Tuesday, August 31, 2010

School Days

Today is a bittersweet day for me.  Craig started back to school yesterday, and Jamie went back today...and the house was sooo quiet!  The photo is from the first day of school when Craig started kindergarten and Jamie started 4th grade...now they've just started 7th and 11th grades!!  Where have the years gone?

I thoroughly enjoyed the quiet solitude today.  I've been a bit crashed the past two days, and it's a huge relief to be able to just take care of myself during the day.  I've also barely done any writing work at all this summer - my energy has been used up with all the daily running around.  The thing is, it's rarely just my two kids here during the summer; there is usually a crowd of boys here - needing rides, making noise, and always hungry!!  So, back to school week is like a fresh start for me - I've been e-mailing editors, sorting through old mail I should have answered months ago, and even (can it be true?) beginning to finally clear off my seriously cluttered desk.  Plus, I can lie on the couch anytime I need to!

The other side of the start of the school year, however, is stress and hectic schedules and worry.  Craig is pretty easy.  His CFS is well-controlled by medication so that he is symptom-free most of the time, with only an occasional crash.  He usually misses only 12-15 days of school a year (last year was a big one for him, with 19 days' absent).

Jamie is another story.  Even on a good year, he struggles every day with having enough energy to manage school and homework.  He rarely has extra energy for fun and friends when he's in school.  He often comes home at 3 pm completely wiped out, he lies on the couch to watch TV, and struggles to get his homework finished after dinner, knowing he needs to get to bed before 8:30 pm so he can manage to get up in time for school the next morning.  Some days, he feels OK and is able to enjoy some time with friends.  Some days, he's so badly crashed that he can't go to school at all.  He loves school - the classes and the social scene.

In addition, Ken and I both miss the relaxed evenings of summer.  During the school year, there's homework, soccer practice, and early bedtimes to worry about, plus the pressure to get dinner ready early.  No more movies in the evening!

This year is likely to be quite a bit worse than the previous few for Jamie.  He started his treatments for Lyme disease and two co-infections n July, and he's feeling the effects (Lyme treatment usually makes the patient feel worse at first).  His energy and stamina have been very low lately.  During the summer, he can just self-regulate, going all out with his friends one day, then lying on the couch and resting the next.  We're very worried about how he's going to handle school this year...and that's a whole new area of worry.  We have to meet with Jamie's guidance counselor and teachers to educate them about CFS and revise his 504 plan.  And meet with a team at Craig's school to consider (again) whether he meets the criteria necessary to get a 504 plan.  Tonight, there's a mandatory parent's meeting at the high school.  Oh, and did I mention having to get up at 7 am every day?

So, I love the start of school and I hate the start of school.


Toni said...

Sounds like a "happy/sad" day for you, Sue. I love the picture you posted of your boys when they were younger. Beautiful memories.

Anonymous said...

Wow...I have so many of those "first day of school" pictures. Hard to see them grow up isn't it? My two boys are 22 and 24. I still hate it when my youngest goes back to school.

Dusty Bogwrangler said...

The new term can be a mixed blessing! I remember the gear shift from lazy holidays back to the routine. Ergh, 7am! I think you do an astoundingly good job!

Sue Jackson said...

Thanks, everyone - I love this old photo, too! Seems like just yesterday I was pinning the school bus tag to Craig's shirt for the first day of school!

Jo, thanks for the kind words - I need that today! Feeling rather inadequate this week, with crash symptoms every day and the 5-page to-do list not getting any shorter!


Anonymous said...

That is a lot of responsibility, even with great kids!

In my school, even among healthy students, it was common to take an extra year after grade 12 to finish up courses, take more or do grade 12 in two years due to working, health leaves of absence, pregnancy, etc. I don't know if that's what a 504 plan is or if that's an option, but it may give Jamie some breathing room to consider taking extra time to finish high school. the Lyme treatments sound hard.

Good luck to all! My best friend who also has moderate CFS is newly pregnant... so I get worried about how it will be for her with a child.


Sherry said...

Find a way to keep taking care of you, too. I know it's hard. Cheering for you all!