Thursday, August 15, 2013

Transition out of "sweet-seeking"

My 6-year-old son started first grade yesterday, and it did not go as easily as I expected.  I guess I thought that since Kindergarden went really well-- he had lots of friends, and did well academically,  that he wouldn't have a problem.  Yep.  I was wrong...

It all started the night before the first day.  He didn't want to sleep in his own bed and with my 3-year old coming into my room in the middle of the night, it resulted in all three of us squished on my side of a queen-sized bed-- all of us awake at 2:00am and 4:00am.  Needless to say, no one was getting any sleep-- not ideal for the first day of school.  Finally at 4:40am, after we put them both back in their own beds, choking back the tears he told me that he was scared about starting first grade.  Wow, I thought.  Of course.  Now this all makes sense.

Then I remembered that even I was feeling a little anxious that night.  After the kids were asleep and I was watching TV, I felt the urge to want to eat a desserty-type item. Fortunately for me, I could open and close my kitchen cabinet doors all I wanted and I wasn't going to find anything to satisfy that craving.  I am supremely grateful that "grace" was with me that evening and I chose to sit with these uncomfortable feelings instead of drowning them out with a "sweet taste in the mouth."  [This phrase taken from Ben Kingsley in the film "The House of Sand and Fog."]

Going back to school marks a time of transition, not just for my son but for me as well.  This is when I have to remember to be good to myself.  While my son may need some extra love and attention right now, I do too. I still struggle with what exactly this means for me.  Other than getting a mani-pedi or having coffee with a friend, it's difficult for me to figure out what things I can do that feel restored or nurtured.

So, as I watch my son grow up and transition into a brand new phase, I find myself growing up too.  When I'm feeling unsteady, instead of reaching for whatever food might make me feel good at that moment, I pause.  It's just long enough to arrest the compulsion, collect my thoughts and write a blog post.

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