The closer I get to setting a 5:45 alarm and everything that goes along with sending kids to school again, the more short of breath I seem to become. I dread jumping back into the fray. The last two weeks have been lovely. In preparation for the fray, I was reading an article about how to deescalate and defuse situations when the routine and the busyness cause moments of stress and chaos. I was nodding inside my own head. How badly I need the reminder. I’m many things. But a deescalator is not something I’ve ever been labeled. I’m more of a…reactor. Some might say an OVERREACTOR. An ignitor. A catastrophizer. Whatever.
I almost can’t help myself. I’m way outnumbered. I’m old. I’m Type A. And I’m scared of chaos. Also I’m outnumbered. Did I already mention that? So the moment something begins, whether it’s a spat between children, an I-can’t-find-my-belt, an alarm that didn’t go off, a lunch that was forgotten, or wrong-side-of-the-bed tone of voice, I go into Smackdown Mode. I’m gonna squelch it. Fix it. Kill it. Stop it. Conquer it.
But I don’t. Because I stink at that. Mostly I just pump air at the flames and then shed silent tears as I watch those flames destroy everything I love.
The problem is, sometimes a thing can’t be fixed. Sometimes it doesn’t need to be. That’s what I struggle to remember. Maybe it’s an allergy attack that has to be lived with because there’s a big test 2nd period. That allergy attack can’t be fixed quickly. And neither can the emotions that often go along with it. But what would happen if I took a deep breath, let the kid spew a little venom about the gene pool he inherited and then tell him I love him, I’m going to pray for him all day, and it’s going to be ok. I wonder how it might go then. If only there were a way to find out.
Peace. Deescalation. Empathy. Stability. Huh.
I wanted to compile some information from other sources and write a how not to stress about stress kind of blog post. No one needs that more than I do. But I can’t put my heart into it because there are much bigger weights in the world than anything I’ve ever had to face. Things unfolding right now that just make back to school seem silly.
I had a mouth full of Qdoba at lunch today when I saw a friend’s facebook post that her niece had died following a lifelong battle with Loeys-Dietz syndrome. The worst part of that is that lifelong was only 9 years. Scout McCauley died last night following an aortic dissection that her body just couldn’t recover from. She was 9. And amazing. And beautiful. And poetic. And valiant. And very, very brave. Her family is also all of those things. They have faced grave circumstances for 9 years. But they faced them with Scout and because of Scout. Now they are walking an unimaginable road, without Scout. How do you do that? How does anyone do that? I really can’t wrap my head or heart around that one. Another friend posted a tribute to Scout with the following quote:
“I wanted you to see what real courage is… It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.” Atticus Finch, To Kill a Mockingbird
So I can’t really make myself think about school uniforms and alarms tonight. Tonight I’m thinking about Scout. And I’m praying for Scout’s family. And I’m thinking about the definition of true courage. I’m in awe of people who possess it.
Tuesday is the day my kids go back to school. Much of the nation goes back tomorrow. If that’s your circumstance and if things blow up around you, take a deep breath, fix what you can, hug what you can’t, and even if you are licked before you begin, begin anyway and see it through no matter what.
Rest in Jesus, Scout. Thanks for showing us the way home.
If you’d like to donate to the McCauley family, you can do so here.