Part 1: Meet the Teachers

A year ago this week, we were preparing for Beatrice to start school for the first time. A big rite of passage, we bought books for her to read, included her in school supply shopping, and she had a new blue backpack with her name on it. You know the drill. It was also my first time to be a mom with a school-aged kid. I sincerely hoped Bea would have a smooth start, and that she would enjoy school.

The day before “Meet the Teachers,” David had emergency surgery for a detached retina. It was one in a too long series of medical traumas we endured in 2015, a year that spared no one in our little family. The suddenness of David’s surgery visibly rattled Bea. She treats change like an intruder. Surprises of this nature are not welcome for her. Let's be real though, no one gets super jazzed to wake up and find their retina has taken to peeling off like old wallpaper. We were all in shock. Again. It had become a familiar state.

When “Meet the Teachers” morning arrived, Bea and I excitedly headed to her school. (David had to be face down for 24 hours, therefore couldn’t come.) She’s naturally cautious at first, always has been. But that morning she jumped right in, busied herself playing and checking out all the fun things in her classroom. I felt more nervous than she looked. Meeting new moms and trying to figure out where I fit in the school mom world was a minefield of social anxieties. My inner twelve year old was certain all the other moms knew each other, and that I was the odd mom out. Mostly, this is residual from 7th grade. Surely, all that therapy should take effect anytime now. I digress. But for Bea, the half hour introduction to school and her teachers seemed to go off without a hitch. I breathed a sigh of relief.

That night, Bea stopped sleeping. When I say stopped sleeping, I mean just that. She. Stopped. Sleeping. Entirely. No naps anymore either. To say we were caught off guard is putting it lightly. We didn’t know what had hit us. We wouldn’t know for months.