Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Worst First Day of School Ever: Part II (& Bullying)

I know, I know, you have all been refreshing your screen, checking your phones, and stalking my blog to find out how it all went down after The Worst First Day of School Ever.  So, as not to disappoint my fans, here is the follow up:

Riley came home from school happy.  She returned the next day, happy.  She got off the bus- still happy!  Apparently the event that scarred me (and all of my readers) was much less horrific to her.  That isn't to say we didn't have another little incident (which I alluded to in my last post), but it was minor in comparison...

Anti- climatic, right?

"I added this to my blog roll, forsook food and sleep and social interaction, and sat next to my computer for a week waiting for that?!" that is what you are all thinking right now.  Sorry.

But wait...  I did learn something.

Besides the fact that I am a teeny tiny bit overdramatic (which we already knew)  I apparently have some other issues...

The thing that I realized (while rewriting 3 drafts of hate-mail to her teacher, after the very minor incident on Friday, threatening to take Riley out of her class, remove her from the school, and begin home schooling-- *now we are all laughing at the idea of Katie homeschooling* ha ha ha) is that all of this might be coming from somewhere deeper.

I was bullied when I was in middle school.
(Holy Crap, did I really just admit that to the entire universe and the 8 people who read this blog?!)

(I just realized that this may not be earth shattering to anyone else, you may be yawning right now, but that was a big deal for me to write.)

I recovered (from being bullied and then reliving it on my blog) and actually had a really fun and successful High School career.  In fact, I thought it didn't really affect me.  (But did you notice how I just skipped over any details of the bullying to talk about how I recovered and pretend like it never happened?)   I thought that because I was able to make really close friends and have fun and become the Junior Class Vice President (Do you like that Title Dropping?  I sound cool, right? You could also call me the Class Clown- sorta.  And you could read this post about me being the Class Clown.) and other cool things, that the bullying really hadn't followed me.  But watching Riley's first week of school, I am realizing that I might have been wrong.

When Riley was crying on Friday (mainly because she was exhausted and her teacher wasn't there, and the para-educators stared at us like we were aliens with 6  green heads instead of helping her calm down) I knew I needed to walk away.  I knew she needed to be in school.  I knew she would calm down and enjoy the rest of her day.  I knew it would all be fine...

But all I could think about was how I abandoned her.  I cried (a lot, like, hysterical, writing mean emails to the teacher crazy lady crying) and felt like the world's worst mom.  When I could finally verbalize my feelings to JT he pointed out that I was not being a bad mom at all.  But all I could think about was how I left her there.  I am suppose to be her advocate.  I am her defender.  I am the one who will keep her safe and protected.  And I think a lot of the guilt stems from being bullied.

I hated going to school.  Like, hated - faked sick - skipped school - got horrible grades - scared to walk home - hated Middle School.  And seeing Riley cry made me want to grab her and run away.  It also made me want to attack the school and the teachers and Principal for allowing my daughter to be so sad.  (Again, I realize how normal this all is for Kindergarteners and that Riley is not being bullied.)  I am terrified of her hating school the way I did.  I am scared of her going from a kid with good grades and confidence to someone who fails classes and doesn't make eye contact.  I am worried that no one will look out for her.  And I am especially afraid that that will be me.

Thanks, whoever posted this on my facebook years ago.  I know you all needed a visual of the Middle School Katie. (Bottom Right)

The thing is-  I am fine now.  (Right? Maybe not. Obviously not if I am freaking out at Kindergarten.  I think I need therapy.  Josh, you could make a lot of money off of all the therapy I probably need. You owe me anyways for making you so famous by linking to you on my very popular blog.)  I thought that surviving hard things made me stronger.  I thought it allowed me to look at my children and believe that they, too, could overcome hard things.  But I guess I just don't want their challenges in life to be the same challenges I had.  I don't want them to make my same mistakes, have my same heartbreaks, fail the same classes.  (Although if they do, I can tell them how to hide a Report Card so that I will never find out.)   I guess every parent wants to protect their children from heartache.  And we probably focus on whatever heartaches we experienced and try to avoid those ones.  Chances are, she will have her own set of struggles (that hopefully don't involve being scared to go to school) and my job will be to be there for her in those struggles.

I think the Worst First Day of School Ever may not have been as traumatic for Riley as it was for me.  And I can only hope that it was the worst day she will ever have at school.  (However unlikely that is.)

What I do know, is that I had a wonderful talk with both the Teacher and the Principal at her school. (After I got really upset, and maybe cried a little.)  I really loved them and felt assured that my daughter will be loved and looked after at school.  And hopefully Riley knows that her mom was there for her and will be no matter what she faces.

I also know that if anyone ever considers bullying my daughter- I will kick their butt so bad they will be hiding themselves in the dumpster.  (Ok, I never actually had to do that, but it makes a way better story if you think that I did.  There goes my talent for exaggeration:)

P.S. Does that last paragraph sound like I might have some pent up anger issues?  Again, thank goodness we know a good therapist.

P.S.S. So that you don't feel too bad for me, here is a picture from my High School Reunion a few years ago.  I think we all turned out OK.

Thanks again, whoever tagged me in this picture on facebook, I am obviously lame at taking/saving pics like this.


  1. I'm glad you could trace it back and examine past issues. I do that all the time! When Anya refused to dance in her ballet recital I hyperventilated on the way home. Like, I had to pull over because I was crying so hard- like someone died. I spent many days figuring out why it upset me so much. Anyway, self-evaluation is good and I'm so glad Riley is liking school! Also, I think all your feelings through the whole thing were valid and understandable, you weren't over-reacting from what I saw.

    1. Mel- now we all need to know what you discovered about yourself that made you hyperventilate on the way? (which is better than getting upset and making your daughter cry-- like I accidentally did at Riley's ballet recital)

    2. I couldn't find a good reason (I know I made it sound like I did in my comment). I'm still wondering and have been meaning to pick Josh's brain about it since it happened for a professional's opinion.

  2. I love it! I SO relate to the self-analyzing and re-examining my past. And I have a lot of the same fears as you, having my kids go through the same awful things I've gone through or struggling with the same issues, especially when I see ways they're similar to me. But overall, you're such a good mom and I'm sure over the years she'll realize and appreciate how much you're there for her!

  3. You know what they say. 'What doesn't kill you... makes you want to die.'