This is a guest post written by my younger sister, Tiffany, who has a diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder, bipolar type. Once a month, Tiffany documents a single day in her life. The purpose of these posts is to raise awareness of what it’s like to live with mental illness. I’m also hoping the posts will help readers recognize that we all have hopes, dreams, challenges and mountains to climb regardless of our mental health status. If you’d like to read the posts I’ve written about Tiffany’s journey and all the guest posts she’s shared on this blog, check out the mental health page. Without further ado, here’s Tiffany.
My daughter, Raegan, started kindergarten yesterday. The process of changing routines was a bag of mixed emotions for both of us. I turned my daughter over to very educated, caring and knowledgeable individuals.
Prior to placing the kids in kindergarten classes, testing was done on each child. The kids were placed in rooms evenly, based on their current abilities. While Raegan was being tested, I sat with other parents and filled out paperwork. I had a difficult time concentrating on what needed to be filled out. I noticed my mind drifting at times. Questions needed to be answered, such as “What calms your child?” I was overthinking, including focusing on my grip. I wondered if I seemed out of place. During this process, I was also going through medication changes, so my self doubt was high. I have since started a new medication for ADHD, and am feeling calm.
During the testing, I was attempting to figure out how Raegan was going to get to and from school. I have decided that most days I will be delivering her and picking her up. One of the teachers in the room said to me, “This is Kindergarten, no worries. Everything works out.”
The day arrived when we would meet Raegan’s teacher and classmates. Raegan picked out a pink, black and white dress to wear with one of her favorite sweaters. My mom suggested that she wear her new black boots with the outfit. I did not want to tell my mom that I hadn’t seen the boots around for days. I searched and searched for the black boots and could not find them, so I put some tennis shoes on her and they worked. But my mind was focused on the black boots. They were eventually found at the neighbor’s place.
We left for the night with plenty of time to spare. We arrived at the meet the teacher event, and Raegan went running in front of me. I could sense her excitement and confidence. We arrived too early, so we decided to play outside. A former classmate of mine and his son were playing in the same area. Raegan begged me to play with her. I told her no. She needed to know that I am not always going to be able to walk beside her, holding her hand. Raegan soon yelled, “Hello, I need someone to play with.” The boy on the playground came right over. I was happy she had the confidence to speak her mind. Raegan will fit in just fine.
We proceeded inside and looked at the class lists. We also participated in a scavenger hunt, getting to know the school. We met some of the other kids in her classroom. The little boy she was playing with outside happened to be in her class and sits next to her as well.
There was a letter to open the night before the first day of kindergarten. I decided to let Raegan open the letter on Sunday morning while my brother was in town for the weekend. Inside, there was a letter from the teacher and sprinkles to put under her pillow for a good night’s rest. Raegan placed a few sprinkles under her pillow. Still to be determined what will happen with the rest of the sprinkles.
All preparations for the first day of school.
The first day of school arrived. I set my alarm early so I could get ready before the kids woke up. When I woke Raegan up, she started screaming. She wanted to sleep longer. I’m hoping that school wears her out. We had a wrestling match getting her clothes on for the day.
Then we stopped over to my parents’ place to relax and take some pictures. I left my son, Xander, with my parents and Raegan and I were off to school.
I did not really feel sad, because as I stated earlier, Raegan is being well taken care of. I feel she is ready for this new venture?! We sat with a couple neighbor girls and their moms for breakfast at school. I brought Raegan to her room and said, “See you later.” She was more concentrated on school than saying anything to me.
All the preparations for this big day, my firstborn’s first day of kindergarten, were worth it. Overall, I felt completely comfortable with the day. Raegan seemed to adjust to her new life, and got to be a line leader for having good listening skills. I’m learning the ropes of having a child in school, but still need to conquer the listening skills at home. I anticipate a wonderful year for Raegan. Thanks for reading!