A new school year is a new beginning. In our house, there’s a combination of excitement and anxiety right about now. We’re coming off the high of a breakthrough summer for both Maddie and Max who spent 7 weeks at sleepaway camp. When they were each diagnosed with Tourette at the age of 5, I wouldn’t have believed this day would come. They both grew beautifully and had a great experience despite some typical homesickness and social challenges. Medications were managed seamlessly and to both the kids felt “normal” as their bunkmates were frequenting the infirmary for their own meds. So many kids take something on a regular basis which certainly helps to normalize the experience for kids like mine.
As a self-awareness junky and coach, I spent time while the kids were away reflecting on the experience of them being at camp. What I noticed was a mix of anxiety*, excitement that we could all handle the separation and the awareness that part of the reason the kids were able to go away was simply that husband and I believed they could. We had confidence that they would be okay. Who we are in our parenting (supportive, doubting, trusting, nervous…all of it) is absorbed by our children. When our child has special needs, the natural worries of raising a child become amplified. I get that on a cellular level given my own experience. What I didn’t know until I began the journey into my own inner work, is that even a parent of a child with differences gets to choose. We get a say in how we relate to them, how we relate to ourselves as their parent and how we relate to their unique journey. I choose to relate to my children as whole and perfect just the way they are. I choose to stand for them to push past discomfort and overcome obstacles with pride. I choose to notice when my own fears about who they are and who they are not are creeping into the space so that I don’t map those fears onto them. I choose to honor and embrace their differences. I choose to learn from them and to love them fully. And I choose forgiveness for myself and for them in the moments when I forget all of this.
As the new school year brings with it jitters, excitement and maybe even new tics, I invite you to become present to a new beginning, wiping the slate clean from last school year and the summer. Get intentional about who you will be as a parent; acceptance, love, strength, resilience, light, stability, belief… Boldly choose and then post reminders in places around your home where you look often: the bathroom mirror, the back of your front door, in your bedroom. Practice self-forgiveness when you forget your choice (because inevitability you will) and then get back on track.
I’ve heard from so many TS parents who have read my posts and found comfort in knowing they are not alone. I am grateful for the opportunity to support others on a similar journey. As always, I am happy to chat, to provide some mentoring or to simply listen. As a Mom who gets it, sometimes just knowing that you’re not alone is enough to get through a rough patch.
Emily Golden, ACC – Coach & HR Consultant
Golden Resources, LLC
*Yeh…anxiety is a part of me. What if they aren’t happy? What if their tics flare and they are made fun of? What if they don’t get enough sleep and they become overly emotionally as a results? What if… What if… What if….