I am sitting at a cafe with a cup of coffee and my ten-year old son asleep across the booth. All around me the clatter of noise bounces but we are safe from the chaos thanks to the tall seats of our refuge. My son is snoring softly and that is the only sound I care about at the moment, not the squeaky string music piped through the store, not the loud whisper of voices from other tables, and not the hiss of steaming milk.
My son should be at school right now but neither of us really slept last night. We were too busy doing battle with the anxiety demon. I am reminded a scene from the movie done about Bruce Lee’s life. In the film, there is this haunting snippet that is sort of like a dream sequence. He has to face the demon that is his family curse dressed in armor. My family demon is anxiety. It is more ninja like than armored warrior. Even when it is expected it can still surprise us.
Today I have a meeting with the principal of my son’s elementary school. I may be leaving with my pockets a bit more empty than they already are, because they may decide to slap me with a fine. Too often he has been late to school and that apparently violates some state law.
Perhaps keeping him out on the day I have this meeting seems like a bad idea, but we were losing our minds this morning thanks to stress and no sleep. So after the second time someone burst into tears I decided enough was enough. I dropped my daughter off at school, stopped by the pharmacy for some tissues, and then sought out breakfast. My son worked on some homework and I organized my notes for the upcoming meeting.
There is a reason why my son is late often enough to require a meeting and a fine, some days he gets so upset at the thought of school, all the people, and facing a teacher who keeps trying to change his very nature that he throws up all over himself. Usually this will happen right before we leave or even in the car. That throws our schedule off because it takes time to change clothes and clean up. Also there are days that he dreads going so much that he drags his feet as much as possible. I have had to carry him to the car before. So getting him to school, even late, feels like a victory those days. (He has been late 8 times this school year.)
After looking over his records I have discovered he is most often late on Thursdays. Thursdays are Rally days at his after school program. All of the kids are crammed into one room and it is really loud. I think him dreading that crowd of chaos at the end of the day is the reason he is often late at the beginning.
Now that we have each had a warm drink, our anxiety demons are at least soothed and napping. We can step forward and face the day pretending to be people unaffected by invisible monsters. At least until the next attack.