Parent Visitation Day Follow Up

It was a good day.  I truly enjoyed being at the school today with my kids. SO much better than in past years.  I did take ativan in preparation for the day.  That’s a precaution I still rely on I guess.

Kid2’s class put on a play for the parents.  It was very cute.  I felt relaxed sitting at the small desks.  Proud of my daughter being the carnival ticket selling alien in the play.  I was able to sit calmly and just watch and enjoy.   Then the second group performed for us.  I recorded both plays on our flip recorder.  I enjoyed talking and catching up with another mom that I haven’t seen in a while when the play had some “technical difficulties”.  (In a 5th grade play – technical difficulties means the bowl of cheerios which was their version of  fruit salad for the play, spilled all over the floor.  The teacher stopped the production when the kids started walking through them and crunching them into the carpet :)   Then my daughter and I got to be partners and read her (very long) story from her reading book together.  Then she started her worksheets and it was time for me to go to kid3’s classroom.  Otherwise I would have stayed longer.  I cannot explain well enough how awesome it was to be able to just sit there and be calm and relaxed.  It’s one of those things that you cannot explain.  Only people who have suffered from panic attacks would understand what a huge and wonderful accomplishment this was!

Last year when I visited her they were doing grammar together as a class for a while I remember and I just could not even sit there.  I was so uncomfortable.  I tried to distract myself by digging thru my purse looking for who knows what, just pretending I was looking for something.  I found a cough drop and popped in in my mouth acting like I had a sore throat.  I remember looking at the floor.  I remember my face being on fire and my heart racing and feeling dizzy.  I remember wondering if I should exit immediately so I didn’t pass out – or if I could hold on just a little longer for her sake. I tried to remember the bible verse I had last read about anxiety.  I remember I almost excused myself by saying I didn’t feel well so I could leave.  Just as I was ready to do that they changed subjects and the kids worked at their desks on a newspaper article type project – the parents were to pull up their chairs and help.  I did and the change helped a lot and I hung out a while. I remember repeating to myself over and over – “This is not about me.  This is about her.  Look at her face.  Look at her beautiful face.  You can do this. “

Today is kid3’s class they were in groups playing board games when I arrived.  The teacher used this time to call them up individually to read to her.  It was hot and chaotic in there.  But it was still fine.  I sat with my son’s group as they tried to play the game Sorry Sliders.  Apparently this is the newer version of Sorry.  I say tried because they did not agree at all about how the sliding part worked.  And you know how you go around the circle taking turns when you play a game.  That is not how they did it.  ha.  No, they called out “I’m first”, “I’m next” and so on.  There were 4 of them and no one ever knew whose turn it was nor cared.  They went when they felt like it.  If you missed your turn, that was your own fault.  It was quite amusing to watch.  After this, they returned to their desk and worked on ordinal numbers as a group.  I stayed longer than I had planned to just because I was having so much fun.  Again I was relaxed and just taking it all in.  I would have stayed longer but it was time for recess and lunch and they ask parent to leave during those activities.

Last year, I visited my son’s classroom after I had already visited my daughter.  It had not gone so well so in between I went to my car and prayed and did some deep breathing.  I braced myself and went back in the school.  I could not go home.  Fair is fair, right?  And kids keep track.  No way was I going home after only visiting one child.  His teacher was different than most.  Most teachers tell you to pull a chair up and sit next to your child.  This teacher had chairs lined up along the back of the classroom and she wanted us to stay there.  It seemed much more formal.  I didn’t like it.  I remember fidgeting in that cold metal folding chair a lot.  I was feeling hot again.  And waves of dizzy kept passing through.  I picked up my purse again.  Distraction helps me a lot.  That is a technique people use to get  through  panic attacks – or to prevent one I guess.  I got out my little notebook and started writing.  I wrote a grocery list, I wrote a prayer.  I wrote the words to my favorite song.  I wrote my son a note that I planned to slip into his desk when I left since I wasn’t able to sit with him or talk with him that day.  I was sitting between 2 other parents and I’m sure they were wondering what on earth I was writing and why I wasn’t watching the class more.  I did keep an eye on my son and tried to smile big every time he looked my way. I did not stay long in that class.  I still feel bad about not staying longer that day.  That was hard.  It was so hard.

This year kid1 is in high school and you don’t get to go visit.  I threatened her a few times that I would be stopping in.  She was horrified and then matter-of-factly told me that all guests had to sign in at the office and that the principal would not allow me to follow her around.  Ha.

Last year when I visited her at the elementary school, she was in the computer lab.  I visited her last and felt exhausted by then.  It was cool in there – cold actually.  Perfect!  It was also dark in there because the were watching a video on a big screen and answering questions about the story on the computers.  So this visit was not bad at all.  I remember being so relieved and taking deep breaths of that cold air.  When I left that day, I got in my car and cried the whole way home.  I cried because I was relieved it was over – I had made it through another year of parent visitation day.  And I cried because I was mad that I even had to deal with panic attacks.  I knew what was happening to me made no sense.  I am a logical person and I wanted it to make sense.  If there is a reason that something happens, there is a way to fix it.  But I had no fix.  And I cried because this was supposed to be a happy day.  Other parents look forward to this day, I had dreaded it for weeks.

So this year was a great success!  It was wonderful.  I thank the Lord for it.

For the record, I did take ativan before going last year also.  I still had a horrible time dealing with it.  I was a mess!   Like I said, I have made great progress in fighting back and am proud of myself!  I’ve come a long way baby!

From my little notebook.

“Thank you Lord,

I just want to Thank you Lord,

Thank you Lord,

For a beautiful day”

I love that song!  And then I rewrite it again and again, putting in different items that I am thankful for.  Last year at the end-of-the-year awards assembly,  I was most thankful for the gigantic fan in the corner of the room.  lol 

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This blog is my personal journal. I am trying hard to save my marriage. No, I am trying to build a great marriage. In case you haven't heard, marriage is HARD!
I am fighting back against anxiety & panic attacks. This is year 5 of this adventure. I am also codependent. I am an ACOA. Fun, Fun. I am trying hard to become a better me.
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