The Good Old Days

Posted by Stephanie Lawless on 2/19/2021 7:00:00 AM

A few nights ago we were talking at dinner. I asked my 8 year old if he ever saw his friend from last year now that they are not in the same classroom. He said he didn’t. He turned to his younger brother and said, “you see in the old days we were able to play with kids from other classes and we could play on any area of the playground we wanted.”  You know, in the old days. My younger son’s mouth dropped in shock and awe, to imagine getting to play with anyone, on any area of the playground seemed too good to be true. My 5 year old is in kindergarten this year. We struggled a lot with having him start kindergarten, knowing it would be different. He wanted to go to the same school as his brother so bad, and after quite a bit of sleepless nights we decided to let him try. It was not easy. Adjusting to kindergarten was not a smooth transition and he still struggles some days. Throughout all of this I have wondered how much our current situation has influenced his start to his education. I constantly wonder if we made the right choice. How this will impact him. Would next year have been better? My 8 year old is in 2nd grade now. He has context for school before COVID. He can remember the “good old days” before mask breaks and banned drinking fountains. My 5 year old does not. I feel like I am starting to forget what it was like. I try to put it in context, it has not been that long compared to the span of my life.  Less than a year. Although it feels like so much longer.  

When I imagine anxiety I picture a storm blowing in. It could be a beautiful blue day, and you start to see signs that a storm is coming, the wind might pick up, clouds start to form and next thing you know you are in a full blown storm, rain, lighting, wind.  It just hits so hard and fast it is overwhelming. When it happens you have to seek shelter. For me my shelter is the people I can talk to, my husband, my family, my friends. They help me process my feelings of anxiety. Sometimes they help me find solutions, other times they validate my feelings. They don’t judge me, they reassure me and remind me that I have felt these feelings before and gotten through it.  I think about my 5 year old who is experiencing anxiety too, who does not have close to 40 years of experience managing emotions to equip him to process what is happening. We do mindfulness activities, grateful moments, talk about our feelings, work out problems, consider the size of the problem, perspectives of others… I pull out every tool I have from my collective time in education but still I wonder if it is enough. I watch for the small signs that a storm is coming and try to teach him to understand his anxiety. Instead of fighting it we work with it. My hope is that he will come out of this year stronger and prepared to deal with the many obstacles that will continue to face him as he progresses through school and life. Every bout of anxiety is an opportunity to practice resiliency. 


Stephanie Lawless, Assistant Director