We never know when anxiety will strike. It’s just part of the drill in our household. Sure, we know many of Ryan’s triggers and we do our best to avoid or work around them. It’s the reason we took separate cars to Riley’s school choir concert last night — to avoid any unnecessary waiting for Ryan.
Other triggers are much more unpredictable, and when they strike, it’s all we can do to manage the fallout and hope it will fade quickly.
Veronica received an email from Ryan’s school yesterday. There was an incident with the school bus.
Yes, the bus. The one aspect of Ryan’s transition to middle school that has caused more trouble than just about anything. There were problems with the route at the beginning of the year. The bus was late. It didn’t show up one day. Persistence paid off, and things settled down after a few weeks and have largely remained that way.
Ryan overhead a parent complaining to the bus driver that she was driving too fast. He immediately jumped to the conclusion that she would be fired.
Not only would she be fired, but she would be replaced by his original driver — the one who yelled at the kids and didn’t show up one day.
His anxiety was such by the time he arrived at school that one of his teachers felt compelled to reach out. Her note was detailed and heartfelt, and we were grateful for her observations. Her efforts probably played a role in minimizing the fallout.
Veronica was pleasantly surprised to find Ryan NOT perseverating on the incident when he arrived home. He appeared to have put it behind him, convinced there would be no driver change.
It is difficult for any parent to leave their child to the care of the school system. When that child struggles socially and has a difficult time expressing things that happen at school, the worry increases.
We count on teachers, therapists and aides to be our eyes and ears. To do so, they must understand Ryan, as casual observation might not reveal what lies beneath the surface. In contact after contact, the school team has proven that not only are they watching after our son, but they are doing so in a nuanced way that reveals a deeper understanding of what makes him tick.
It is all we can ask for as his parents. It helps turn away anxiety when it makes an unwelcome visit — both Ryan’s and ours.