revved for the new school year. Max, he can't wait to return to school, so much so that Sabrina says things to him such as, "Max, don't you like summer vacation?" I have great enthusiasm and hopes; Max is more excited than ever about learning and more focused, too. His comprehension has grown. Who knows what amazing stuff he will accomplish. Also, I love clothes shopping for him for winter. Sabrina picks out her own stuff, but Max could care less and so I get to choose the cozy knits, striped rugby shirts and khakis he will look so handsome in.

Some comparing, it seems, is inevitable. When I put on my thinking cap, as my third grade teacher used to tell us to do, I realize that these twinges I feel when I see those photos on Facebook aren't any reflection of my pride for Max. They are passing blips, and nothing more.

Image source: Etsy/Storybook Soiree


  1. Someone is on your side.
    No one is alone.

  2. And I can only imagine these pangs have increased as other kids Max's age are heading into middle school.. And he isn't. Does Max like school?

    1. He doesn't just like school, he LOVES it. Truly. It's an amazing thing.

  3. OH yes-for me (I have a second grader in a small group class this year-which is a big yay!) I for the most part don't think about how he compares to other kids but sometimes when I see him next to a peer or see a family with a child his age who can run around with a buddy around the neighborhood mostly unmonitored I feel a little sad that same independence can't be there for him-for the time being-but like you-its a smidge in a month and there is so much to be proud of when we see our kids learn and grow

  4. I totally understand what you are saying - I feel that twinge too.

  5. This spoke to my heart! I have all these same thoughts and feelings about those signs. My little guy is 11 months and I shamefully admit, I still find myself comparing, and at times having a pity party.
    Thanks for sharing.


Thanks for sharing!

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